A Gaucho Knot Worked Onto A Wooden Ball, A Test For A Key Fob Design

Front view of a Gaucho knot worked down onto a 1 1/2" wooden ball.

Front view of a Gaucho knot worked down onto a 1 1/2" wooden ball.


A Gaucho knot worked down tightly onto a wooden ball. A test for a future project.

A Gaucho knot worked down tightly onto a wooden ball. A test for a future project.



If you have read the other posts on my site, you know that I tend to tie test knots in order to prototype potential projects. This not only allows me to test small scale models with their assets, but also allows me to test parts of the design without doing the whole thing. This is a test for looks and utility in the design of a key fob. I may end up making quite a few of them, so it will pay me to test/streamline the design.

The ball is a 1 1/2″ wooden ball which I can buy economically in large bags. I use the paracord in part because it’s what I use the most these days — I am very comfortable working with it and have a good feel for how it works up. Another reason to use paracord is that the people around this part of the country are familiar with it, and its virtues; that’s one part of the sales equation which isn’t a problem. They would rather you used paracord over some unknown cord, about which they only know what they can see.

The knot is a Gaucho knot of 2 passes. As is my habit, instilled by both basic personality and training, I worked this knot down tightly. How tightly — Damn tightly, so tight that tapping on random spots doesn’t really sound any different. How tightly .. Very Damn tightly — so tightly that if it were alive it would die within moments and the EPA and Fish & Game would both put up posters of me “Alive or Tied Up As Tightly As He Tied That Poor Ball … So he can suffer the same death. Luckily the ball and its parent tree have already died at the hands of others. I can not think of any federal agency in charge of wooden balls which have been placed in painfully tight bondage. As far as anything short of Karma goes, I suppose I’m safe.

If the project passes all the design and economic studies, I shall post a picture of the complete project …. and yes, it will also be tied tightly.

Thank you for coming by my site. I do appreciate the company. Come back and see me again; I’ll try to keep the band stepping lightly and the pictures in focus:

Published in: on November 30, 2009 at 1:49 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Scissors Fob #2; Sinnets And Turk’s Head Variants Make A Handsome Fob

Scissors fob #2; Turk's Head knots, an 8 strand sinnet, and a tassel.

Scissors fob #2; Turk's Head knots, an 8 strand sinnet, and a tassel.



My Lady Rose makes allowances for my predilection for tying knots on anything that can’t outrun me and doesn’t bite me first. Over time she has seen the utility in some of the things I do. Lanyards, fobs, and leashes are some of the things she has grown to appreciate having on her own things. Its a fair trade deal: I tie them, and she cuts me slack on some of the other things I want to adorn with knots. I do suspect she averages in a testosterone fudge factor, but however she arrives at it, we have a deal.

All of the statements I have made in various posts dealing with lanyards and their kin also apply here. I seem to have a mental preset for what constitutes a proper size fob for scissors. I have made 4 or 5 of them, all without preplaning, or measuring — they are all within an ace of being the same length and look much alike.

The knots on this one are, from the attachment point:

I cut 4 strands of paracord in a neon green. I then made a short section of 4 strand braid and folded it across the handle. Next I seized the strands with a constrictor knot.

I plaited a 3″ section of 8 strand square sinnet next. At the outboard end of the sinnet, I tied another constrictor knot to act as a seizing.

I then fed 2 of the strands through the center of a wooden bead. I worked a short section of 6 strand crown sinnet over the bead. Then I seized all 8 strands close below the bead with another constrictor knot.

To help add bulk to the head of the tassel I put on a whipping, about 1 1/2″ long.

Finally, I returned to the handle end, and dressed the transition points with Turk’s Head knots.

The Turk’s Head just below the handle is one of my standards. It has 5 Leads X 4 Bights — this knot closes up nicely on small-diameter rounds.

The knot just above the bead is a 3 Lead X 8 Bight Turk’s Head.

The knot just below the bead is a Pineapple knot that counts out to 10 Leads X 8 Bights in its finished form.

