Guest Post - Paracord Walking Stick
I would like to welcome Andy Amick, blogger and paracord enthusiast from Pale Spruce Blog. He definitely has some good stuff on his blog so check it out! He was willing to write this post for us on his walking stick, continue reading! Thanks again Andy!
--Jaci Duesterhoeft, Paracord Planet
A few months ago I noticed the stick my kids were using as a lightsaber had some interesting marks and grooves in it. Instead of letting the stick get broken during a battle against the Dark Side, I thought it would make a great hiking stick. For this stick with all of it's grooves, a turk's head knot made from paracord seemed like the perfect handle.
Making a hiking stick
I won't go into too much detail on making the stick. There are online tutorials that do a good job of going through the steps. The main steps are remove the bark, sand the stick smooth and then finish with tung oil or linseed oil.
Time for paracord
The handle for the stick is a two pass long turk's head knot. There is a small section of braiding that holds a watch band compass on the top. The stick is finished with a lanyard knot at then end of the wrist strap.
Looking at the turk's head, one may think it's a complicated “expert” knot, but anyone can tie it with some patience and focused attention. For a tutorial from one of the expert knot guys, please see Stormdrane's video of the long turk's head.
List of materials
- Orange paracord – started with 25 feet of orange for the handle and used about 20 feet total
- Blue paracord – 2 feet for the accent
- Knife – any sharp knife will do
- Lighter – to melt ends of paracord
- Bottle cap – useful to flatten the melted ends of paracord
- Paracord needle – a must have for a turk's head knot. The one I used is homemade from an aluminum screw post, but there are commercials ones available
- Watch band compass
When doing a long turk's head handle, the one other item I would add is patience. Set the expectation that mistakes will be made and the knot may take a couple of tries to get correct.
Since this was my son's hiking stick, I let him choose the color scheme. I thought two colors on the turk's head knot would look cool, but that was not to be. He had decided that the turk's head was going to be solid orange, and he wanted some blue in the strap that goes around the wrist. It must have been the Broncos games we have been watching that gave him the idea for orange and blue.
Making the long turk's head
Watch the Stormdrane video several more times before you start to make the knot. Be very careful to get the over unders correct, and also make sure the turns overlap in the correct places. I have trouble with the turns so I use take and twist ties to keep the cord in the proper place. Without the twist ties, I would get one overlap wrong and then have to redo the knot again. I'm more than happy to use tape and twist ties if that ensures the knot will come out correctly.
When making the first pass, keep the knot as loose as possible without having the overlaps lose their position. At the end of pass one, it doesn't look all that cool, but pass two is where the knot really starts to take shape.
With the first pass is complete, pass two is simply a matter of following the over and unders from pass one. Pass two is where having the paracord needle comes in handy. Trying to go under two strands of paracord without the needle is way too frustrating.
The next step is tightening up the knot. But before that, a length of blue paracord had to be incorporated to get the Bronco colors working. With one end of the blue cord threaded onto a needle, pass it under about half of the long turks head. The blue parcord will be held in place once the turk's head is tightened up. Be sure to keep it aligned with the other ends of the cord to make the braiding easier.
The tightening of the knot is the really tedious part. You can't do it all at once, so work a little slack out at a time. It took 3 or 4 tightening passes for this turk's head. Use an ice pick, small screwdriver, or a heavy duty upholstery needle to help pull the paracord tight. Take your time, be extra patient, and the end result will be worth it.
To finish the stick, my son wanted a compass on the top. Hey, I let my 5 year old pick the colors for the stick, so why not let him navigate too! A watch band compass was a perfect fit for this. A simple braid was used to make the strap that would pass through the compass.
The final step for this project is making the wrist strap. This step only requires two lengths of cord so the third cord was cut and melted to the back side of the braided strap. The two remaining ends go under one of the bights on the turk's head and are finished with a lanyard knot to make the wrist strap.
The handle is plenty long for a 5 year old, but for an adult it may be a little short. To make an adult sized handle, add a few wraps to the turk's head knot or make a third pass of the knot.
This project took a fair amount of time to complete, but in the end it was worth it. My 5 year old now has a hiking stick he helped make and I'm sure he'll want to take more hikes to try out the stick and “navigate” with his compass. Oh, the stick still gets used as a lightsaber from time to time, but that's a tradeoff I'm willing to accept if it means more hikes for us.
Great Looking "Turks Head." I noticed 7 strand 550 was used. If you wanted to get 3 colors in the wrap would using 4 strand 450 cord be best to use to keep a tight fit, and prevent too much bulk?
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How tight does this stay? I've been trying to find a wrap that will work as a handle on a medical walking cane (the ugly metal ones). I thought I found one that worked, but to get the desired thickness I have to use two wraps. The second wrap keeps coming loose.