A Brad Awl Showing A Grip Made Of Layered Turk’s Head Knot


An awl with a grip of layered Turk's Head knots.

An awl with a grip of layered Turk's Head knots.

This is another of my long-serving tools. This awl is starting to show its age — the discoloration on the tip is actually the copper plating under the chrome. High friction pressure loading has worn it down over the years. The knots are also showing their age — but then, so am I.

This tool shows the normal layering of knots that occurs on my tools better than most. The first knot was a 14 Lead X 2 Bight Turk’s Head, tripled, which covered most of the metal shaft. This allowed me to choke down on the point — it also enlarged the diameter to a more comfortable size. Next came another Turk’s Head to further bulk out the top of the shaft, an 8 Lead X 2 Bight, tripled. The white knot came next, to make the shaft roughly the same diameter as the handle. It started on the shaft and overlapped the bottom of the handle. It is a 7 Lead X 6 Bight Turk’s Head, tripled. The last knot gives a better grip when I am holding the awl by the handle end. It is also a 7 Lead X 6 Bight Turk’s Head knot, doubled. These knots are added one at a time as I seem to need the improved grip. The same system is also responsible for the layered grips on my other tools — it just shows up better on this one because the length spread them out enough to see them all at once.

All these knots combine to make a tapered, high friction grip that is more comfortable to hold for long periods. It also makes it safer to use, as the lowest knot prevents over-penetration into my off hand while pushing through a knot. That is the theory anyway. Sometimes it just keeps me from going all the way through both — a time when shallower is definitely better. Because I tie most of my knots very tightly, I have to use high pressure to force my tools through the knots I am tying.

Thank you for stopping by. See you next time:
William

Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 7:45 PM  Leave a Comment  
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A Bi-Color Pineapple Knot Tied On A 2″ Round Ball


A 2" round ball covered by a Pineapple knot.

A 2" round ball covered by a Pineapple knot.

This knot was actually tied as a prototype / practice piece for a project My Lady Rose had requested. A 2″ round wooden ball makes for an excellent practice mandrel. It is a handy size knot to tie in hand, and allows you fairly wide variance in how you work the knot to finality. Because it is larger than my usual practice mandrel, it allows me to see the knot more clearly.

This knot is a Pineapple interweave worked on a 11 Lead X 10 Bight Turk’s Head knot as a base. If you look closely at the rim of the knot, you will see an oddity. Most interweaves are carried to the rim, or even beyond to become a new edge. My Lady Rose likes a more defined border on knots tied specifically for her. This knot stops one tuck short of the usual interweave. This leaves a sharply defined rim of the base knots cord. I also like this look on some things, but usually go for the more traditional right-to-the-edge look.

Thank you for coming by. If you haven’t already looked around, please do so. I would like to hear what you think of my site:
William

Published in: on August 30, 2009 at 8:14 PM  Leave a Comment  
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A Salt / Pepper Grinder With A Turk’s Head Grip / Ornament


A Turk's Head grip on a salt / pepper grinder.

A Turk's Head grip on a salt / pepper grinder.

A Turk's Head grip on a salt / pepper grinder.

A Turk's Head grip on a salt / pepper grinder.

This another of my knots which hasĀ  been serving for some years. While it was not strictly necessary as a grip improvement, it is one. I originally tied a much taller knot, but it interfered with the function and reloading — so — off it came. This one seemed to be the best compromise. I have used it daily for a long time and never felt the need to replace it. Still, given past history, it is only a matter of time and whimsy. That is the reason that I chose to immortalize this knot now. I have been looking at this knot more and more often when I have tied a knot that is “too good to waste”.

This knot is tied in the ubiquitous paracord. It is an 8 Lead X 7 Bight Turk’s Head, doubled.

While writing, I have decided to add this to the list of items open to popular vote. Should the old knot be rewarded for its long and meritorious service by being granted longer life? Is there another fancy and functional knot you would like to see in its place? Let me know via comment — the choice is now yours. As always, all thoughtful input is greatly valued.

