knot used to form a loop in the middle of a line or to shorten a line.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
sheepshank (noun)
a knot for shortening a line - see knot illustration
Scottish something of no worth or importance
sheepshank (Wikipedia)
Sheepshank knot.jpg
An unloaded sheepshank tied in nylon rope.
RelatedCatshank, Dogshank, Bell-ringer's knot
Typical useProvides loops, shortens or removes slack from a rope, bypasses a frayed section of rope
CaveatSpills if not under tension.
ABoK#1152 - #1154

A shank is a type of knot that is used to shorten a rope or take up slack, such as the sheepshank. The sheepshank knot is not stable. It will fall apart under too much load or too little load.

The knot has several features which allow a rope to be shortened:

  • It provides two loops, one at each end of the knot which can be used to pass another rope through
  • The knot remains somewhat secure under tension; the coarser the rope the more secure it is (see Disadvantages, below)
  • The knot falls apart easily when tension is removed
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