Handcuff knot

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Handcuff knot
Names Handcuff knot, Hobble knot
Category loop
Related Tom fool's knot, Fireman's chair knot
ABoK #412, #1134, #1140, #2292
Handcuff knot "locked" with half hitches, this is also known as the Fireman's chair knot

A handcuff knot is an inline knot with two adjustable loops in opposing directions, with the ability to tighten the two loops around hands or feet. The knot doesn't possess any noose action, so the knot won't be as easy to use for such purposes as the name might suggest.

The knot is also known as a hobble knot for similar reasons, from the idea that the knot was sometimes used on the legs of horses to limit the distance their riders had to walk in the morning to retrieve them.

The knot consists of two simple loops, overlaid, and with the ends pulled through. At that stage, the knot is slippery and easy to adjust. The knot can be "locked" by making one or more overhand knots with the loose ends in the manner of a Reef knot.[1]

The sizes of the two loops can also be fixed by making Half hitches with each end over the necks of the loops. This configuration is known as the Fireman's chair knot.


  1. Des Pawson, Pocket Guide to Knots & Splices (Edison, NJ: Chartwell Books, Inc., 2002), 146.