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"Turk's head" redirects here. For the French film, see Turk's Head (film).
Turk's head knot
Valknop rund.jpg
Category Decorative
Origin Ancient
Related Carrick mat
Typical use Decorative
ABoK 1278–1401 (Chapter 17: The Turk's-Head)
Instructions [1]

A Turk's head knot is a decorative knot with a variable number of interwoven strands, forming a closed loop. The name is used to describe the general family of all such knots rather than one individual knot. While generally seen made around a cylinder, the knot can also be deformed into a flat, mat-like shape. Some variants can be arranged into a roughly spherical shape, akin to a monkey's fist knot.[1]

The knot is used primarily for decoration and occasionally as anti-chafing protection. A notable practical use for the Turk's head is to mark the "king spoke" of a ship's wheel; when this spoke is upright the rudder is in a central position. The knot takes its name from a notional resemblance to a turban (Tr: sarık), though a turban is wound rather than interwoven.

The Turk's head knot is used as a woggle by Scout Leaders who completed their training course and were thus awarded with the Wood Badge insignia.

Leads and bights[edit]

A 3-lead, 10-bight Turk's head knot, doubled

Each type of Turk's head knot is classified according to the number of leads and bights and method of construction. The number of bights is the number of crossings it makes as it goes around the circumference of the cylinder. The number of leads is the number of strands around the circumference of the cylinder, before doubling, tripling, etc. Depending on the number of leads and bights, a Turk's head may be tied using a single strand or multiple strands. Mathematically, the number of strands is the greatest common divisor of the number of leads and the number of bights; the knot may be tied with a single strand if and only if the two numbers are coprime. For example, 3 lead × 5 bight (3×5), or 5 lead × 7 bight (5×7).

Turk's head knots on netting

There are three groupings of Turk's head knots.

  1. Narrow, where the number of leads is two or more less than the number of bights (3×5, or 3×7),
  2. Wide, where the number of leads is two or more greater than the number of bights (5×3, or 16×7), and
  3. Square, where there is a difference of at most one between leads and bights (7×8 or 8×7).

The number of bights determines the shape found at the center. Three bights create a triangular shape, while four create a square. A two lead, three bight Turk's head is an overhand knot.[2]

A two lead, three bight Turk's head is also a trefoil knot if the ends are joined together. (2,n) alternating torus knots are (2,n) Turk's head knots.[3] ((p,q) = q times around a circle in the interior of the torus, and p times around its axis of rotational symmetry.)

Uses in culture[edit]

Dartmouth College's First-Year-Trips Safety Team, Vox Croo, traditionally ties a doubled Turk's head knot around each member's wrist upon completion of membership. The knot becomes a bracelet, which is used as an identifying symbol between Vox 'croolings' across class years. Each bracelet contains two colors of string, one black and one that identifies which year the member participated in Vox Croo. Many Vox Croo Chiefs (known colloquially as 'Mox' and 'Pox') upon returning to lead the team, combine their colored strands so that they are recognized for both years of 'raiding life.' The World Organization of scouting uses a variation of the Turk's head knot to affix their neckercheifs and as a fire starting tool. It is an official part of the uniform.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simpson, Thomas (June 2010), "Ashley's Mauretania Knot & Early Sightings of a Monkey's Fist", Knotting Matters (London: International Guild of Knot Tyers) (107): 28–31 
  2. ^ Shaw, George Russell (MCMXXXIII). Knots: Useful & Ornamental, p.61. [ISBN unspecified].
  3. ^ Bozhuyuk, M. E. (1993). Topics in Knot Theory, p.3. ISBN 9780792322856.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turk's_head_knot — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
51983 videos foundNext > 

Paracord Woggle Tutorial (Turk's Head Knot)

How To Tie a Paracord Woggle Often used by scouts and girl guides as a scarf or neckerchief tie, here's how to use paracord to make a woggle. Thanks for watching! For more WOE content check...

5x4 turks head tutorial

A brief tutorial on how to tie a 5 lead 4 bight Turk head knot. Also: I explain the process of raising TH knots two leads and two bights. Enjoy and please subscribe. More tutorials to come!

