This time I made a cat of nine tails out of paracord.
The cat of nine tails could be considered a type of a whip, but more commonly people refer to it as a flogger. The nautical version of the cat is also called “the captain’s daughter” a fun name for an item with a not so fun purpose of enforcing discipline on a ship. Now days, the item is popular is the shadier communities as well.
The item you see in the images is a proper cat of nine tails, since it has 9 tails required for the name. The 9 tails are a symbolic number of tails, but the reasons behind the number are also practical, since three regular, 3 stranded ropes unravel into 9 ends/tails.
A tutorial on making the cat of nine tails is available below in video form and it is not all that short, a bit over an hour long. I really wanted to cover all the techniques used in the project so it takes time to demonstrate them all. And don’t even get me started on the time invested to make the entire video. Sheesh!
The basis for this design is one by Des Pawson, from his book Des Pawson’s knot craft and rope mats. I adapted his design by switching out a few things and adding some. I must say the result is in my opinion…awesome!
So, let me briefly describe the making process.
These are the items I used to make the cat:
- paracord– 9 pieces each at least 7.5 feet long (230 cm). These pieces can be all of a single color or you can use two or even more colors.
- core- I use a 2 part, solid core. This one is usually made out of metal, be it brass or aluminium (these can be found in hardware stores). 1 piece is the main core (making up most of the handle), about 8 inches long and 1/8 inch in diameter. The second piece is used for the thicker part of the handle and it is slid over the first piece, so it needs to be hollow. It is about 5 inches long and about 1/2 inch in diameter.
- lacing needle for finishing the project.
- scissors and lighter for cutting and melting the paracord.
So, these are roughly the supplies I used to make the cat o’ nine. Now a brief explanation on how to make the flogger and a video tutorial that shows you the entire process.
How to make a cat of nine tails out of paracord
First off, I took all 9 pieces of paracord. I moved 3 feet into the cords and stopped them by tying them together using a piece of thread. These 3 foot lengths are later on going to become tails of the flogger.
Next, I tied a 9 stranded Matthew Walker knot. This one takes some experience to make, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it perfectly on the first try. Keep tying it until it looks nice. The trick is in dressing the knot gradually.
Then the alternate crown sinnet is started with 8 of the strands while one is used as the core for the sinnet. After 2 crown knots I basically jam my main, 8 inch core next to the core strand into the first two crown knots and tie about 3 inches of alternate crown knots.
A double diamond knot will enable a neat looking transition into the thicker, regular crown sinnet. I double the strands on the inner side.
After the diamond knot I place my second, about 5 inch long hollow core over my core strand and first core. You can run the core strand through the hollow core a few times to really pack it snugly so the first core does not rattle inside. I use a lacing needle for this task.
Then it is time for the regular, good ol’ 8 stranded crown sinnet for about 5 inches over my second core.
Then, to close the very end of the handle I usually place 2 alternate crown knots.
Now, the end of the handle is decorated using an 8 stranded star knot.
The ends are then crowned and then the crown knot is doubled by running the strands through the star knot and out of sight onto the bottom of the star knot. For this the lacing needle is used. Finally, cut and melt the ends as close to the star knot as possible.
The tail ends, about 3 foot long are now decorated with blood knots (double overhand knots).
To even out my crown sinnets I often roll them in between two planks. To stiffen up the star knot on the bottom I either place it into boiling water for a minute or apply some heat onto the knot, being careful not to burn or melt any paracord.
The entire making process can be observed here:
Making this flogger is a sign of a patient person. So if you make it…you have my congratulations!
You can further modify this design in your own ways. Switch out techniques for those that appeal to you, play around with colors and so on. Here for example is a single tone version of the flogger, done with a different finishing knot.