The Walking Stick Memoriam #2; A White Gaucho Knot Is Next

A white Gaucho knot adds looks and visibility.

A white Gaucho knot adds looks and visibility.

This is actually the third knot, counting up form the bottom. The Spanish Ring knot helps to hold on the rubber cane tip. This knot also has a secondary function other than looks. When I was first putting the knots on this cane, my thought was to put dark-colored knots towards the lower end — they wouldn’t show staining as quickly. Twice in one week I had people try to kick my stick out from under me because they hadn’t seen it in a crowded store. I went home after the second event and cut off the black Turk’s Head that was here and replaced it with this white knot. It solved the problem.

This knot is:

A Gaucho knot of 2 passes, tied in paracord. The count for the Leads and Bights are gone with the knot. For some reason I don’t have the slightest idea which knot I ended up putting here. After all the help it gave me over the years, it seems a shame I don’t recall it better.

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Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 1:59 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Other, Larger Of Two Screwdrivers With Knot Enhanced Handles.

A large screwdriver with the handle much improved by stacked Turk's Head variants.

A large screwdriver with the handle much improved by stacked Turk's Head variants.

We live in world which is a marvel of mass-produced, affordable goods. As in all things, there are levels of quality available for differing levels of cost. The problem is they make things to fit the “average man” to get the most sales per unit of investment. What happens if you fall outside that average range in some way? All these marvels of the modern world don’t fit you. You can either spend astronomical sums buying custom made goods — or you can buy off the rack and customize them yourself. If you aren’t wealthy, or have a frugal streak, there is only one answer: buy off the rack and make them fit.

The knots used to make this screwdriver fit my hand are:

If you look at the picture at full size you will see it is made up of a stack of Turk’s Head variants. When I was clapping those knots on the handle I hadn’t even thought about a blog. I would try fit the handle and note where it didn’t fill my hand, add a knot in the worst spot, try fit, repeat til happy. Because of this I didn’t keep notes, so some of this is a best guess using an admittedly faulty system.

The handle at the start was about 1″ wide on the major part of the grip. After adding the knots it is just over 2″. The large knot that is on the butt/right end is a Gaucho knot of 2 passes, with 17 Leads X 15 Bights. Like all the knots on this project, it is done in black paracord. Paracord because it is very durable, and I keep reels of it. Black because it is on a work tool and black doesn’t show soiling or stains as much as other colors do.

Just to the left of the Gaucho knot is a Spanish Ring knot — the thinnest Gaucho knot as per Mr. Tom Hall. It is there to smooth out the bump where the edge of the large Gaucho knot ended. The step down to the next lower knot was too abrupt to give a comfortable grip.

If memory, prompted by that part of the knot I can see, serves me, the knot beneath those already named is a Turk’s Head. I think it has 13 Leads X 4 Bights, doubled.

Beneath all these, and visible as the last knot at the left end of the grip, is a Herringbone knot. It has 12 Bights on the exposed end. The count of the Leads is lost under the other knots. It served to fill in a dip in the original grip, and to add size and increased friction on that edge of the handle.

I seem to recall there being another small knot under there somewhere, to even out the profile of the grip. What that knot is will be left as an exercise for the reader.

The end shape, with a taper going from just over 1″ to just over 2″ is nearly perfect for my hands. I can put a lot more torque into the fastener than I could with the factory grip. It is also much easier for my battered and dinged up hands to hold.

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Medicine Bottle # 42; Almost Completely Covered By Three Gaucho Knots

Medicine Bottle #42; with three Gaucho knots covering all of it.

Medicine Bottle #42; with three Gaucho knots covering all of it.

Medicine Bottle #42: This is a different bottle than the run of the mill prescription bottles you normally see here. The prescription turned out to be a whole bottle. So rather than count out the pills, and then put them in another bottle, she just slapped the labels on the factory bottle. In addition to the savings in labor, it probably saved 4 1/2 pennies for the bottle. These little savings add up and are good for the profit margin, you know.

The knots used on this bottle are, from the top:

The lid got a Spanish Ring knot of 2 passes, in white paracord. This makes the cap bigger around, thus easier to turn. The knot also increases the friction, which also helps. Now if the government’s contract with Lucifer would run out, and it would quit making everyone use these hellish “child resistant caps” … I think it was a deal with the Devil to make more people lose their tempers and curse — possibly even driving them over the edge, so they take out their anger on their fellow man.

The first knot on the body of the bottle is a Gaucho knot of 2 passes. The Tom Hall book tells me I should count all of the Leads and Bights in the finished knot, no matter which knotting method I used to get there — so it has 13 Leads X 11 Bights.

The lower knot is also a Gaucho knot of 2 passes, which counts out to be 9 Leads X 10 Bights.