I trimmed the ends of all 8 strands to give a rough, but very robust, tassel. Having a tassel on the end greatly increases the odds of seeing it even on a very crowded desk. After a day of shuffling papers it seems there are always a couple of strands of the tassel in easy view — even if the scissors have crawled off and tried to hide by burrowing under something.

Thank you for coming by my site. Sing out if you see any way I can improve either my site, or my knots. I always appreciate any thoughtful comments — and you don’t need to be a knot tyer to comment. Your thoughts on the looks of things are as important to me as your thoughts on the structure of the knots. After all, most of the people who end up with the knots that leave home don’t tie knots — they judge only on looks or usefulness. That is as it should be; it would be unfair to expect people to comment outside their area of knowledge. Come back again. If you see me in the parade, wave; it makes me feel better to know someone is watching:

Sailor’s Knife Lanyard Knot, As Used On A Prayer Rope: Take Two

A very short prayer cord to show the use of the Sailor's Knife Lanyard knot.

A very short prayer cord to show the use of the Sailor's Knife Lanyard knot.


I have to admit that when I posted the original article about the use of Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knots ( ABOK #787 ) I didn’t think it would generate the level of interest shown. I thought a few interested people might be saved some labor by using the sailor’s in-hand method of making prayer cord knots. There are evidently many more people interested in making prayer cords than I would have guessed. I don’t have a benchmark to measure from, so I don’t know if this is usual or not.

This level of interest, interests me. The traffic numbers, and any comments, give me a slow but fairly accurate indicator of what I should post. You have shown a strong interest in using the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knot to make prayer cords — so On With The Show …..

One of the questions was if it were possible to tie the knots as close together as beads would be — the answer, by testing, is yes. It is easy to extend the normal working of the completed knot to the strands leading in from the last knot tied. It just adds 2 more tucks to the finishing process. Before I forced these knots into an arc to add the doubled joining knot, you could pick them up by an end knot, and they stood up straight.

Another suggestion, by a gentleman from Poland, was that the people tying them use wool yarns, not paracord, and that this may make working the knots down tight difficult, or impossible. I borrowed some yarn from My Lady Rose, and tied knots in both single strands and 3 strand laid cord. I did lay the cord up fairly tight — no surprise there — but not so tight that I thought it gave me an unfair edge. The knots did have a slight tendency to tangle where the stray fibers stuck out from the yarn. It was noticeable only because I was watching for it very closely. It only meant that you had to pull slightly harder on the yarn to seat it snugly. If I hadn’t been watching for it, I doubt I would have seen it.

There were also statements to back up my theory (SWAG) that the one-handed cat’s cradle technique was a form of prayer/meditation. It was suggested that the prolonged tying time allowed the completion of a short prayer over every knot. Personally I would rather finish the knot and then hold it while I finished the prayer — and then tie the next knot. Of course I am not a monk, and I don’t tie these for religious use. I just tie knots, and am always keeping a sharp watch for knot-related information.

The doubled knot that joins the four ends of the cord isn’t doubled in the usual way. Instead of following the lead with the same cord, it is tied using two ends as a single strand. This joins the cord ends handsomely and is very secure. It would make a good tool to put in your ditty bag for making lanyards.

Thank you for coming by my site. I’ll try to keep it interesting. You could help me steer that course by giving me guidance via comments. You can use the normal comment-under-post system, or the “Write To Me Directly, Here” link at the upper right of the page. Come back again; wave if you see me at the parade of knots:

Published in: on November 28, 2009 at 12:39 AM  Comments (4)  
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Scissors With A Turk’s Head Knots And Tassel-Adorned Fob

A knotted fob ( tail ) on a pair of scissors makes it easier to find.

A knotted fob ( tail ) on a pair of scissors makes it easier to find.



I realize that this may be pushing the definition of the word “fob”. I am going on the fact that this is an extension of a key fob, both in size and similarity of function. On boats those things that you might carry in your pocket, and that don’t rate/need a full lanyard, are often put on fobs. This allows you to access them without using both hands. It also allows you to get them out of your pocket when you are in an awkward position. For years I carried a knife which had a fob that was long enough to reach just past my belt. With one doubled Chinese Button knot on the end, and another spaced so that it was just below the belt, I could get my knife out with either hand — very quickly, if necessary. While it might seem counter-fintuitive, it also makes your knife more secure. I never did figure out the exact mechanism of function, but I never had a knife with a fob fall out of my pocket, regardless of my position or activity. I have had knives without fobs fall out. Hardly a scientific survey, but it convinced me.

