6-strand half-round
Knife Lanyard

...after a design by
Brion Toss
For Questions or Comments
Last updated  2007-07-12
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I usually make the starknot button first and then size the loop of the flat braid so that it just goes over the button.  You can do any
sort of button for this, but I like the star.

To tie the button on a loop (you'll need this to go around the lanyard body), take
three strands of line, treat the ends with stupid-glue or airplane dope, allow to
dry and clip the tips at 45 degrees.    

Do a flat braid (same as you'll do for the main  loop) for about eight - ten full
passes and constrictor it into a loop  just large enough to go around a
standard #2 pencil.   

Now cast a single pass footrope knot and pass the ends thru the body so that you
have six ends.

Do your starknot, finish off and cut or remove the constrictor and massage
the loop until the braid looks nice and even.   (This should be just the right size
to go around the half-round braid lanyard body which you'll find detailed in
Brion's "Apprentice").  

Y'know, I had NO idea how long I cut the line for (n) length of finished lanyard: I cut long and save the scrap ends for puddings for
beckets, or to be pulled apart as yarns for other projects, so it never really occurred to me to measure... when you've made as
many as I have, you more or less just judge 'em by eye. (
Ask Granny how to bake an apple pie... you'll get a similar statement
regarding the quantity of materials needed...
)  So I went and made one up and measured it, and I get about a 4:3 ratio (raw line
length to finished lanyard length) plus 20% for footrope knots and the like.  Like I say, I usually cut long and then use the scraps
elsewhere on the principle that, "You Can't Add Line If You're Short, But You Can Always Cut It Off If You're Lorena Bobbit."  Also,
now is the time to treat the ends of the lines with superglue for about 3/4" to 1", allow them to dry, then clip the tips at a 45
degree angle:  this makes them into litle threading needles which will be VERY useful as we go along with this idiocy.

The essential construction at the main loop is a three strand flat braid.  I'm not gonna do pics of that since it's so damn simple,
but there IS a trick to getting the loop right:  cut your three lines to twice the length required (see above) and then MIDDLE them,
mark off (just visually) about two-three inches to one side, clamp there and then start the three-strand flat braid back toward the
long side.   Do about twenty-thirty full passes (full pass = one from each side) and then unclamp and hold both ends of the loop
together and check your line ends.   Roughtly match them up and you should have enough passes to give you a loop big enough to
go over the star button with just a bit to spare.  If not,  then just braid out to the short side until you do. Once satisfied with the
loop size,  put a constrictor there to bring both parts together in preparation for the first knot.

I vary the lanyard proper from Brion's design:  after the flat loop is formed, Brion makes a six-strand Double Matthew Walker
Knot to hold it together:  I couldn't do a respectable MWK if my life depended on it.  (If you can, go for it.)  I use doubled footrope
knots for this and as retainers for the loop of the button knot.

Once you've made  your three strand flat braid to loop over the star button and then constrictored it, take the six lines and
more-or-less "spoke" them out using the constrictor as the 'hub' of the wheel.  Take every other strand, bundle the three you get
and hold that in your teeth, and make a crown knot AROUND the bundle with the free lines.  Now turn the work upside down,  let
the bundle dangle and do another crown knot BETWEEN the first knot and the loop. This creates an easy footrope knot.  If you
follow each part around carefully you will appear to have a two-strand turkshead, and since the last tuck for the footrope knot is
up thru the center of the knot, you then have secured the loop to a set size and have your six lines leading out from the centre of
the footrope knot to continue your braid.  Feckin' brilliant, I am! If you need a hint on this,
go HERE.

Now for the wrist or belt-loop portion of the braid.

To get a fair start on the braid out of a footrope, take the strands coming out the
footrope and lay them up three on a side.  You'll see that with a bit of futzing,
you can get a fairly neat arrangement which will give you a foremost pair, a middle
and an after pair.          (I'm using white, blue and red nylon line in the pictures, with
the WHITE lines representing the FOREMOST (or FIRST) pair, the BLUE lines the MIDDLE
(or SECOND) pair and the RED lines the AFTERMOST (or THIRD) pair.

Clear as a bell, this is, innit?   No. I didn't think so, neither.

With three lines in each hand, take the foremost line on the RIGHT and cross it to
the LEFT:  you now have four in the left and two in the right hands: take the foremost
RIGHT line and pass it OVER the bundle to the LEFT : you're back to three and three.

