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paracord monkey fist

How to tie a paracord monkey fist knot

In this paracord monkey fist tutorial you will find a tutorial on how to tie the knot, as well as a few tips on how to get this knot done properly.

The monkey fist knot has quite a bit of history. The use of the knot, like many others was prominent in seamanship. The knot was often tied and thrown off a ship to be used to dock the ship. Due to the size and weight of the knot it could be thrown over impressive distances. What was not impressive for the person standing on shore was the force that this projectile generated. After some severe injuries and even deaths, the dockhands developed a severe hate for the knot. To discourage the use for the knot they began to simply cut the knot off if thrown to them.

The knot is appreciated for other applications as well. Made with a solid core, it can be used as a deadly weapon, acting similarly as a flail. Made in a set of three, it can act as a bola (mostly a hunting weapon). In the paracord crafts it has become widely used for keychains, smaller, 2-pass versions work nicely for zipper pulls.

So, let’s tie this knot!

What you will need

There are only a few supplies you will need to make this knot:

The size of the ball bearing will determine the size of the monkey fist, since more passes (wraps) with the cord will be needed. The number of passes in general is 1.3 passes per 1/4 of an inch of diameter of the core used. To avoid maths, you can use the following spreadsheet:

Number of passes per inch of the core of the monkey fist
Ball diameter in inches Number of passes/wraps
1/2 3
5/8 3
3/4 4
7/8 5
1 5
1 1/8 6
1 1/4 7
1 3/8 7
1 1/2 8
1 5/8 9
1 3/4 9
1 7/8 10
2 11
2 1/8 11
2 1/4 12
2 3/8 13
2 1/2 13

The monkey fist jig is highly recommended, since it greatly improves your speed and quality of the knot. You could alternatively freehand this knot.

With these items at the ready, time is upon us to tie the knot!

The tutorial

The monkey fist is made by doing three sets of wraps. Firstly we wrap around the ball vertically, then horizontally and finally vertically again, this time directly around the core, under the previous vertical wrap. The most common mistake made when tying the monkey fist is to have an unequal number of passes on a side. Always make sure that the same number is made on each side. When you have tied the knot, time will come to tighten it. This is done by pulling the slack on one side, then pulling on the other side. All six sides have to be worked with to achieve that perfect monkey fist. Now for some images of the process:

how to tie a paracord monkey fist
A video tutorial may also be helpful:

About Markwell

I am a defense science graduate. I like to create beautiful things out of paracord.

5 comments

  1. Very good instructions. Simple but good and easy to follow. Will be using the site frequently. Thanks

  2. Looks awesome

  3. Well done! Excellent! +10 for the tool.
    Best regards.
    Caot Patrick
    Bretagne, France

  4. Using a jig makes tying this complicated looking knot much easier. In fact, tying is not the trouble, but tightening is more time consuming. I start tying with cords that are in middle of object so that the object stays put during tightening. Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. I had no idea that the monkey fist knot was prominent in seamanship! I had no idea that a monkey fist knot was so heavy. Thanks for the tips, I’ll be trying out a monkey fist knot someday now.

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