Knotmaster & Knothead


Welcome the Knotmaster program. The primary reason for this program is to spark a renewed interest in the Scouting tradition of knot tying. Knot tying is one of the founding and fundamental scout skills. Although the practical purposes of learning these knots may have faded through the years, but the importance of learning this skill has not. Knot tying is part of Scouting history that needs to be maintained. Demonstrating the willingness to learn the technical skills of knot tying and the ability to teach these skills speaks well of the scout’s character. All of the knots, hitches, splices, and lashings are included in one of the Scout merit badge or advancement requirements. Most of these are from the Pioneering MB, but some are included from, Climbing MB, Fishing MB, and Safety MB. The goal of this program is to build a group of scouts that will pass on these skills. If you demonstrate a proficiency at knot tying and express a willingness to serve other scouts, you may be able to become a Knotmaster Mentor. Another Knotmaster Mentor who is registered with the W.D. Boyce Council must certify a new Knotmaster Mentor.   

The requirements to earn the Knotmaster patch which can only be earned by completing these requirements are as follows:

  1. You must be able to tie all of the knots and hitches listed in the following pages. You must be able to give the basic function the knot serves.
  2. You must be able to demonstrate the included lashings and give their reasons.
  3. You must teach at least three knots not part of the advancement process to scouts in your troop. Evidence of this can be supplied via a note from your Scoutmaster.
  4. You must demonstrate the ability to do the included splices.
  5. You must lead some sort of a game or activity that promotes knot-tying skills. This could take the form of a knot tying relay race, having a tripod lashing contest, or any similar activity.

If you complete all the skills listed with an * before them, you qualify for the Knothead patch. This is an interim level patch and meant to signify the scout’s ability to tie all the basic advancement knots and hitches. If you already have completed the requirements and want to receive either your Knothead or your Knotmaster patch, please download the Knotmaster patch request form.

The Knotmaster program can be handled either as a two tiered program aimed at learning the Knothead skills, getting the patch, and then possibly moving on to Knotmaster or as a Step Program aimed and making an extended game out of the learning. The step program as elaborated on below has the added advantage of keeping the skill/teaching process in front of the scouts for a longer period of time, but takes more organizational skills to administer. Either way, the Knothead and Knotmaster patches will be furnished through the Peoria office.

Knotmaster Progress TrackerList of Knots


Knotmaster Step Program

Level 1 (Pink)                          Square knot

Level 2 (Yellow)                       Add Two half hitches, Taut-line

Level 3 (White)                        Add Timber hitch, Clove hitch, Bowline

Level 4 (Blue)                         Add Sheet bend, Sheep shank, Shear lashing, Square lashing, Diagonal lashing

Scout Knotmaster (Orange)         Add Bowline on a bight, Draw hitch, Butterfly knot and two from optional Pioneering knots

Troop Knotmaster (Red)            Add End splice, Eye splice, Short splice, and five more optional Pioneering knots

Knotmaster Mentor (Patch)        Add remaining Pioneering knots, Fishing knots, Climbing knots

Knots of choice from the Pioneering merit badge book:

  1. Double sheet bend
  2. Rolling hitch
  3. Carrick bend
  4. Constrictor
  5. Water knot
  6. Pipe hitch
  7. Cats paw
  8. Fishermans knot
  9. Honda
  10. Masthead
  11. Prusik
  12. Larkshead