Why did I use the phrase “no matter which knotting method I used to get there”? I am what you might call an instinctive knot tyer. Most of the time I sit down with a project I’m working on, some cord, and an idea. I very rarely think about the Leads X Bights. Most of the time I think in terms of the width I need to cover, and maybe a particular look. I then tie a knot in hand, and check for fit and appearance. If it looks OK, I work it down tight, and dress the knot. If it doesn’t look right, I start over. Because most of the things I have done are all of the same general dimensions, I usually get it right. The decision to make a Turk’s Head, or some variant, is made on the fly. Mae West used to say that when faced with two temptations she always tried the one she hadn’t experienced before. I tie knots the same way. I will go out of my way to find a new knot, or a new variation on an old knot, rather than getting really good at tying one old same-same knot. What can I say? I have a very low threshold when it comes to boredom.

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A Curvy Bottle Covered In Turk’s Head Variants

Turk's Head variants cover a curvy bottle.

Turk's Head variants cover a curvy bottle.

Now this is my kind of bottle, shapely enough to be interesting, and a challenge to clap knots on. In this case, so many knots clapped on that you can hardly see the glass. All knots came out as I intended them to — none of them oozed down a slope to end up in a different place, or crowd the other knots. The only thing lacking is that it isn’t full of home-made scuppernong wine. Of course that fault can be remedied later.

The knots on this bottle are, top to bottom:

Just under the rim at the top is a white Turk’s Head of 3 Leads X 8 Bights.

Next comes a green Herringbone knot of 12 Leads X 14 Bights.

The white ring that comes next is Spanish Ring knot. This one counts out to 5 Leads x 8 Bights.

The first real feature knot is the bi-color Pineapple knot which covers the shoulders of the bottle. The base knot, done in green, has 9 Leads X 8 Bights. The white interweave counts out to 7 Leads X 8 Bights. I have done my usual trick of stopping the interweave one crossing short of where most people take it. My Lady Rose likes a bolder border than the regular knot provides. By tying the knot this way you have three strands of green on the rim of the knot that are not broken up by white strands. This tricks the eye into seeing the green rim as a thicker line, thus the more graphic look that makes her happy. … … All together now … … and when she’s happy, I’m happy.

Just below the bi-color Pineapple knot, and dividing it from the white knot below is a 3 strand grommet. It is made the usual way — by laying up one long strand into a fake 3 strand laid cord. The grommet also does double duty as the carrier for the Sailor’s Knife ¬†Lanyard knot with the ends left long a rough 2 strand tassel. This knot is also known as:

  • the Chinese Button knot.
  • the Bosun’s Whistle knot
  • the Marlingspike Lanyard knot
  • the 2 strand Diamond knot
  • the single strand Diamond knot

and on, and on … this knot must appeal to something deep in the minds of everyone who ties knots to have been reinvented and renamed so many times. I’m sure I have heard it called by other names, and I have seen it tied as a flat 2 strand lanyard knot. I prefer the button version over the flat, but that may just be from more exposure to, and tying of, that version.

The white knot that covers the waist of the bottle is a Turk’s Head of 9 Leads X 8 Bights, done in paracord.

The green ring between the last knot and the next one is a Spanish Ring knot, also in paracord. I guess you would be safe in assuming that most of my knots are tied in paracord; it’s good stuff, and I like good stuff.

The final knot on this bottle is some sort of a bastard love child between a Gaucho knot and the alien being which kidnapped him. They must have performed vile and obscene acts upon him, because it is not the knot I thought I was tying. There is some sort of an irregular mis-step in the interweave, but it is consistent throughout. When I was tying the knot I thought everything was fine — then I looked closely after I was finished. I probably should have just kept my big mouth shut. I suppose I could also have named it and claimed it as the fruit of long years of research and experimentation (in a way it is all that). I just couldn’t bring myself to do either, so I did the only thing I could — tell you the truth, ¬†and let you judge.

That concludes the actual knotting portion of our show. I would now like to turn to our sponsors — the trawl-net full of links page on the upper right. As I said, rather than present you with an all-at-once link page after much labor, I am filling it in as I return to a knot site previously visited (some many times), or a new site I’ve just discovered. I am putting up a link only after I have given the site a personal look-see. My reviews are longer than most link pages because I am trying to give you an honest picture of the site, before you go there. There has already been a surprising level of use; I greatly appreciate your visits. Among other things, they tell me that I am putting up something of use to someone other than myself. Now is your big chance to have input on how those pages grow. Tell me what you like, or don’t like, about them. Tell me which categories you wish to see filled in first. Tell me of any sites, yours or other’s, which you feel should be there. Your wish isn’t my command, but you do have a large amount of influence. I am making this page for you. I’m basically reviewing sites as I happen to go there, either on purpose or just bouncing from knot to knot while following the strands of the void. Your thoughts and ideas are heartily solicited, and will be appreciated.

Thank you for coming by my site. Come back again, and tell your friends about it. The more excited I get by it, the harder I’ll work on it:


A Neon Yellow Spanish Ring Knot Stacked On A Herringbone Knot Makes This Flashlight Easier To Find

A neon yellow Herringbone knot and a Spanish Ring knot improve a flashlight.

