Examples of the Serving Wrap

Cordage: The Serving Wrap

(As featured in the October 2007 issue of Practically Seeking)

The Serving Wrap is a technique that you will find useful in many ways and with many skills.

This protective/finishing wrap can be used to serve bow strings (protect the string from the friction of the nock), install nocking points, wrap fish hooks, fletch arrows, wrap bow handles, finish basket handles and much, much more.

You can use almost any flexible material as your wrap;
leather, rawhide, bark, cordage, vine...

In our example photos we are using wisteria vine, and using the word "cordage" as a catch-all term.

Step-by-step Instructions for completing the Serving Wrap:

  1. Place your desired cordage at the spot you wish one end of your serving wrap to finish, and wrap once around your object, leaving a "tail" long enough that you will be able to pull your wrapping tight (about 3–4 inches).
  2. First Wrap First Cross

  3. Go around once more, again wrapping over top of the protruding tail to help keep it in position, and snug it down good and tight.
  4. Second Wrap

  5. On your third wrap, slide the cordage underneath so that this time the tail is laying on top.
  6. Tail Underneath Wrap

  7. The fourth time around, once again wrap over top of the tail, and pull tight to lock it into place.
  8. Fourth Wrap

  9. Continue to wrap around your object as many times as you need to complete your project, being sure to keep the wrap snugged down and tight at all times. (You can wrap your "tail" completely under, or if you prefer, wrap over the tail enough times to ensure it will not come loose then cut the rest off.)
  10. Wrapping it Up Wrap it tight!

  11. Once you are close to the desired length, it is time to finish your wrap. On your next time around, bring the cordage down several inches away from rest of your wrap, leaving enough slack to create a large loop.
  12. Make a Loop

  13. Bring the cordage up and THROUGH the loop. Continue wrapping in the same direction, but now from the bottom up, back toward your original wrap. Wrap at least four times around, back up the piece, each time going under the loop.
  14. Through the Loop Four More Wraps

  15. Bring the end of your cordage up to the original section and hold it down tightly against this portion of your wrap.
  16. Hold Down the End

  17. Grasp the large loop with your other hand and bring it down against your object so that it is snug against the main wrap, holding down the end of your cordage.
  18. Pull down on your loop

  19. Continue the wrap by moving the large loop around your object. As you do this you will see the small section unwrap as the main side wraps down. Be sure to keep the end of your cordage held in place, and your wrap pulled tight.
  20. Wrapping your loop

  21. When all you have left at the far end of your wrap is your big loop, pull the end of your cordage as tight as possible. Using your knife or scissors, cut of the rest of your cordage as close to the wrap as you can. So long as you've kept your wrap good and tight there's no need to worry about it coming undone!
  22. Your Final Wrap Pull it Tight Final Adjustments Trim your remaining cordage

Enjoy this great looking finishing touch to your project!

Finished Bow Handle