So, snip it off, continue tightening the turns around until you
hit the hanging loop and then stick something in the loop
approximating the size you want to have and tighten the line
down. In this example, I'm using one of the 8d nails in the
jig, but I usually use either one of my metal spikes or a piece
of skewer as they give a better loop for attaching an earring
BUT! There is still one secret (well, there are one HELL of
a lot more than ONE) you need to know: In order to get the
final loop sized correctly, after you've pulled the line tight for
your desired loop size, remove the (spike / nail / skewer)
pull the end of the line V E R Y C A R E F U L L Y to
S L I G H T L Y reduce the loop size and give you a chance
to clip the line end off tight to the exit point. Now, insert the
point of your (spike / nail / skewer) and, again, C A R E -
F U L L Y insert it into and resize the loop to your desired
parameter. You get too rambunctious here and you pull
out the loop by accident and then you get to play
"Ennie-Weenie-Teeny Basketball" as you toss it in the trash.
(Well, not really... There are ways of salvaging a mistake, but
it's tricky and tough to do...)
So, there you are. Now you can attach an earring hook, or
a jump-ring to attach something else, bend on another
small line for a mini-heaving line for the mice to use or...
See below as well!
Now we come to the truly tricky task of tightening up the fist: First, to it's
interim shape and then into the final tightened shape, necessarily a two-step
process to ensure everything lies flat and fair. You can try to do this in one
step, but I guarantee that the extra time will be well spent.
Carefully slip the fist off the jig. Position it as you may find most comfortable for work.
Most "dominant" hands are the right with the "gripping hand" being the left, but as you may find
most convenient. I use the right hand, so...
Take the fist in the left hand with the bitter (or knotted) end closest you and gently tug on the knot
Don't worry about creating a seemingly extra long tail, we'll deal with that later... For right
now, just snug down that first turn by your thumbnail....
So: The final steps.
By now, the loops will be a little hard to pick up with your fingers or nails, so get a spike of some sort
to get in and under the loops, get the loop high enough to grasp and then use your fingers to pull the
loop thru and put pressure at the end of the pull. The old standby bamboo skewer is ideal for this:
Cheap, disposable, strong and easy to cut to your ideal length.
Pull up strongly on the blue arrow loop and really get that knot in tight to the riding (red arrow) turn,
then (One - one, Two - two...) tighten up all around, putting a pretty good pull on each turn. This will form
the final knot and (probably) reduce the diameter by 1/4 to 1/3!
Eventually you'll come to that riding turn over the knotted end... Leave it out as shown while
we consider where it's best to clip off the knot. Seriously.
If you clip the knot off close onto the second riding turn, when you go to tighten the loop down it
will not have the extra diameter of the cord to keep the levels the same.
If you snip off the knot by getting under it with your clippers, lifting a little bit toward you and THEN
snipping, you'll leave just enough string for the top loop to tighten down onto and have a much
better chance of keeping the symmetry of the monkey's fist.
using a jig
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Next, turn the whole thing 90 degrees and pull back with the thumb, flattening and smoothing the
four passes so you can keep (a) the passes smooth and fair and (2) track of which bloody
part gets tugged on next. Had I the proverbial nickle... Well....
OK. This is the only way I've found that reliably lets me keep some sort of order in my mind as to
which line gets the next pull. (It's a lot easier to see in the larger size, of course)
You just tugged back on the first #1, now you'll go the same direction with the lower #1. Don't play King
Kong, just snug it down.. This will give you another loop to the right of the knot as shown, and then the
line , where it goes under the top wraps becomes #2. So, you pull on the loop and snug that down
and you have the bottom half of #2 and so on until you come to the first hard turn. Sounds simplistic,
but it really DOES work. (mutters...One one, Two two, Three three, Four four...) just get used to doing
this under your voice, or they gonna take you away to the pie-house.
While you are doing this, try to keep some pressure on the current set of 4 passes and keep them
from riding over or under the next one. Once you've tightened things up it becomes much more difficult
to go back and straighten things out, so attention here will pay off big-time down the road.
