Problem-solving with string: Tying knots and removing rings

From boats, to kites, to removing a tight ring from your finger, know how to tie knots and being aware of the things you can accomplish with a little bit of string will go a long way. Try these continent tips to get out of a jam.

Problem-solving with string: Tying knots and removing rings

How to tie knots

Reef knot: Wind the "working" rope end in your right hand over and then under the "standing" rope end in your left. Swap hands, so that the working rope is in your left hand, then loop it back over and under the end of the standing rope and pull tight.

Sheet bend: Make a loop in the thicker rope. Feed the end of the thinner rope through the loop; wrap it round the two lengths of thicker rope and under its own standing part. Pull the lengths of thicker rope to tighten.

Round turn: Loop the rope twice around a post or ring, with the second loop overlapping the first. Make a half hitch by taking the end around the main rope and passing it through between the post and the rope. Repeat, then slide the two half hitches up and pull tight.

Bow line: Form a small loop near the rope end. Pass the end through the loop, hook it around the standing rope and then back through the loop. Pull the standing rope and rope end to tighten the knot and form a fixed loop.

Constrictor knot: Wind the rope around a post or rail in a figure of eight. Feed the end of the rope under the second loop, then over and under the first loop and pull to tighten.

Remove a stuck ring

When a ring is so tight that you can't get it off, the worst thing you can do is to wrench at it in panic. Stay calm.Run your hand under cold water, raise your hand above your head to decrease blood flow, use any lubricant to hand — olive oil, dishwashing liquid, hair conditioner — then twist the ring back and forth to ease it off.

Try dental floss: Poke the end of a length of dental floss under the ring, then wind the floss from the dispenser firmly around and up the finger from the ring towards and over the knuckle. Start to unwind the string by pulling on the loose end beneath the ring to edge it up your finger and over the knuckle.

Take care: Don't tie a knot in the floss or leave it on for more than five minutes. Remove the floss at once if your fingertip turns blue.

Good luck!

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