Here is my completed Turks head staff.
It took a VERY long time to do. A few months of weaving a little at a time, here & there.
This instructable is not so much a step by step of how to do it. Because when I started this project, I had no intention of making an instructable. But after taking on this massive undertaking, I know that what I have learned, will help anyone who wants to wrap a staff in any of the Turks Head style weaves.
There were a few imperfections:
-I did some overs instead of under's and visa versa. This was my fault. I ended up doing this while I was working at my home office, at my desk. So I obviously wasn't paying the closest attention all the time. -I quickly ran out of black, so I used up some various colors I had lying around which I regret, I'm not crazy about the color scheme. There is black, dark green camo, and a green/tan camo. -And I should have used a thinner dowel, because after the wrapping, it's a bit thick. Fortunately I'm a big guy. After spending a great deal of time doing this I came up with a few tips to help anyone else who is thinking about tackling this time consuming task.
#1 Don't do it, what a waste of time! But alas, I'm sure I'll try again to make a nicer one.
You will need a nifty little free web based application called The Gridmaker by Tim Allwine. It is located here: http://www.igkt.net/links/downloads.php
Use whatever pattern you like. You can adjust the strand width, and the gap size and some other things like color . Make sure to use a visible color like BLUE as the "under" color to help you see what you are doing during the weaving. I printed a TH pattern on the gridmaker with very thin cord, very thin spaces, and made it very long (LOTS OF PARTS). Then I used photoshop to make it very large, and break it up into about 5 or 6, 8.5" x 11" sheets of paper to wrap around the staff. Then mated all of the ends, end to end so the patterns matched. Then taped it to the staff. That's why the pattern had to be so thin. The gridmaker is designed to be printed and wrapped around a toilet paper tube. So when I expand it to fit an 11" long piece of paper, the strands were not the size of sausages. They need to be only the size of the cord you are using. So start with very very thin strand settings. You'll see when you test your first print. I also recommend practicing on a few small patterns wrapped around the toilet paper tube so you get the hang of how to weave a TH knot with the gridmaker pattern wrapped around a mandrel. You can use pins to keep the bights in place on the edges.
Make a Lathe type jig to hold & rotate the staff while you wrap it. This was a big revelation for me. It allowed me to free up my hands. It allowed me to slide my chair under it and work with it right in front of me. It makes it VERY easy to turn and lay the cord over the pattern. Also once you start putting pins into all the intersections to hold the cord in place, it's vary hard to try and do it without this jig.
I put a small nail in one end of the staff that rests in a groove I cut on one side of the jig. That way it can spin freely.
On the other end I used a hand clamp to hold it tight. Then when I needed to rotate it, I just squeezed the clamp open, rotated the staff, then released the clamp to tighten it again.
I made mine with a pivot point so I could lean it against my work desk and lean it in front of me while I worked!
Everything was put together with scrap wood from around the house. I made mine pivot. For me, where I sit, it was handy. But you can use any crude method to accomplish the basic lathe. Don't try to hold it in your hands with the staff on the ground. It's too cumbersome and messy. Plus once you have all the pins in it it gets difficult to turn,wrap and pull the cord through without knocking pins out. So make some kind of makeshift lathe.
Once you start weaving, you will need pins, to hold the cord in place. Especially at every "X" or intersection. I used plastic thumbtacks. It's a little hard to get them in the wood. So I found I could gently tap the tacks with a hammer if I needed to. But you will need a LOT! Almost every joint will need a pin in it to keep the cord lying directly over the pattern. Otherwise you will lose your place. Then your over-under pattern will be messed up. Also at both ends of the staff, everytime the cord takes a turn (bight) back around the other way. (See my notes later about how to handle the ends).
Step 4: I Didn't Get a Picture of the Staff With All of the Pins in It. But, It Should Look Something Like This:
After running the first course of cord throughout the whole pattern. I should have stopped, then slid the woven mesh off and removed the paper. The whole middle section of my paper pattern is trapped under my weave. You can't see it, but I know it's there. And now so do you.
After the first course is woven and the pattern is full, you just change cord colors start at the beginning again and keep following strands (over, under,etc.) until it's all full. OR you can start at the beginning and change directions. For example instead of going right to left, go left to right. Still following all of the over-unders of the cord you selected. I had space leftover after finishing 1 or 2 runs, so I added another run with a new color. If you notice the size of the pattern above on the empty staff, the pattern it almost as tall as the staff. But after tightening & a little compression, it shrinks significantly in size. Keep that in mind when you plan your staff....The tightened weave will be 10%-15% smaller than the original pattern you tape to the staff.
Step 6: MY Most Important Recommendation.....
After my first course, I started to cut the cord on every bight. With so much over and under and the rotating, the paracord gets SO twisted, I was spending more time unraveling than I was wrapping! So when I got to the end of the staff on either the top or bottom bight, I cut it, and started a new one.Also as the weave gets tighter, when you pull the paracord UNDER, it seems to bunch up the inner core strands an line. The shorter lengths made the cord MUCH more manageable. Plus, I knew I would conceal the edges later. So if you don't mind hiding the top and bottom, cut the end bights like this.
This will save you HOURS of unraveling, untwisting and frustration!! CUT THE ENDS.
Step 7: Finishing
When the weave is all done, you will need to tighten it all up. Us a pair of needle nose pliers or a fid to help pick a strand. Then little by little tug on the cord working from one end to the other cinching it down. when you get to the end. Pick another strand and do the same thing. This is also a tedious process. Just make sure you use even pressure on all strands. Otherwise it may look uneven.
As far as the ends go, after it's all tight, us a lighter or torch to singe & melt the ends. Furthermore, if needed, you can use small, thin, flat head nails to hold a cord permanently in place. The head of the nail if small enough will be virtually invisible in the massive pattern.
Now to cover the ends up, just make a Turks head weave of your choice. Make it wide enough to fit around the wrapped staff. Slide it in place over the end. Then tighten it up to conceal the ends. You may also hold it in place with the tiny nails as well. Or cover the ends however you like. Leather, metal, etc.
Step 8: Stealth
I used several of them to cover up mistakes I made in the over-unders! But keep that between us, don't go posting it all over the internet.