Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tactical Macramé - Project 1

In which I reveal, at great personal risk, the ancient hidden secret, known only to Muslims for thousands of years, kept within the innermost circles of certain Sufi Orders, of how to make a Solomon (Suliyman) bar at a speed guaranteed to confound the uninitiated.

I have been thinking about several small projects involving paracord and traditional knot-work, so this may become a regular, or at least semi-regular feature of the blog.

Making a survival bracelet

You will need about 14 to 16 inches of paracord for the bracelet core and about 6 and a half feet for the outer wrap. You will also want to have a good pair of scissors, a lighter, a pair of forceps, a clip board or other method of anchoring your work, and a hook and cord or some other method of keeping tension on your work.

You are going to need to learn four knots for this first foray into tactical macramé.

The two strand stopper knot

You will use this knot to make the button for the button and loop closure in the core of the bracelet

The constrictor knot

The constrictor knot will be used to start and finish the project. It is also just a really useful knot to know. If you ever needed to tie a bag shut, or to tie several strands of cord together, this is the knot you would want.

The reef (square) knot

The Reef knot is also very useful to know. It is a moderately secure knot that is easy to untie.

The cow hitch (also called ring hitch and lark's head).

The cow hitch is a handy way to attach a line to something, but that's not why you see it here. There is a secret about the cow hitch that allows you to complete the project with a minimum of hassle.

So let's start, Grab some cord and we will practice the various knots.

Tying the two strand stopper knot

You will want to practice this knot several times to get the hang of shaping it correctly. Take your time and work the knot closed a bit at a time until it is solid and has the shape of a button.

Once you feel happy with the knot, it's time to make the core for the bracelet.

Measuring the core cord

When You have your core cord measured, tie a stopper knot at the end just above where you clamped it off. Now you're ready to learn the constrictor knot.

Tying the constrictor knot

The constrictor knot give you a way to attach the cord that will form the Solomon bar that is a bit more pleasing than just starting a reef knot. It also keeps the two sides of the cord even.

Tying the cow hitch

The cow hitch is given here as a separate knot so that you can get a feel for it on its own.

Tying the Reef knot

The reef knot is shown here for the same reason. Also, there may be a few projects in the future that will use reef knots without a core to tie them around.

Tying the Solomon bar

Here is the meat of the lesson. By using a cow hitch, then passing the opposite line through the two loops you form a full reef knot in one pass. When you are comfortable with this technique you will be able to cover a core with a Solomon bar is short order.

One of the main reasons I am doing the tutorial is that it seems that this method of making the Solomon bar has almost been lost. I couldn't find a single reference to it anywhere. (Of course I do also get to tease the Right Wing "survivalist" crowd about helping to preserve a traditional Islamic art and a fine old American Hippy tradition, that's also worth something).

Making the bracelet

Here is where you put your new knotting skills to the test and make your very own tactical macramé survival bracelet.

Finishing the bracelet

This is the method I use to finish the bracelet. I find it more pleasing than just cutting the cords off short and melting them.

This is the first time I have ever done a tutorial like this, so please help me make the next one better by giving me feedback on what I can do to make the instructions clearer.

Good luck and do feel free to send pictures of your finished work.

For the next project, I will be showing you what I think will be a much more effective survival bracelet made from a double loop chain sinnet.

Special Thanks to Janet for her fine camera work!


jasonencke said...

Thank you Janet and Mushtaq. I'm going to try to make my own once I can find some paracord. The only feedback I have is that sometimes the shadows formed on the bracelet as you were tying the Suleman's bar made it difficult to see exactly what you were doing. Otherwise I really enjoyed the tutorial. Shukran!

Steve Perry said...

Cool. Reminds me of when I learned to tie a surgeon's knot and the one-handed tie for sutures.

Mo'in said...

Dear Mushtaq,

Thank you for so openly sharing these sufi secrets :-). I'll be making my own bracelet soon.

Kindest wishes,


Janet said...

It was fun to film and learn about the secret islamo-hippy roots of macrame :-)

DarkKnight said...

I recently found this blog and I really enjoyed the survival bracelet. I followed the tutorial and, after stuggling three or four times, I finally made my own bracelet. This is awesome. I would love to see more practical skills in the future. Thanks!

Preston Lynch said...

What would be the best way to do this method, and get two different color lines doing the knot making, instead of one solid color bead lines, and one solid color knot makers?

gabriel said...

This is a superb demonstration/tutorial :)
It's more comprehensive and educational than any I've seen and easier too. Thank you so much for sharing you're expertise with us all,

Trekster said...

I've looked at a lot of YouTube videos about how to make a tactical paracord braclet. Your instructions are "hands down" the best on the YouTube, probably the best on the Internet. Thank you for creating them.

S. Seagraves said...

These videos are very helpful, especially the stopper knot and finishing advice, which no one else seems to provide. (They all seem to use buckles or other hardware, but I prefer your method.) I really appreciate that you have an eye for the aesthetic as well. An improvement that I would suggest is that you are more explicit in describing exactly what you are doing during the part where the cow hitch is "shaped" to become a square knot. This "shaping" phase seems like it needs several points of exposition as you go in order to make it clear, at least to me. I can't really tell what you are doing during that part of either of the videos that demonstrate it. Thanks!

NunziaGREGORIO said...