he monkey fist is a neat little device that originated several hundred years ago on sailing vessels. Often referred to as a sailor’s knot, it started life as a. DIY Network shows you how to tie a monkey's fist knot, and how to use a monkey's fist decorating around your home. Thanks for posting this. It's the best Instructable I found for tying a Monkey Fist. Most leave out pictures and leave you guessing but yours is nice and simple, with.
No responsibility is accepted for incidents arising from the use of this material. This gave me four marks to drill a hole. This is popular among people who deal with parachutes. You could even use them to throw fire. You know that first crisscross tie you make when you tie your shoes?
Lead and Leather
This will also subscribe you to my newsletter. I will never SPAM you. The knot added weight to enable a farther throw. It also gave the cold, wet sailor something to catch onto as the rope slipped through their numbing fingers. This use as a lifeline reflects its intended purpose today; as a lifeline to save you when your life is in peril.
It consists of four layers of fairly thick leather surrounding a 4 ounce lead disc. The total weight of object is 6. The two middle layers are cutout to accept the lead disc. The outer two layers are one piece that folds over to create an open end, through which you can affix a cord. I glued it together with rubber cement and put screws through it. The screws were mostly for looks though.
I made my cord with braided leather tied off in a topknot. It has three strands that I started a braid in the center. Then I separated it again, and braided it into two strands again until it is joined by a topknot to make a wrist loop. I had no idea a thing called a monkey fist existed until a week or so ago. Because I had never heard of it before, I felt that I needed to learn to make one in order to write an article about it honestly and effectively.
This article will share my experience learning to make a monkey fist. First off, you need a length of strong cordage like paracord or something similar.
I went straight to YouTube to try to watch instructional videos. I had to gather a few to have the most efficient and successful build with the tightest strings, so you do not lose your interior ball, rock, metal ball bearing, etc. I had to experiment to find the length that was right for the most functional size. I figured it out by trial and error. You might need a longer length of cord if you plan to tie a more complex handle. I watched several videos, read several tutorials, and tried to tie my own monkey fist knot.
Here is an example of a video that starts with 2 sides built, but it is a good close up of the weaving of into those sides to enclose your object:. I got it because I only have black paracord and thought the multi-colored cord would be easier to see the details.
It is easier to see by the way, just so you know. Needless to say, it was a dismal failure. I followed the directions exactly, but my hand fatigued after the first six or seven tries. I switched to the black paracord and tried again. It took several attempts before I got anything that even remotely resembled a monkey fist like a dozen tries. Even then it was loose and unstable, and soon ended up another tangled mess of line. I finally gave up on the finger method and made a jig. I also switched back to the camouflage cord because it is stiffer.
Even with the jig, it still took several attempts to get something that looked like a monkey fist like another dozen or so try. Making the jig was easy. I used a ruler and drew two intersecting lines on the disc. Then I set the ball I intended to use in the center that hole helped it sit still too. Then I used a pencil and lined up the edge of the ball by eye, and marked each line. This gave me four marks to drill a hole. I used a pair of chopsticks from a Chinese takeout restaurant yes, seriously.
I cut the tapered ends off, and then cut them in half. That gave me four equal length dowels. They fit the holes I drilled perfectly and snugly. I used no glue, so that I can move them if I decide to make a different sized monkey fist.
I also drilled an extra hole to run the loose end of cord through to hold it firmly out of the way. This slack will be used later to tie a handle, so be sure to leave plenty.
After I finished the jig, I tried my hand at tying a monkey fist knot again. Yep, I ended up with another failed attempt, again, but I got further along. It would seem that every time I removed the ball of loops from the jig and tried to do the third set of loops, it would become a confusing ball of string.
Ending up again with merely another tangled mess of failure, but never give up. Whenever I took the ball off the jig to try this third wrap, it always fell apart into a tangled mess. This gave me an idea. Rather than removing the ball of loops from the jig, I simply tied the entire knot on the jig before I removed it. After the first two wraps that just go over the outside of the ball, the third wrap goes back through the loops of the first wrap the loops that went around the sticks. To accomplish this on the jig was almost impossible with paracord because it is too limp.
I had to try to stuff it through with a stick or a little screwdriver. I gave up on the paracord. The camouflage cord I used though is kind of stiff. Because of this, it was fairly easily pushed through the loops that were held open and in place by the sticks.
With this cord I managed to get the third wrap on it with the ball still on the jig. I tied it tightly too. This is actually the most difficult part of the project. To tighten the cord wraps around the ball you have to trace the entire length of the cord to the end, or the beginning really. The innermost strand is where you have to start. You then gently pull each cord loop one at a time through the monkey fist.
Go around the monkey fist in circles pulling the cords snugly until you get to the free end, which you then pull to take out more slack. If you try to get it too tight in one pass, you WILL mess up the project. You have to go around two or three times slowly taking the slack out as you go around the monkey fist.
Consider that if you have a five strand wrap, you will pull 30 times to go around the entire monkey fist ONE time. This is a time consuming and tedious part of the construction.
Oddly, every video I saw left out this part. I had to use a mini screwdriver to pick the strand out, in order to pull them tight. Once you get the slack out, you will then use the two loose ends to tie a handle. For mine, I just tied a series of simple square knots.
You know that first crisscross tie you make when you tie your shoes? I just did that over and over. Then when I got to the loop for the wrist strap, I just did a twist and then put the ends back through the twist. Not the best knotwork, but it worked well enough for me to execute the destruction pictured below:. I smacked a can of mystery canned goods.
So at this point, I went in and made a new one. I came back out and then I busted a piece of wood several times, then I broke a brick with only two whacks. After the brick the cord showed a little damage, but it was still together. I can see it splitting a noggin of an attacker pretty good though. Judging what it did to that bag of hard dirt, and the fact that it broke a brick, tells me it could probably break an arm or even some ones sternum if you hit them in the chest.
I would rate the monkey fist as a lethal weapon. I hope this article helps you be able to tie your own monkey fist knot. Apparently, it is very difficult to find a good tutorial video online that is complete.
I showed these videos above to illustrate a point. They have been watched over 1 million times. Yet, neither have the complete, or fully correct, information to complete it from beginning to end for something you can hunt with and perform well in survival situations.
This seemed to happen a LOT. So this article is to help make a survival level monkey fist, not just a keychain. This was a new thing for me, and I enjoyed learning how to do something new and share it with you. I will tie several more of these until I get good at it. If I use wet leather, then when it dries it will draw up even tighter and really seal that ball in there. Think of it as you were successful at eliminating things not to do to reach your goal.
Thanks, Eric, for taking time to work out problems in tying a really useful Monkey Fist Knot. No question that the real work is in the tightening of the knot, as demonstrated by your field testing to destruction.