Thank you for stopping by; come back again:
William

Published in: on August 29, 2009 at 8:47 PM  Leave a Comment  
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A Pair Of Diagonal Cutters With Turk’s Head Variants On The Handles.


Turk's Head variants on tool handles.

Turk's Head variants on tool handles.

My last post on the needle-nosed pliers showed an old version of knotwork hand grips. These cutters have work that is only months old. The white paracord is still white. The philosophy is the same: make them as handsome as possible, but never interfere with function. They are, after all and primarily, tools — they must work. The semi-open weave is done on purpose to improve the grip, as explained here.

The knots are as follows:

The top handle has a 30 Lead X 4 Bight Herringbone interweave, in white paracord. I think the lead count is correct, but can’t see it for absolute verification.

The black Turk’s Head on the left end of this handle dresses the end of the knot — it also acts as a finger hold for better control. It is a 9 Lead X 10 Bight knot.

The bottom handle starts on the right end, with a 9 Lead X 4 Bight Turk’s Head knot, doubled in green paracord.

Next is a Spanish Ring knot of 3 passes. It pulls double duty as a finger grip, and dresses the seam between the 2 knots under it.

The white knot that covers the center of the handle is a 22 Lead X 5 Bight Herringbone interweave.

The knot that dresses up the end is a 5 Lead X 4 Bight Turk’s Head, doubled, in black paracord.

This combination serves well as a hand grip. I find it to be handsome as well — but then, it is my baby. I would like to hear your opinion on this, or anything on my site you find worthy of comment. Until next time:
William

Needle Nosed Pliers With Turk’s Head Knots Built Up To Cover The Grips


Needle nosed pliers with Turk's Heads.

Needle nosed pliers with Turk's Heads.

This is oneĀ  of my knotting tools. All of them have knots on the handles for function and decoration. After all, any time that I am knotting, they are there. If I need someplace to put a knot, they are there. Sometimes I later realize that the last knot added, no matter how handsome, detracts from the function of the tool. That knot comes off, because first and foremost, they are tools and must work — and work well.

These knots have been on, and in use, for years. They are showing wear, and the shine is actually from skin oils that have soaked the paracord. It is time to remove and replace them.

First a description of the old knots before they are gone and I can’t remember which they were:

On the near side handle the black knot that covers the whole handle, and underlies the other knots, is a 14 Lead X 2 Bight Turk’s Head, doubled.

The green knot at the left is a 5 Lead X 3 Bight Turk’s Head, doubled.

The (originally) white knot on the left is a 9 Lead X 5 Bight Turk’s Head.

The handle at the rear is also covered by a Turk’s Head, one of 16 Leads X 2 Bights, doubled.

The white knot at the right is an 8 Lead X 7 Bight Turk’s Head knot.

The center knot is a Spanish Ring knot, as is the other black knot on the left end. The one on the left end was put there so I could hook it with my index finger and pull — hard — without slipping. The one in the center is there so I can straddle it with the gap between my middle finger and ring finger. This allow for fine control of movements other than a straight drag pull.

Now here is the part where you can really help me. I am going to cut these knots off, and replace them with knots that will function as well as they do. I would also like them to look as good as these did when new. Something new that I don’t usually tie maybe? What do you think should go on the handles of this often used, and valued tool? Please let me know — I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you for dropping by, and thank you in advance for any input you leave in the comment bin. Until I see you next:
William

Published in: on August 27, 2009 at 7:03 PM  Leave a Comment  
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A Torus Shaped Turk’s Head Knot


A Turk's Head knot tightened into a torus that is as hard as a wooden ring.

A Turk's Head knot tightened into a torus that is as hard as a wooden ring.

This is a variation on an inverted Turk’s Head knot that I developed under the press of circumstances some years ago. The usual inverted or flattened Turk’s Head is made like the one at this link. You end up with the outside of the original knot on one side and the inner side on the other.