The knots used on this project are, from the scissor end:

A strand of of white paracord doubled and hitched to the handle with a Lark’s Head knot. This cord forms the core of the fob. At an estimated breaking strength of 550 pounds, it is more than enough.

To add stiffness for easier handling, I laid a length of paracord next to this, and worked in a short section of 4 strand round braid.

The outboard end of the sinnet is dressed by a Turk’s Head knot of 5 Leads X 3 Bights, tripled ( doubled twice for Ashley’s fans ) in black paracord.

A Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knot, doubled, is worked into the short section between the 2 Turk’s Heads.

The head of the tassel is dressed with a Turk’s Head of 6 Leads X 5 Bights, doubled in black paracord.

The fringe on the tassel was made by extracting the center of a kern-mantel cord I had lying around. The core on this line was a bundle of straight fibers, not laid cords as is usual in paracord. I tied a single strand Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knot and laid the fibers across the center before working it down tight. This method makes for an easily tied, yet very secure and robust tassel core. After teasing the fibers out, I trimmed them off square.

Like many of the knots you see on my site, this fob has been in service for years. It is starting to show its age and is on the list of things to do on some future make and mend day.

It is amazing how much a fob on something like scissors helps. I generally know about where the things I am looking for are. They still manage to hide from me. With the fob on, it is much easier to find the things I want — a grab of the tassel and it is in hand. As near as I can tell scissors and such are not smart enough to know they need to hide their tails. When they have their heads hidden, that thought eludes them. Of course I have known people who were the same way, so I can’t belittle too much for that behavior. You should never confuse concealment with cover; the costs could be higher than you want to pay.

Thank you for dropping by my site. If you know of any way I could improve either my site, or my knots, please sing out. I would greatly appreciate hearing your ideas:

Medicine Bottle #24; A Black Turk’s Head Knot Under A Spanish Ring Knot Cover The Bottle

Medicine bottle #24; a Spanish Ring knot and a Turk's Head knot cover it well.

Medicine bottle #24; a Spanish Ring knot and a Turk's Head knot cover it well.


The parade marches on; today’s post is Medicine Bottle #24, so we’re back to prescription bottles. I use a lot of hot sauce — the only thing I seem to have more bottles of is medicine. Because I tie so many knots that need an object to live on, it is only natural that I tie knots on them all.

Today’s knots are, from the top:

A Spanish Ring knot of 2 passes. These knots are very useful for filling in those narrow gaps on a knotting project. They also have a hold like a snapping turtle (Pit Bull to y’all city folks). They are hard to beat for permanent seizings on braids. This one also acts as the carrier for a Chinese Button knot, also known as the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knot ABOK #787. They are structurally the same knot, but worked in different ways. I use the Chinese Button knot name because more people seem to know it better. I usually tie them like the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard method — it is the first way I learned, and is burnt deepest in my neurons.

The black knot that covers most of the bottle’s body is a Turk’s Head knot of 11 Leads X 10 Bights, doubled in paracord. This is another of my “standard” knots that I tie in hand, double, then place on its home and work down tight. When I say that I work it down tight, that is putting it mildly. I learned to tie all my knots tightly, because on a boat any knot that fails has the potential to create a great hazard. On a sunny day at dock it is no big deal if the Turk’s Head on the king spoke of the wheel goes adrift — other than your failings being on display to the others present. You would have a hard time telling them it was gremlins, and not an exhibition of lubberly work. The same thing happening on a dark night, in heavy weather, is another matter all together. It could cost life, limb, cargo, or vessel — or all of them. So yes, I tie my knots tightly, very tightly.

