How to Make a Paracord Monkeyfist With Ball Bearing

Posted by Stacy on 2/7/2013

You really don't need the ball bearing to make this, and when I make them I seem to run out of fingers to hold it in place.  Monkey fists were first used to cast a line to shore from a boat or ship.  My understanding is that when sailors would tie them with an object in the middle for weight that it was common for dock workers to cut them off (no one wants to get hit with a monkey fist with a steel ball in it).


Speaker 1: This is how to make a monkey’s fist. We're going to start off with about six feet of mil-spec 550 paracord. You can do it with other materials; I just find that it's easiest if you use paracord. On one side it's going to be flattened to minimize bulk. The other side is tapered to a point for ease of weaving. I'm using a three-fourths inch diameter steel chrome ball bearing. You can find these some places on the Internet. The flattened end is your steel end and the tapered end will be your working end or the end that you're going to be weaving.

When you get to this point, you want to make sure that none of your cordage is running over each other. It will come out looking distorted. You can usually work out the disfigurements like on the final pass of your monkey’s fist.

Now comes the process of tightening it. It usually takes about four tightening sessions to get it right. You want to tighten it extremely slowly so that you get even bulk on all the sides of your monkey’s fist. If you don’t, it'll be distorted and it won't look pretty. Right here, as you can see, this part of the monkey’s fist, you want to leave it somewhat loose for when you get to this area of tightening because this is the area that tends to get distorted because this is tightened too much. It'll be pushing this way too much. The same with this part right here. You want to leave it relatively loose so that when you do your second wrapping process when you go to tighten this part, it'll be even and it won't be distorted. Again, leave this somewhat loose so that your monkey’s fist doesn’t become distorted when doing your next wrapping phase.

You can see here this kind of got in the way. All you have to do is just keep it out of the way. Hopefully that won't happen.

This next part is going to go by pretty fast. You're basically just going to repeat the same process over and over again usually until it gets tight. On the last bit you're going to want to hide this by pulling this end right here just under here to about right here and hiding it to where it can’t be seen.

That’s it for the monkey’s fist. I would say it's pretty good looking. The idea is to put this on a keychain. You could do just a simple knot such as a noose knot. Make an S a third of the way up to the loop and start wrapping it. I usually do it about three times just like so. Weave it through your open end. You just kind of want to shimmy the bottom loop up while at the same time pulling on this to get it extremely tight.

At this point you're going to want to cut it. You can either cut it flush with the noose to about this area or you can leave a little tag hanging. I think it looks a little better if you leave a little tag hanging. This is the Spyderco Para-Military by the way. Just like so.

At this point, you're going to want to burn the ends so it doesn’t unravel. I like the basic “melt the end and twist” method. There you go. Basic monkey’s fist keychain.

Someone else I might want to direct you to is a guy on here whose name is Storm Drain. I found out about him on the EDC forums. He's here on YouTube. He also has a monkey’s fist making tutorial. It's really good. Go check that out.
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