Cordage: The Plaited Loop
(As featured in the June 2008 issue of Practically Seeking)
The Plaited Loop is an exceedingly useful addition to your bag of skills — perfect for making everything from bowstrings to snare loops.
It is quick to make, extremely strong, and not prone to breakage as some knots can be.
The best way to learn this one is by starting with several pieces of man-made fiber such as artificial sinew or dental floss, although you can most certainly use natural cordage of any sort.
In the example photos we are making the top loop of a bow string. We have chosen to use two different colors of B-50 Dacron in order to make it easier for you to see the process.
Tips & Tricks for Better Cordage:
- When first learning to reverse wrap it can be very helpful to use two different colors of cordage so you can better see what you are doing.
- Be sure to keep your reverse wrap good and tight. A loose wrap means your cordage is more likely to come apart at inopportune times!
- Pay attention! Always keep your wrap even and do not allow one strand to wrap tighter than the other. An even wrap is a strong wrap, as it keeps the tension evenly distributed along the full length of the cordage.
Step-by-step Instructions for Wrapping a Plaited Loop:
- Begin with two pieces (or bundles) or cordage that are suitable for reverse wrapping*. If you are using bundles, make sure you have an equal number strands in each bundle. (In the example photos we are making a bow string using 10 strands of B-50 Dacron in each of the black and white bundles.)
- Hold each of the bundles about 6 inches from the end and begin to reverse wrap back toward that end.
- After you have completed about an inch of reverse wrap (longer, if you want a larger loop) fold the reverse wrapped portion in half to create a loop.
- At this point you will have an unwrapped "tail" about 4 inches in length on one side of your reverse wrapped loop, and the remaining length of your cordage bundles on the other side.
Take the short tail of ONE of your bundles and lay it along side ONE of your full length bundles. Now, take the OTHER full-length bundle and lay it along side the OTHER short tail.
- Pre-tension (loosely roll together) each short tail with each long strand, so that you once again have two bundles.
- Continue to reverse wrap using your two new bundles, until you have completed your project.
- Cut off any excess bits of cordage that are sticking out to give your project a more polished finish.
*For an instructional demo on how to reverse wrap see this short YouTube video.