Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cub Scout knot practice boards

When your Cubmaster husband comes home from day camp and says, "They had these neat knot-tying boards there.  We should make some to use at pack meeting," the correct response is to scream and say, "ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!"  Of course, if you're like me and say, "Sure, that sounds like a great idea," then read this post and consider yourself forewarned.

To make your own knot practice boards, you'll need your base wood (we used a 1x10 board cut to 12-inch lengths), dowel (3/8-inch), rope or cord for the knots, drill and bits, wood glue.  (You may find a glue gun helpful, too.)

Step 1 - Cut your boards to desired size.  Sand edges and surfaces.
Step 2 - Cut dowel to desired length (about 2.5 to 3 inches).  You will need 4 pegs for each board.
Step 3 - Mark locations for holes.  You will need two holes through the board and about 2 inches apart for the square knot and the sheet bend, single holes for the bowline and slip knot, two holes each (3 inches or so apart) for the two half hitches, clove hitch and tautline hitch with one hole in each set drilled partially for the dowel peg.  Across the bottom you will need at least three holes -- one for a peg to practice the hitches, and two for rope.  Ours pictured above has four lengths for practice with the idea being that you could have two people working at once or have three knots tied in the practice area.
Step 4 - Drill holes.  You will probably need two bits, one big enough for your cord to feed through the holes and one to fit your pegs.  If desired, use a router or Dremel tool to widen holes on the back so the board can sit flush against table with knotted cords in place.
Step 5 - Using wood glue, glue pegs into partially drilled holes.
Step 6 - Decide how long to make each length of cording.  We thought having two colors for the square knot and sheet bend would be helpful to show how the knot is tied together, but you could just use a single length fed through both holes.  It's helpful to pre-tie the knots instead of just assuming that "this looks like it should be long enough."
Step 7 - Feed cord through holes, tie up your example knots and you're ready to go!  (We found that the cording stayed more secure by hot gluing the knots to the back of the board.)

We also included instructions for tying each knot on a double-sided sheet in a sheet protector for weather durability.  Let me know if you're interested in the instructions.


Chrissy said...

I love this idea! I wish I found it a week ago, as I'm hunting around for a cool scouting themed prize. I may do this with my Den at a later date though(with everything pre-cut of course).
Thanks for posting!

Julie B. said...

Is there any chance I could get a copy of the directions for each knot?

Thank you in advance. :)

The Clayburn Family said...

I would love the knot tying sheet as well! Thank you
Amy Clayburn

Krystal Pollard said...

hi i would a love a copy please

Debi Baggett said...

Please send your instruction sheet to I need these instructions by tomorrow, if possible. Thanks.

erinTphotography said...

I'd love the knot tying instructions too, thank you so much

Darylsmama said...

Great job! I'd love to have a copy of the knot tying instructions if still available! Thanks for sharing!

noell said...

This is awesome. I would love the instructions!

Nora Corona Hernandez said...

Please send knot instruction sheet. Thanks! Nora_hndz@msn.

Linda Ciufo said...

Great idea! Would love the instructions thanks!

Tanya Tridle said...

I would also the the directions for the knots that you created.

Itty_Bitty_Wittes said...

I would love a sheet too!

Lisa Moon said...

Well you tried to warn all of us, but its 4 years later and we are all still loving the knot practice board. Any chance you are still willing to send the instruction sheet you mentioned for the knots?

Thanks so much,
Lisa at