Irving Drink Asked About Paracord Bracelets … Here Is A First Shot Answer


ID: in answer to your comment… and anyone else who cares to read:

First I would like to thank Irving Drink for visiting my site, and especially for leaving a comment. It took a while to answer because I had real-world things to do, then I had to tie the knots and take the photographs. I will try to make it worth the wait.

The bracelets on the Internet fall into two broad categories. One is the Nantucket / Sailor’s / Pirate’s bracelet. The Nantucket name is used mostly in the northeast seaside states. In the south and down island, or any of the warm vacation spots south of the U.S., the customary name is a Sailor bracelet. In places where there were more surfers, it was called a Surfer’s bracelet. Thanks to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies it is now picking up the name of Pirate’s bracelet. I grew up in south Florida and the rule was — “whatever separates the gringos from the green”. You call it whatever ups the chance that they will buy it. They are usually made out of cotton cord, and are typically a Turk’s Head knot of 3 passes. The bight count (the number of lobes around the sides) varies with the wrist size. This one is very small, but serves as an example. You pre-tie an assortment of sizes and fit them to the customer at purchase.

Turk's Head Knot Of 3 Passes X 8 Bights

Turk's Head Knot Of 3 Passes X 8 Bights

The other bracelets are the ones popular on outdoor sportsman / survival web sites. These are usually made of square knotting. The theory is that in the woods, if you need some cord in an emergency, you unravel the bracelet to get the needed length. The cord used to tie the visible square knots is about five times the length of the knotting. So if you have a ten inch wrist, you get about fifty inches of cord. You can use the filler cords to reattach your watch, or whatever it held. The straight flat bar is called the “Solomon’s Bar” in “Ashley’s Book of Knots”. On knot sites this is considered the ultimate reference book on knots. You will see knots referred to as something like — “ABOK #2496” — the number for the Solomon Bar.

A short length of Solomon's Bar, white paracord over green fillers.

A short length of Solomon's Bar, white paracord over green fillers.

Because the sellers have to compete in a crowded market, they have to come up with new names or knots to sell. Some people are also more sophisticated buyers, because the grew up with friendship bracelets. They have seen some better knots, and expect better knots. The following pix are of four strand sinnets (braids) that are starting to show up at vacation spots. The first two are flat sinnets, with the difference being how the colors were arranged at the start. The second two sinnets are round / square sinnets with the same color starts.

A short length of 4 strand flat sinnet, with a bi-color diagonal stripe pattern.

A short length of 4 strand flat sinnet, with a bi-color diagonal stripe pattern.

A short length of 4 strand flat sinnet, with a bi-color pattern in which the color skips to the other side after two tucks.

A short length of 4 strand flat sinnet, with a bi-color pattern in which the color skips to the other side after two tucks.

A short length of 4 strand round sinnet, with a bi-color spiral pattern.

A short length of 4 strand round sinnet, with a bi-color spiral pattern.

A short length of 4 strand round sinnet with a bi-color vertical stripe pattern.

A short length of 4 strand round sinnet with a bi-color vertical stripe pattern.

This picture is of a sinnet that is starting to show up on the net. Ashley refers to it as a “three strand plat”, ABOK # 2961. It is made from two cords acting as stationary fillers, and a third that weaves over these in a figure eight motion. It has a lot more body than it seems it should. Because there are no individual knots to tie, it makes up fast — but you have to hold it securely while working, or it will un-make almost as fast.

A short length of Three Part Plat.

A short length of Three Part Plat.

To learn how to make the one of your choice, some of the knot sites in my links list have tutorials. The “Instructables” site has several tutorials on various bracelets and other knotting subjects. Many of the tutorials from other sites have migrated there. You should note that some of the knotting sites presume a fair amount of knot knowledge. The “Instructables” site assumes a lower skill level.

I have been toying with the idea of putting up some tutorials on things that aren’t already covered on the net. I don’t see any need to re-plow a field, but there are gaps in the coverage. If you can’t find a tutorial that teaches you what you need to know, drop me a line. Tell me which bracelet or knot you are interested in, and I will see about putting up a tutorial. If you are having a problem using an existing tutorial, it would help if you told me where the mis-step is. I could then be sure to give more explicit coverage to that part of the lesson.

Here are some links to sites that have tutorials covering the bracelets discussed:

“Instructables”: They have a very broad coverage because they act as a library for lessons produced by many people. This include some of those below, like the next link to Stormdrane’s site.

“Stormdrane”: This is one of the older sites in the outdoors-man type of knots. He has an excellent site and gives brief tutorials if a project introduces a new form of knot which hasn’t been covered.

“Knot Heads World Wide”
: KHWW has an extensive forum. There is also a gallery and an assortment of tutorials. They do expect a certain level of knowledge, but reward that prior work with excellent advancement built on that knowledge.

“The Pineapple Knot Forum”: This is a site populated by a very knowledgeable crowd. They are also a friendly and helpful bunch of folks.

“Alaska Museum Of Fancy Knots”: This is an old URL; this site is the seed form which the “Pineapple Knot Forum” grew. People I have sent here have been both happy and successful with it. This link is directly to a very good tutorial on the “Nantucket Bracelet”.

If you are still with me you deserve special thanks. I hope this longer than normal post has helped. If there is anything that I need to do better / differently let me know. To hear is — well … to at least take it under consideration — to seriously think about obeying. See you next time:
William

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