A Long 4 Bight Paracord Turk's Head Knot

More knotty stuff on my blog: http://stormdrane.blogspot.com I used a Perma Lok Super Jumbo Lacing Needle to tie the knot, not required but they do make it easier to work these types of knots....

Knot of the Week: Turk's Head

Learn How to Tie a Turk's Head with ITS Tactical's Knot of the Week. Learn more in our write-up at http://www.itstactical.com/2010/02/02/knot-of-the-week-turks-head/

How To...Make a Turk's Head Woggle or Neckerchief Slide

I have been making Turk's Head woggles or neckerchief slides this week at a scout group, so I thought I would create this how-to guide to making one. There are several different ways to make...

Paracordist How to Tie the Long Turks Head Knot - for DUMMIES

http://www.paracordist.com/perfect-turks-head-mandrel-jig/ https://twitter.com/#!/Paracordist http://www.facebook.com/Paracordist PLEASE SHARE In my recent blog "Paracordist Video Announcement...

How to tie longer turks heads

This video shows how to tie a 4 bight knot with a basically unlimited number of parts.

How to Tie and Tighten a Double-Pass, 5x4 Turkshead Knot

This video is a step-by-step tutorial on how to tie a Double-Pass, 5x4 Turkshead Knot. Also included in the video is the process of tightening the knot and then hiding the excess cords after...

4 X 5 Turks Head knot

tying the 4 by 5 Turks Head Knot - the advanced woggle knot.

Paracordist how to tie a Turks Head knot easily using a jig and paracord for a hiking staff handle

http://www.paracordist.com https://twitter.com/#!/paracordist http://www.facebook.com/paracordist See Part II (tightening and finishing) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZpPYFr165s This video...

51983 videos foundNext > 

12 news items

Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Sun, 22 Jun 2014 13:03:40 -0700

On top of the braid at the center point of the wheel, John weaved a tight turk's head knot further distinguishing his work. That was his style and no matter the boat, you would see rope weaving on shackles, you would see spliced rope ends rather than ...
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Mon, 04 Nov 2013 04:02:47 -0800

This project is a part of Fresh's #50easyDIY series. See the first 25 easy DIY projects here and come back every weekday through Dec. 6 for a new one. Pin and Instagram your own DIY projects using #50easyDIY. When tailgating in the cold, you don't need ...
Pop City
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 21:09:31 -0700

Try your hand at some of the traditional crafts in Empowering Women, as you learn to tie a Turk's head knot and make a coil basket. Explore the impact of these artisans at a lecture by exhibition curator, Dr. Suzanne Seriff, who will lead the talk ...

Business Insider

Business Insider
Fri, 01 Nov 2013 07:35:17 -0700

Effort on the scale of micro-lapel jackets on top of floral-print shirts on top of ruler-thin camo-print ties on top of Turk's-head-knot cuffs on top of a tangle of bracelets on top of purple plastic Wayfarers. And yet, under all this, a man can still ...
New York Times
Tue, 10 Apr 2012 09:26:11 -0700

I DON'T really dream anymore, but when I do, I dream of slow life, barefoot rug rats, sun streaks through windows, unspoken connections, evenings of calm bleeding into mornings of hope, the doors closed to the rest of the world. I dream of hiding, us ...

Maine Antique Digest

Maine Antique Digest
Wed, 10 Apr 2013 06:18:45 -0700

... a great narwhal and silver cane, a fine painter's gadget cane, a great Masonic folding ball, a superb 1696 ivory pique, a fine ivory American Indian, a splendid Turk's head knot on carved whalebone, a wonderful famous midget's gold cane with ...
Tue, 30 Oct 2012 14:56:15 -0700

Mr. Yarina's ships are very detailed, museum quality models, placed in just the right bottle and come complete with a hand made hardwood stand and finished off with a Turk's head knot. Each ship has a history with the artist's watermark in the ...
Baltimore Sun
Sat, 02 Oct 2010 09:23:00 -0700

When Stacey Carter and her son Thomas, 7, went on their first camping trip more than a year ago, they were less than prepared for the crisp October nights outdoors. Since then, Carter said she's invested in an air mattress and Snuggies and learned to ...

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