Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Exciting new paracord jigs available - the Perfect Mandrel and the Gibson Turks Head Former

The perfect paracord turks head mandrel
Introducing the Perfect Mandrel

Ever since I made the first comprehensive "long" Turks Head Knot video series (starting in 2010) 


 on YouTube I've been working to find the right design and maker and design to bring you the Perfect Mandrel. A mandrel is a tool utilized to tie the turks head knot in a sort of "controlled environment" (without the width and alignment variations often associated with hiking staves, axe handles etc.). After the turks head knot is fully formed, the pins (or pegs) on the mandrel can be removed so that the knot can be slid off and transferred to the finished item (knife, hatchet or tool handle, hiking staff etc.) for tightening. There are other mandrels for sale out there, but none so versatile or innovative as The Perfect Mandrel! This break through design by Travis Huppert allows for literally hundreds of options for bight spacing and count. It really is only limited by the users imagination. The main tube is 1-1/4" in diameter and 12" long. The two sliding collars adjust up and down the length of the tube for almost limitless settings. The collars are predrilled and tapped with 30 and 24 bight count rings and have an outside diameter of 2". This predrilled hole spacing will allow for ties with a multitude of bight settings, ultimate flexibility. If you are like me and have lots of mandrels you use for various ties, well this will replace almost all of them in one useful tool. It comes complete with (30) 1/2" set screws and an allen wrench to insert or remove the set screws. This is the one tool you have been waiting for and once you have one the tool you really won't ever want to ever be without. Order your Perfect Mandrel now, then watch this video to learn how to plan your first project!

 Before you read on, please watch the video I just embedded above. One of the main points of the video is that a "test knot" should be tied that has the minimal number of leads (utilizing 1/2 wrap in the first half cycle of the knot). This test knot can be tied quickly using a Turks Head Former, using this technique I first learned from Gibson's Book of Knots and Splices. I first taught this approach in my 2010 YouTube video "Paracordist how to tie a Turks Head knot easily using a jig and paracord for a hiking staff handle".

In the video, I used a former I threw together using some tape, a piece of scrap sheet rock and some finishing nails. The jig worked fine for a while, but soon the nails worked loose and the lack of "heads" on the nails resulted in the bights often slipping off while tying. I'm happy to announce that we will soon have the Gibson Turks Head Former's for sale (named after the author of the book where I learned the technique). This is a durable, select wood board with 7 (standard size) or 10 (large size) evenly spaced and squarely drilled holes. The pegs were specially selected for appropriate length, snug fit in the holes and perfect size heads to prevent slippage of bights. I expect to have these available in the Paracord Knot Tying Jigs section of my website within a couple days, so please check in !
Paracord Turks Head knot tying former
Gibson Turks Head Former

Written by Kevin Gagne

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