Now take the middle pair and take the RIGHT one OVER the line that just crossed,
again giving you four in the left and two in the right hand,

Then take the middle line on the LEFT and bring it UNDER and OVER to the right.

(The worst people to try to teach how to fly are lawyers and doctors:  When you take
off in a small "tricycle-gear" plane, it is necessary to push the stick FORWARD to LIFT
the tail before climbing out.  Doctors and lawyers have this interesting tendency to
pull the stickdirectly into their stomachs and, as a result, scoot down the entire length
of a runway and never get off the ground.  Likewise, once airborne it is necessary to
position stick and rudders into a slight RIGHT roll to counter the gyroscopic effect of
the engine and propellor which want to roll the aircraft to the LEFT.   

The folloiwng instructions are not recommended if you are a Doctor or a Lawyer.)

We started from the RIGHT and went LEFT, but the last two tucks reverse this:

Take the LEFT side of the third pair and bring it around the BACK of the braid, down thru
the last pair of lines on the right and back to the LEFT again

Now take the other line of the THIRD pair and take it around the back and between
the lowest pair of line back over to the RIGHT.  (
Yes, I AM deliberately trying to drive '
you even more insane than you where when you started this.  Succeeding, ain't I?

If you haven't done so already, tighten up the braid so that you have a tight weave
facing you.  
A little practice and you will be able to keep a healthy tension on all the
lines while working the "next" one.

Look at the bottom pairs... if you can see that the next line to come around the back
of the braid and thru would be the WHITE one on the LEFT, you are on your way to fame,
fortune and large calluses.   If, however, you look at the pictures and still can't figure out
which line goes where, then I suggest you pick a hobby where you can't do any real
damage, such as brain-surgery in Washington, D.C.

Seriously,  from this point, the line on the top goes "Around, Over and Under" in turn
until you've reached the length you want.   A tip: if you want a 6" wrist loop, then braid to
the 6" mark, do six more "full" passes and constrictor off at the 6" mark.  This will give
you a nice neat braid into the next knot.

Here's a pic of theFRONT of the braid run out for about 18 "full" passes.
With three colours, you can readily see the pattern they make.

And here's the back of the braid...  you can see that it gives a nice neat appearance
to the flat side of the braid.

And a picture of a bracelet I make using the
six-strand half-round braid capped by a star

As far as the rest of the knife lanyard, it's pretty straightforward and full instructions may be found in Brion Toss' book, "The
Rigger's Apprentice" or in "The Complete Rigger's Apprentice".

Use the fair start on the braid ech time you need to come out of a footrope knot and it'll look pretty "yar" when you're done.

Two further tips:

I make a longer verzion for a keychain (works a treat - I've had mine for several years and , although it's fairly "ratty" now, it's just
as strong as the day I made it and:

Brion shows how to finish off the lanyard to a snap clip and then says to constrictor the uplines to the lanyard body before
finishing it off.  If you want to make an interesting variation on that,  DON'T constrictor the uplines, but make two tight footrope
knots around the lanyard body with the four free lines and you'll have a lanyard which will hold under most circumstances, but
which will <<probably>> pull out if you happen to get caught on something which may drag you overboard or hang you up by your
wrist.   This WILL pull out in normal use after a few years, but you'll be able to see it happening well in time to make up a new
lanyard (which you'll probably want by then as this one will be dirty beyond belief!) for your knife.   Remember: you can ALWAYS
repace a
knife but you CANNOT replace your hand.

If you want the "hangman's" style of lanyard which will notpull out, the constrictor the upline twice and hide all with a fender hitch
or a couple footropes.

NOTE: the above applies ONLY to hard cotton or fibre rope construction: nylon, dacron and paracord have a much lower
coefficient of friction adn will consequently pul out much more easily, so the "hangman" is best used in that case.

Much luck in making the lanyard and much enjoyment in it's use!

"The Rigger's Apprentice"  by BRION TOSS  ( ISBN-10: 087742361X  :  ISBN-13: 978-0877423614) Int'l Marine Publishing


"The Complete Rigger's Apprentice" by BRION TOSS ( ISBN-10: 0070648409  :  ISBN-13: 978-0070648401)  Int'l Marine/ Ragged
Mountain press (a combination of the original "The Rigger's Apprentice" and "The Rigger's Locker")
This is a temporary page for
you, since you've got the
book, but I think I will expand
it later to cover the whole
process...  but for now:
An excellent source for line for this
lanyard is
MARTY COMBS who also
sells tolls and books.

Nylon line used in the pictures is
1.4mm windowblind cord from
R & W Rope