Monday, October 21, 2013

An inside job...

This project had been on the back burner for a while, until I got around to buying just the right pen to get it done.

I used a full size Pentel R.S.V.P Ballpoint Pen, with it's clear barrel, and tied a couple of Gaucho knots and a long two-bight Turk's head knot(2 bight 19 lead twice doubled) around the ink cartridge with orange 0.9mm cord, and then reinserted the cartridge back into the pen body

I would normally have used only a single strand for all of the knot work, but if I had run the working end back underneath the long Turk's head knot to tie the last Gaucho, it would have made the knot just that much thicker, and I wouldn't have been able to fit it back into the pen.  So, the end Gaucho was tied with a second strand of string.  I did not measure how much cord I ended up using, as I was working from what I had left from a previous project.  I tried this project first with paracord over the cartridge, then knot work over that, and unfortunately it was too thick to fit, but I'll certainly keep an eye out for a pen where that may work.

It's a snug fit as is, but as long as the knot work is tight around the cartridge and not tied into a too thick pattern, it can be fit back inside the pen body, with a little careful pushing.  I'll have to try different knots or hitchings to see what other variations will and won't fit, when I get around to buying a few more pens to play around with.  I have some glow-in-the-dark sewing thread that I'd thought of using, but I imagine it would make for quite a tedious knotting process with its much smaller diameter.

I've used the smaller keychain EDC sized Mini Pentel R.S.V.P. pen for a knot work base(3 bight TH knot with 1.4mm cord) a few years ago, but the darker colors of those pens would hide knot work on the inside.  All the other clear barreled pens I've tried so far don't have enough room between the ink cartridge and inner pen body to allow knot work inside.

Various pens can still get knot work on the outside if desired, or as some folks on the Facebook Parachute Cord Crafters group have shared, can be modified to hold a short section of paracord sheath over the ink cartridge, and still fit inside the pen body.  The group refers to them as 'parapens'.

It makes a nice way to use up leftover short sections of paracord and inexpensive giveaways to friends, family, and strangers that always want to 'borrow' a pen.  At least one group member has put up a photo tutorial for a way to help fit the paracord inside the pen, although I just kind of push/pulled/twisted the ones I put together.

The other pens used were Bic Cristals, Pilot Better Retractable, and Pilot EasyTouch stick pens.  I'm sure a visit to an office supply store would offer a few more possible knot work victims.

For a DIY type, find the right sized acrylic/plexiglass/lucite type tubing and you'd be on your way to making your own pens or clear key chain fobs/storage tube with knot work inside.  Maybe tie knot work around one tube, fit that inside another, then put caps on the ends with an attachment point...



Anonymous said...

oh my, that's wonderful. It didn't make my heart stop - but I'm sure that it paused for a moment.
Regards, Bill

Anonymous said...

Been admiring your work for some time. Great ideas, and very helpful tutorials. Keep up the great work!

smet337 said...

Evening Stormdrane,This is so awesome and the fact that you did this using .09 cord makes it even more so. When you are doing the l4b TH how much slack do you give yourself? On your flickr slide photos you have a short 4b TH,can you please tell me how that is done? Always appreciate you Can not wait to see what you will come with next. Scot

Stormdrane said...

@Scot, When tying a long 4 bight TH knot, how much slack I start with depends on many variables like the cord I'm using, what I'm tying it around, is it doubled/trebled or more, am I adding in a different type/size of cord, etc.. so every project could be different.

Spread those initial turns/wraps out at the start of tying the knot for plenty of slack, and you can tighten it up later as needed, but not having enough slack may lead to just untying a project and starting over.

For smaller TH knots, like the 3 lead 4 bight or 5 lead 4 bight, I follow the traditional patterns, for any 4 bight knots longer than those, I just tie a long 2 bight TH knot, which can start off with just a couple turns, then raise that knot to a 4 bight knot(since those long 4 bight knots start off as long 2 bight knots). ;)

sharkbait said...

Dude at some point you're gonna be tying TH's around safety pins with sewing thread!

Walden said...

That is so nifty! Going to have to make time to try this!

Chad said...

SD, It's crazy that I came on today to ask you about small cordage and see that your recent posts here work with just the thing. I want to buy some small cordage and wonder what you know in comparing the 3/32" tether cord on Countycomm to the various mm cord on the R&H rope site. I want to do some small wraps and decorative bracelet work but would like to have it for functional strength as well. Opinion? Love your blog, awesome stuff! -Chad

Stormdrane said...

@Chad, The RW Rope Handy Hundred cord lists the strengths of each size on their page. I like the cord, but the colors can bleed a bit:

0.9mm 50 lb test
1.4mm 140 lb test
1.8mm 200 lb test

Not sure what the break/test is on the County Comm 3/32" tether cord, but for general use, it's been strong enough for me with what I've used it for.

Atwood Rope MFG 1/16" utility cord has a 100 lb test rating. Micro cord(1.18mm) has 100 lb test, & Nano cord(0.75mm) has 36 lb test

Supply Captain's 'Type I' 1/16" accessory/dummy cord also is 100 lb test.

Th 3/32" and 1/16" sized cords are closer to 2mm diameter metric size, so they're simply larger than 0.9mm and 1.4mm cord.

Each brand/type/size can have its own pros/cons and those may differe from one person to another... ;)

sysses-sysler said...


love your bracelets, are they by any chance for sale? :)

Stormdrane said...

@sysses-sysler, I rarely sell knot work to keep from getting burned out on my hobby, instead I encourage folks to give knot tying a try themselves.

For those that would just rather purchase some handmade work, there are many talented tyers on ebay, etsy, artfire, facebook, etc.. that can do work by request or on a commission basis. ;)

Anonymous said...

What type of fid did you use for the thin cord? I want to try this knot work, but it seems like you really need a fid to do it well.

Stormdrane said...

@Anonymous, When working knots with the 0.9mm cord, I use a clay stylus as an improvised marlinspike. ;)

Stormdrane said...

* Forgot to add that a small lacing needle helps too.