Both of these knots are based on a 5 Lead X 9 Bight Turk’s Head knot. The difference is in how you work the knot to finish it. The flat mat at the above link was made by tying a loose knot and then flattening it and working the slack out. In one layer of paracord it looks fine but isn’t good as a coaster (it is too thin and floppy). The Pineapple knot mat here was made roughly the same way, only starting from a complete but loosely made Pineapple interweave. This makes for a thicker and denser knot and was the first truly successful coaster I made from paracord.

This knot was made from a 5 X 9 Turk’s Head, doubled in paracord. Instead of working it flat, I worked both edges to the center, and let the rim mold itself from the vertical center of the Turk’s Head. I work such knots til they are so tightly drawn that they are very firm and sound like a wood bead when tapped on the table top. This makes for a shape-holding torus ring that makes good terminal knots for key fobs and lamp pull cords. If you were to lay it flat and cut it through, the shape of the exposed ends would be roughly like that of a tire cut the same way.

Those interested only in the knot may now go on to other things. If you are interested in the origin of the knot and how I developed it — please read on. Years ago on a fishing boat in the Gulf Stream, in what the weather service used to call a 6 to 8 foot chop, the steering went out. In the middle of this medium heavy weather there was a loud thump that rang out louder than all the bangs and thuds a small boat makes when working against these nearly vertical seas. When we found the fault in the hydraulic steering, the hose ends had parted and let loose one of the coupling that fastened the rig to the hull. We found all the large metal parts but the gasket and seal were gone. They must have gone walkabout to the darkest and most restrictive of niches in the engine room because we couldn’t find it by sight or feel. The problem was now that the only gasket material on board was either way too thin or not capable of resisting hydraulic fluid. I first tried one of the standard Turk’s Head mats but it was too thin and leaked like a sieve. While trying to tie another, thicker knot I stumbled onto the idea used to make these knots. It not only was thick enough, but was so tight that the 800 P.S.I. fluid only slowly seeped through. After making a new knot and clamping the flanges down tightly I worked some silicone spay into the outside edge. The only time it showed any seepage was when the wheel was hard over trying to fight the seas. I re-piped the engine room sump pump through an oil skimmer and recycled the bilge water until it had enough hydraulic fluid in the trap to make it worth removing. I recovered enough fluid to top up and bleed the steering. The two guys who had been on rotating spells at the manual steering thanked me, and then collapsed. The repair was good enough that we stayed out for the usual trip, instead of heading in for repair. The mechanic that finally fixed the boat hung that knot from his desk light, and loved to tell the tale.

It has been one of my standard knots for years now. It has been tied in everything from key fobs to old fashioned “life preservers”. Because it doesn’t have any metal reinforcements it will go through airport security — as a hat band fastening, as twin 3″ rings for a belt buckle, and as the slide on a bolo tie.

Thank you. Come back again:
William

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 11:28 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Turk’s Head Fob On Jeweler’s Loupe


A jeweler's loupe with a paracord lanyard.

A jeweler's loupe with a paracord lanyard.

This jeweler’s loupe has all the characteristics which illustrate the usefulness of a knotted fob. It is small, fairly delicate, hard to hold and difficult to find in a mix of other tools. The philosophy behind this is noted in a short article I wrote about button knots as used by one of the last sailors to sign on aboard the guano clippers. The idea has stood the test of time and usage.

This fob starts with a 3 Lead X 5 Bight Turk’s Head in black paracord with a doubled lead. One end is clipped short and hidden under the weave; the other end is left long as an 8″ lanyard. The tassel is made in the typical fashion, but is made of paracord instead of finer strands. The paracord was used so that it would stand up to use and not become entangled. The top of the tassel is covered with a 5 Lead X 4 Bight Turk’s Head knot tripled. The lanyard was made long enough to reach out of a pants pocket or a pocket on the inside of a tool bucket or ditty bag. The tassel makes a great grip. The Turk’s Head knot on the loupe improves handling. This lanyard has survived years of use. The hardest test on any tool or knife is being loaned out, and it not only came back, but was in good condition.

If you have any ideas on how to improve it, I would like to hear them. Thank you for stopping by, and come back again:
William

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 12:30 AM  Leave a Comment  
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