Thank you for coming by my site. I’ll try to keep the parade stepping lively, and playing a catchy tune. Come back and see what comes around the corner next:

The Viking Knit; Fender Hitching Done In Wire Rather Than Cord

I was out looking around the void for new knot-related pages. Through a series of tangential links, I found this page on the “Viking Knit”. It is a small diameter tube made by fender hitching wire around a dowel. They show a sample with five rows of hitches. After it is hitched, it is removed from the dowel, then pulled through a series of progressively smaller holes in a wooden drawplate. This sets the knit securely, stretches it to double the length, and evens out the profile to a perfect round. I would imagine it also evens out any small imperfections in the hitching.

For some reason fender/rib hitching and its kin have never appealed to me. I have done some over the years, but given a free hand I always figured out some way to accomplish the task at hand with another knoting method. The closest thing that I find pleasurable is Spanish Grafting. This isn’t the mordida we all hear about, but ABOK #3553 & #3554.

This is a very interesting idea, and the end product is capable of being very handsome. They show some done in a silver wire that would make a fine gift for someone that has put up with living with a person addicted to knots. I have found that the occasional gift produced by tying knots goes far towards greasing the ways for your next big project. ?? Maybe I am talking about the Mordida after all — if so, it is a much more pleasant version, with much more pleasant people to deal with.

Thank you for dropping by my site. Come back again; I’ll try to keep the music lively and the marchers moving in cadence:

Published in: on November 26, 2009 at 2:18 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Medicine Bottle #23; Covered In Turk’s Head Variants With One Button Knot For Accent

Medicne Bottle #23; Turk's Head variants cover the bottle -- lid to lower edge.

Medicne Bottle #23; Turk's Head variants cover the bottle -- lid to lower edge.

This is a vitamin jar. This magical
composition is supposed to help my other
medicines function better. I include it in
Medicine Bottle Collection because that is
the only reason I take them. At this point if
someone I believed in told me to go home,
strip and paint myself blue, light a large
fire on the full moon night, and dance til
dawn while chanting and waving dead
featherless chickens —– I would do it —
once. Of  course if it didn’t work, he and I
would be having another discussion about
what he was going to have to do to balance
the karmic books. This jar being larger than
the usual one gives me more canvas to play
with. This is what I did with it:

The knot on the lid is a Spanish Ring knot
of 2 passes. This makes the lid easier to
grip and turn. This knot also acts as the
carrier for the Button knot. Having three
bottles of similar size, I had to be able to
reliably tell them apart in dim light. One
got no Button, one got a Button about half
way down, down the side of the bottle,
and this one had the Button on the lid. It
works well as long as you wake up enough
for your brain to kick in gear.

The next knot is a Turk’s Head of 7 Leads X
6 Bights, tripled in black paracord. The
edges were worked so that the lobe usually
present on these knots was replaced by the
“Colima Lazy Man’s Method” espoused by Mr.
Bruce Grant. I had used them for some years
before I found his book “Encyclopedia of
Rawhide and Leather Braiding”. While I have
no affiliation with the author or the book
itself, I have chosen to use his
terminology. He has reached many people with
his chosen name for this knot. I have
reached three, and one of those lives in my
mirror, so it seems only fair. It does make
a different edge treatment that is
particularly useful when the knot is next to
something sporting a straight edge.

The thin white knot below the last one, is a
Turk’s Head knot, of 3 Leads X 17 Bights,
also in paracord.

The dark knot just below the thin white
line is a Turk’s Head knot of 5 Leads X 14
Bights, doubled in black paracord.

The lowest, but not the least, is a Turk’s
Head variant of 6 Leads X 5 Bights, in white

When you grab this bottle you have 4″ of
knotted grip improvements. It isn’t that you
feel like the Hulk, you just don’t have
those daily troubles with the gremlins that
dwell in bottles. I have never figured out
how they get such good grips on the inside
bottom of the lid. Maybe one day they will
leave some evidence of how it is done — I
could get rich if I figure some way to
get a patent.

Thank you for coming by my site. I do
greatly appreciate your visits, and if any
of you post –my my MY — I’m in hog heaven.
See you next time you’re around the parade
grounds; wave if you see me: