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

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Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 11:28 PM  Leave a Comment  
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