A neon yellow Herringbone knot and a Spanish Ring knot improve a flashlight.

This relatively expensive C-cell flashlight light was a gift from My Lady Rose. This means that I waited til she left the room before I started tying knots on it to “improve” it. The proverbial problem with flashlights is that when you really need them, you can’t find them in the dark. A white or neon yellow knot makes this task much easier. Of course, over time I tend to crowd on more knots. If the quantity of cord used had any correlation to your ability to find them in the dark, I have a couple I should be able to find over the phone.

The knots shown in this photo are:

At first I put on a Herringbone knot of 10 Leads X 8 Bights. It greatly improved my ability to focus the beam — that hand thing you know.

I then noticed one odd little quirk. I keep this light standing bell end down on the floor nest to the bed. This meant that when looking down on the flashlight to find it, I was presented with only the edge of the Herringbone knot — not the best visual target. To enlarge the target for this butt end view, I clapped on a Spanish Ring knot, also in neon yellow paracord. This is a knot of 3 passes. Now that I know Mr. Tom Hall counts the Leads & Bights on these knots, it is of 7 Leads X 23 Bights. Yes I counted the little devils, and yes I lost count, twice — stubbornness is a vastly under-rated virtue.

Some years ago I had to remove a Spanish Ring knot from a project; it just didn’t fit the spot. Taking advantage of the opportunity, I slowly vivisected it to try and learn its secrets. What I saw was the same structure I saw when I un-tied a Gaucho knot. It was only one vee wide, but it was the same. Since then I have always thought of Spanish Ring knots as the unwelcome in-laws of Gaucho knots. Last year I bought Tom Hall’s book on Turk’s Heads & their kin. In it he called the Spanish Ring knot “the thinnest Gaucho knot”. Look! Outside verification, by a recognized authority in the field no less. Geesh — will wonders never cease.

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“Fiat Lux” … Or At Least “Fiat Flashlight??” … This One Adorned With A Gaucho Knot And A Spanish Ring Knot

A bi-color Gaucho knot makes the main grip improvement on this flashlight.

A bi-color Gaucho knot makes the main grip improvement on this flashlight.

A Spanish Ring knot around the bell end of a flashlight.

A Spanish Ring knot around the bell end of a flashlight.

Continuing in this year’s new “Flashlight Collection”, today’s offering is a cheap plastic flashlight about 8″ long & 2″ across the bell at the light-emitting end. It is my favorite brand of inexpensive but functional lights: Mephisto Manufacturing. These knots have been on for about 10 years. During that time, on at least four occasions, the only reason I could find it in the dark was the white lightning bolts. As always, the knots also improve the grip once you find the imp.

The knots used on this project are:

Both of today’s knots are technically Gaucho knots. The Spanish Ring knot which I long suspected was a Gaucho knot is called “the thinnest Gaucho knot” by Mr. Tom Hall in his book on Turk’s Heads.

The large knot at the rear of the tube, where your hand naturally falls when you use the switch, is the star here. It is a Gaucho knot of 2 passes, with 13 Leads X 11 Bights, doubled in bi-color of black & white paracord. As mentioned, the white lightning bolt graphic look is excellent when finding this flashlight in dim light.

The Spanish Ring knot around the bell is also of 2 passes of paracord. This knot was done in white because I thought it would serve as the main assistance in finding the thing. For some reason it doesn’t do as I thought it would. I always spot the other knot first, then this one.

Thank you for coming by my site. If you know of in way by which I could improve either my site or my knots — sing out. I would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Come back again; The winter equinox rites to the Gods Of Ropes And Knots are bearing fruit:


Medicine Bottle # 40; A Triple Header, A Gaucho Knot, A Herringbone Knot, And A Turk’s Head.

Medicine Bottle #40; covered by three knots. A Gaucho knot, a Herringbone, and a Turk's Head make up the trio.

Medicine Bottle #40; covered by three knots. A Gaucho knot, a Herringbone, and a Turk's Head make up the trio.

Another decade on the count for the “Medicine Bottle Collection”. Forty seemed like a high number when I first typed it, but the reality is that this is a fraction of the bottles since all this started. I don’t recommend it very highly as a hobby — but as long as I have the bottles anyway …

The knots on this bottle are; from the top/left end:

One of my stock knots, a Gaucho knot of 9 Leads X 7 Bights, done in black paracord.

The center knot is a Herringbone knot of 10 Leads X 8 Bights, in green paracord.

The bottom ring is a black Turk’s Head of 3 Leads X 5 Bights.

One thing to keep in mind is that the interweaves are not subject to the common divisor rule that regulates which single strand Turk’s Head knots are possible. As an example; 2 Turk’s Heads of 5 Leads X 4 Bights interwoven to give a Herringbone knot of 10 Leads X 8 Bights. This would be an impossible Turk’s Head to make with a single strand. You can tie this as a “perfect Herringbone knot” using one strand by deflecting into an interweave.

Thank you for coming by my site. Come back again; the parade of knots is marching on: