The Walking Stick Memoriam # 05: 1 Spanish Ring Knot, And 2 Turk’s Heads Used To Dress The Ends Of Other Knots.

The Walking Stick Post #5, A Spanish Ring knot and 2 Turk's Head knots.

The Walking Stick Post #5, A Spanish Ring knot and 2 Turk's Head knots.

The knot on the left in this picture is dressing the end of the 11 Lead X 2 Bight Turk’s Head in Stick post #4. Like most of my knots, it is tied in paracord, this time in black. I don’t remember and can’t puzzle out the Leads and Bights on this Gaucho knot. It must have been somewhere in the 28 thru 32 Bight and maybe 15 thru 17 Lead — either the picture or my eyes are too fuzzy to clarify this any further. Originally this knot was a little better formed than the picture shows, but wear and reworking have tightened it out of shape.

The center knot is done in white utility cord and is a Spanish Ring knot. Just guessing, it was probably based on a 3 Lead X 7 Bight Turk’s Head before the interweave. The ends have started to pull out and fray — this was one of the knots that convinced me that it was time for surgery.

The knot on the right is a Gaucho interweave done in greenish paracord. I am either having a hard day or these pictures are fuzzier than the others in this set. Again, I can’t make out the count on this knot, and my memory is duller than my sight.

You can see the wood between the knots. This is because of the aesthetic influence of My Lady Rose. I’m kind of getting used to it now. In my early days of learning to knot, painted coachwhipping was used to cover the entire rail. It took the place of other finishes and so had to provide protection from the sea — as well as a firm hand-hold and/or any improvement in looks it provided. Now that I live inland, it isn’t necessary to be so thorough in providing extensive protection — everything but the oil finish is for looks.

Thank you for coming by my site. We are now about half way up the stick and still climbing. Come back again; some of the better knots lie ahead.




The Walking Stick Memoriam #04: An 11 Part X 2 Bight Turk’s Head Knot Done In An Open Weave

An 11 Part X 2 Bight Turk's Head knot on a walking stick.

An 11 Part X 2 Bight Turk's Head knot on a walking stick.

After my involuntary break in blogging, I am finding it hard to get back up to speed …. bear with me and I’ll try to get the parade back in step.

As we move further up the stick, you will notice that the knots are in better shape. This is a matter of wear and tear, rather than order of application. The knots on the bottom of the stick are used for things like pushing brush aside.

My Lady Rose likes the look of knots done with an open weave. Before I met her, if left to my own devices, things tended to accrue knots until they looked like they had suffered the fabled sea change – you could not see the original surface for the knots. She has converted me to some degree, although I still tend to use more knots than weave unless it is something I am making for her.

This knot is done after the fashion of the “2 Bight Turk’s Head of any length” from Grant’s book; the only change being that it is spread out over a longer distance than a tightly made knot would cover. You do have to use a seizing of some sort to hold it open while you cover the ends with some other knot. The knot on the left/lower end I explained in my last post on the stick (# 3). The black knot on the other end will be covered in my next post. The distance between the two knots that dress the ends was about 14″.

Close view of an 11 x 2 Turk's Head knot.

Close view of an 11 Part X 2 Bight Turk's Head on a walking stick.

If you look at the finish on the wood, the highlights which show are the original finish. When this picture was taken it had about 13 or 14 years of use accrued. For something that was used often, and sometimes roughly, that is remarkable endurance. The finish is of hand-rubbed Tung oil  – I learned to do this many years ago when I was hanging around with people who owned classic wooden sailboats. It is still one of my favorite finishes for things made of wood – partially for utility. but largely because I like the look of wood and brass/bronze on those old boats.

Thank you for visiting my site, and also an extra thanks for those of you who have stuck through my absence. Come back again; the parade is still in the marshaling yard, but is forming up nicely. The march will start off slow and build up, but it is coming.

Published in: on September 5, 2010 at 11:47 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Medicine Bottle # 45; A Turk’s Head Knot Adorns This Bottle Of Liniment.

Medicine Bottle #45; A Turk's Head knot graces this bottle.

Medicine Bottle #45; A Turk's Head knot graces this bottle.

Medicine Bottle #45; A Turk’s Head seems to improve everything — of course this might be the knot version of having the prettiest grandchild in the world. I do have to admit that this bottle didn’t really need the knot. It stands taller than most and is easy to open. I just happened to see it when I had this knot in hand — it seemed a shame to waste it.

The knot on this bottle is:

This is a white paracord Turk’s Head. The count on this knot is 10 Leads X 9 Bights. I couldn’t make this knot as tight as I like to — the bottle is thin walled, and weak in the middle.

The real surprise for me here turned out to be the fact that even though I thought this bottle didn’t need a knot, it was improved by one. But the knot makes the bottle easier to use in some way I can’t figure out. It just makes it feel better in your hand. I’ll have to research this phenomenon and report to the ruling committee at a later time.

Thank you for dropping by my site. As always, I am open to any thoughtful suggestions on how I can improve my site, or my knots. Come back again; the parade of knots marches on:


Turk’s Head Knots Form The Head Of This Tassel Which Is Used As A Pull Cord.

Turk's Heads grace the head of a tassel -- making a fine pull cord.

Turk's Heads grace the head of a tassel -- making a fine pull cord.

I am tasked with tying knots every day as a form of physical therapy. No matter how much you like knots, you start running short of new projects. One day I saw My Lady Rose trying to reach the door of a high cabinet, and was inspired to make a pull cord. That way she can at least open the cabinet and ensure the thing she wants is there before commencing the acrobatics of getting it down. Or calling for her tall person to get it for her. I’ll give you 2,438 guesses who that is — not that I mind. She just hates to impose on me. The end result is this pull cord.

The knots used in this project are:

I first took two lengths of a Kern-Mantle utility cord, and after middling them, I braided a 4 strand round sinnet. I put a constrictor knot on the ends to prevent unraveling. Below the constrictor I stripped off the outer covering and combed out the inner strands. Too thin of a bundle to make the tassel, but a start.

I then took several strands of the same cord and gutted them to get the core strands. I middled them and laid them alongside the braid so that the center was slightly above the constrictor knot, making sure they were evenly distributed around the core. I then seized them to the braid just above the knot with another constrictor knot.

Using a piece of the same utility cord, I made a 3 Lead X 4 Bight Turk’s Head to act as a mouse. After hanging the braid, I let the top strands fall down over the Turk’s Head and the inner strands. Just below the Turk’s Head I clapped on another constrictor knot. I now had a tassel with a small bulb-shaped head and uneven strands.

To dress the head of the Tassel I put on a Turk’s Head of 5 Leads X 3 Bights, tripled with black paracord. I left the weaves slightly open so that the head of the tassel peaked through.

I then combed out the strands and cut them off evenly. I thought I was done.

After some thought, I decided it needed a hand grip to take the strain, rather than letting it fall on the tassel. I then tied a series of unseen and unsung Turk’s Heads to mouse out the hand grip. The covering knot on the hand grip is a Turk’s Head of 9 Leads X 8 Bights, doubled in black paracord. Because this was to be the grab spot, I didn’t leave any exposed white strands. I haven’t the foggiest idea in all of Hades — how do you wash a tassel?

To give you some scale, the tails on the tassel are about 10″. The largest black Turk’s Head is 2″ tall, and about 1 3/4″ wide.

This pull cord had been giving yeoman’s service for about 11 years when the picture was taken. It is showing some wear, and some staining, but is still serving. In the passing years I have researched, and carefully considered, the problem of washing. It still has me baffled.

And now, a question for the scientists, philosophers, or really smart people in the audience. Why do the synthetics they make these cords out of attract some types of soil/stains. Could you by careful selection of fibers make an air filter which targeted specific pollutants?

Thank you for coming by my site. Come back again; I’ll try to keep things quick-stepping along the route of march:


Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 8:39 PM  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.

Thank you for coming by my site. I appreciate your visits, and any comments you care to leave. Come back again; I don’t post every day, but I try to put something up often enough so most of your visits will be rewarded:


How Do You Improve A Four Pound Hammer? … You Cover The Grip In Turk’s Head Knots.

A hammer handle grip improved by Turk's Head knots.

A hammer handle grip improved by Turk's Head knots.

As you can tell by my site, I tie knots — lots of knots — almost every day. One of the rules I try to live my life by is: “If you have to throw a rock, try to kill at least two birds with every stone you throw”. Nota Bene; These are figurative birds not real ones, so there is no need for PETA to get upset. The message — economy of action, get the most work you can out of any labor you must do. Combining the maxim and the knots — if you are going to tie a knot put it to good use.

The knots in today’s post were placed on a hammer handle. They changed it from the one – size – fits – all of the factory, to a grip custom made to fit both my hand and the way I work. The result is a safer tool which is easier to use.

The knots used to improve the hammer handle are:

The first knot I put on was the bi-colored 2 Bight Turk’s Head. This knot has 23 Leads. The weave was done with 3 strands of paracord, 2 black strands split by 1 green one. This gives a grip which is just long enough to cover the part of the handle which I hold. For the curious or detail minded among you that is just over 5″. ( Go ahead — try finding gloves which fit a Sasquatch XXL hand … even the Army gave up on that job. ) This was a great improvement over the no – splinters smooth from the factory, but was still not great.

The next step was to add the black Turk’s Head in the center of the first knot. It counts out to be 8 Leads X 7 Bights, doubled. Yep — paracord was the choice again — and yep — I do buy the stuff by the reel/spool. This knot fills the hollow of my palm enough to make it both more safe and more comfortable to use. With a secure hand-filling grip there is less chance of a slip when beating the Devil out of something. It’s more comfortable because with my hand full it does not slip or rotate in my grip when beating the aforementioned Devil.

There is one other less obvious virtue to having knots on the hand – grip of everything you own. In addition to the custom fit, it also works well as a brand for an ownership mark. Everyone on the job will know that is your tool, making it less likely your tool will grow legs when you aren’t looking, and go walkabout. Even if you remove the knots, as some less evolved people might do to muddy the ownership waters, it leaves a mark which is difficult to erase in a short time.

But wait — he said it makes the grip fit both his hand > and < the way he works. The grip I understand, but how does it make the hammer fit the way he works? The answer, oh observant one, is that I tend to do everything with great gusto and at a very high energy level. I tend to use way more force than might strictly be necessary for the job at hand. This new and improved custom hand grip means that while I am flailing away at something, I won’t have any of the accidents typically caused by a poor grip.

Thank you for dropping by my site. Come back again; the parade of knots occasionally misses a step, but it keeps on marching:


Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 6:44 PM  Leave a Comment  
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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: