There are numerous ways to tie a knot, from the hundreds of established knots and time-tested techniques to the more avant-garde, improvisational knots that we’re all guilty of using from time to time. Often, it’s the knots we make up that end up being the hardest to use, and the most difficult to untie. But, an overly tight or tangled knot can result from even the simplest of overhand knots. When knots have to hold back extreme loads or survive harsh weather conditions, they become incredibly tight, stiff, and stubborn to untie.
Faced with a particularly tight knot, the worst thing to do is yank on the loose ends, hoping for something to pop free. If the knot is wet, wait until it dries to attempt untying it. And, if tight knots are something you face regularly, consider getting a marlinspike. Marlinspikes are tapered metal devices used by sailors and others in the marine industry to help untie burly knots in a hurry. If you don’t have a marlinspike, the methods shown here can help you get that tricky knot untied. Keep in mind, the best way to untie your troublesome knot will likely involve a combination of these techniques.