Of all the knots I have known and loved, one of my very favorites is the riggers' bend. Or rigger's bend, or Hunter's bend (named after one of its inventors). It forms an elegant, compact knot, in its general theme resembling the alpine butterfly: Paired strands wind through two tightly interlaced overhand knots (much more tightly interlaced than in the fisherman's knot) to emerge practically at right angles. However, as a bend rather than a mid-line loop knot, it gives you more freedom in the tying, and this freedom is put to work by making it more symmetrical: The running ends come out opposite sides, instead of emerging parallel from one side as they must with the butterfly.

Right then. For the 99% of the human race who are not total knot wonks,
does any of the above have any significance, or was I right to skim it?

One thing. The standing ends coming out straight is an excellent thing, because otherwise they'd have to bend sharply to get into and out of the knot, and that's how knots weaken rope.

That being the case, I think I'd like to learn it.
How is this wonder knot brought about?
Tell me it isn't long and complicated.

It isn't long and complicated. You can form the knot in three steps. Possibly three awkward steps to begin with, but soon three elegant steps. Practice, you'll get there. First, take the running ends round each other, like so:
_______________  _______
.............. \/       | running
_____________ ./   _____| end
standing end \/   /
             /   /\
            /   /. \
           /   /\ . \
          |   /  \ . |
          |   \  / . |
           \   \/ . /
            \  / . /
             \/ . / standing end
         ____/ . /\_____________
running |...... /               ~~
    end |______/\_______________~~
I have drawn short running ends for clarity. You should be sure to pull at least a few inches through, so as to have wherewith to finish the knot. Second, bring each running end back round and under its own standing end:
            ___
           / . /
          / . /
_________/___/_  ______
.............. \/      \ 
_____________ ./   __   \
      / . /  \/   /  \   \
     / . /   /   /\   \   \
    / . /   /   /. \   \   \
    |. |   /   /\ . \   |  |
    |. |  |   /  \ . |  |  |
    |. |  |   \  / . |  |  |
    |. |   \   \/ . /   |  |
    \ . \   \  / . /   /   /
     \ . \   \/ . /   /   /
      \ . \__/ . /\__/___/______
       \ ...... /               ~~
        \______/\_______________~~
                  /   /
                 /   /
                /___/
The third step's easiest to explain in two parts. Step 3a is to lift two strands to form an arch over the rest of the knot. Step 3b is just to take the two running ends through it. First, the arch:
            ___
           / . /
          / . /
_________/___/_  ______
.............. \/      \ 
_____________ ./   __   \
      / . /  \/   /  \   \ grasp
     / . /   /   /\   \   \ here
    / . /   /   /. \   \ X \
    |. |   /   /\ . \   |  |
    |. |  |   /  \ . |  |  |
    |. |  |   \  / . |  |  |
    |. |   \   \/ . /   |  |
and \ X \   \  / . /   /   /
here \ . \   \/ . /   /   /
      \ . \__/ . /\__/___/______
       \ ...... /               ~~
        \______/\_______________~~
                  /   /
                 /   /
                /___/
Bring those strands towards you. Hold them together with one hand and use the other hand to tuck the running ends underneath. At this point, if for some freaky reason you were preparing an illustration, you would feed in a lot of line from the standing parts so you could flatten the knot back out. Little labels would spring into existence like on educational TV (with cute sound effects, naturally), and it would all look something like this:
               __________
              / ........ \
             / . ______ . \
            / . /      \ . \
           / 1 /        \ . \ 
          / . /          \ . |
_________/___/_  ______  / . |
.............. \/      \/ . /
_____________ ./   __   \. /
      / . /  \/   /  \   \/
     / . /   /   /\  /\   \  ________
    / . /   /   /. \/ .\   \/        |
   / . /   /   /\ ./ . /\   \  ______|
  | . |   |   /  \/ . /  \   \/
  | . |   |   \  / . /\  /\   \
   \ . \   \   \/3. /. \/  \   \
    \ . \   \  / . /\2./   /\ 4 \
     \ . \   \/ . /  \/   /  \   \
      \ 4 \  / . /\  /   /\   \   \
       \ . \/ . / 2\/   /. \   \   \
        \ . \. /\  /  3/\ . \   \   \
         \ . \/  \/   /  \ . |   |   |
   ______/\ . \  /   /\  / . |   |   |
  |........\ . \/   /  \/ . /   /   /
  |________/\ . \  /\  / . /   /   /
             \ . \/  \/ . /   /   /
             /\ . \__/ . /\__/___/__________
            /  \ ...... /                   ~~
           /   /\______/\___________________~~
          |   /           /   /
          |   \          /   /
           \   \        / 1 /
            \   \______/   /
             \            /
              \__________/
Since you are most likely not preparing an illustration, instead you should have a look at the diagram, imagine the label animation and sound effects yourself, and go ahead and tighten that knot up. Just pull the slack into the standing ends (or into the running ends if that's handier). The knot will draw up into a compact, cube-like structure with four layers (as suggested by the nifty pop-up labels—you did make sure to imagine those, right?).

Yes, I did. So that's it then?

Pretty much. If it's very important that the rope hold, you should of course throw some stopper knots on the running ends, as with any knot you tie. I believe there's much less need of it here than with, say, a Carrick bend, but it's cheap insurance.

OK ...
*fumble fumble*
... I tried tying your knot, dude, and it was a pain in the butt.

It is awkward to manipulate both ends at once. Give it some practice; when you can do all three steps in one fluid moment you will feel really great about your new geek skill.

Right. Practice. Mastery. And then what?

After perfecting that knot, you can learn its enantiomer if you are so inclined: The riggers' bend is chiral. I've just done so for the first time* and am pretty pleased with myself.

Acknowledgements:

I originally learned this bend from Peter Owens's A Book of Outdoor Knots.

Knot-drawing technique gratefully adapted from Drawing knots with ASCII art, assisted by the notions of layout I got from Ian Bain's Celtic Knotwork.

Special thanks to maxClimb for calling my attention to an error in the final diagram.

*So unacquainted am I with the other-handed version of this knot that I reversed the handedness conventions of tkil's ASCII art, rather than reverse my own tying habit. Knowing it one way is good enough.

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