So much for the sermons. Next pic shows 1 and 2 snugged down and #3 on top needing attention
(Yellow arrow) Just keep the mantra in your foremind and pretty soon we'll be at....
The first major direction change to end the first set and start
the second set. The left picture shows us having snugged
bottom #4, and ready to start in the next #1 ... As shown by
the blue arrow.
Again, the mantra of, One-one, Two-two, etc., will keep you
straight while going around.
Note that when you pull out the loop under the arrowhead,
that will be "bottom #1"...
And on you go thru the completion of this set... Each time
you complete four passes, take a second and poke in
any stray cotton bits as may be protruding, and look over
whole to see if you have too much or too little cotton
stuffing our turkey... Too much and you won't
be able to shove in the extra, too little and you can
EASILY add extra , which you should do, until...
ALWAYS better to "Have And Not Need"...
(Applies to ammunition as well....)
Starting the last set of four, there's a very useful little clue there... The first pull of the last set is
coming out UNDER the FIRST pull of the FIRST set. Sometimes, this is the only way
my alleged brain can find the next thing to pull on.
I'm serious. I get confused as to which way the flow is going or which line gets pulled on
next nd this is especially prevalent when I'm changing directions. Those of you with 20/20
can ignore all this, but for the old and feeble, ANY hint as to what you're doing is a
One-one, Two-two and then you're thru for this stage.... You should have something that looks
like this at this stage. A little looser is just fine and may make the next step a bit easier but
snugged is OK as well.
The lower arrow shows where we started and the upper arrow is where the
working end has exited the fist.
OK: Are you going to want to splice the "bitter" end line into the working line and make a mini
heaving-line for a knot board, or perhaps you're working in small cord so as to be able to
make a zipper-pull, earrings or a button? All of these require a different solution to that end.
For a miniature Heaving-line, Just follow the final tighten-up directions but make the knotted end
LONGER so you'll have some splicing-line to work with. DON'T tighten up the knot end as
shown in subsequent instructions and don't cut off the knot until you're ready to do the splice,
and I'd recommend a good magnifying glass and a "Sailmaker's Side-splice".
For a button, earrings or a pull where you need a loop, take the fist and flip it over so that
you're holding the start point and the exit point is to your right.. Insert a spike of some sort
into the fist and 'skid' along the inner portions of the two wraps, exiting as shown.
Now remove the spike and stick that 2" glued and clipped end in where the spike had been,
following the same direction and gently pull it thru until you have a loop of about 2 inches or so.
Well, that one's a little less than 2" but I DID try...
The supposed idea here is that once you've tightened up the second time, friction alone will hold the line
inside the fist interior, and - indeed - when you try to do the final touches, you'll be sure that it's holding
well... However, you'll be wrong. Never underestimate the ability of time and mechanical advantage to
betray your best efforts without a bit of Superglue to convince them otherwise. Read on...
1: Sharp-pointed Great Neck "scratch" awl.... Any good hardware store or online. (You supply the
fancywork, which is a 10 x 8 turkshead in #15b [same line used in tutorial but not red] and
two coats clear varnish.)
2: Dull-point Great Neck awl...all other as above.... I have some of these un-fancied for $8 plus post.
3: A piece of bamboo cooking skewer... Cheap, efficient and modifiable, but a tendency to splinter.
4: Rather a beautiful turned spike by "PeeJay", a fellow knotter in New Jersey. NOT cheap, but a
delight to hold, use or just look at. A trip to his website is well worth the time, although the result
may do deadly damage to your purse.
5: A pretty example (1 of 7 different sizes) of a "grip fid" by Lasse Carenvall of Sweden. Superb
work and a joy to use.
6 & 7: A large and a small Japanese stainless turned fid set with "Duckbill" (slightly flattened)
tips. I think I got these from Brion Toss of Port Townsend, WA. Master rigger, Master knotter and
pretty damn good at putting minnows on hooks, too...) Very nice in the hand and smooth on the
lines... I like 'em!
There are about thirty more I've collected but these are the most appropriate for the size work in this
As always, should you have compliments or apple pies, EMAIL me: For complaints, please use
THIS email address.
Thanks for your patience.