Frequently Asked Questions and Answers


Date: 10/26/99
From: Ernie A. Wisner

fair winds. I am a fellow mariner and i also tie celtic knots in waxed cotten cord. I have been looking for another person who tie's celtic knots for about a year also i have tried to tie in copper and brass to hone my skill and i cant keep from kinking the wire seems you have figured it out if you dont mind. How?

following seas.
ernie wisner
 r/v Kenda


Good Morning Ernie Wisner,

Always glad to meet a fellow knot tyer and mariner, glad you surfed my web site and found me.  Where does the KENDA trade?

You are right, kinking is one of the biggest problems.  I first tried to weave in copper in 1981 (it sure was an ugle turkshead).  Later that year I taught myself the tricks to avoid kinking and many other tricks to metal work.  To really teach we'd have to get together, but since that is unlikely, I'll try to write them down:

(1) Length - make sure your wire is longer than you need.  I try to end up  with 6" to 1' left over on each end.  I recommend at least a foot until you  are more practiced.  Also depends on the weave.  On my long weave I  can get away with only 6" left over, but on the 4strand and 5strand I  like more.

(2) Looseness - originally I made my knots as tight as I could.  This made  the last tucks very difficult to tie and stretched the wire thinner and work  hardened the wire.  Later I learned to make my weaves a bit looser (not  too loose) then tighten them up later.  Turksheads I stretch on a wedding  band stretcher.  Straight flat knots I simply stretch out.  Round flat knots  I pull the outer loops out evenly.

(3) Roundness - after you've tucked the wire and are starting to pull it through,  try to keep the loop in the wire as round as possible.  When the loop starts  to get small, I sometimes stick a highlighter or magic marker inside the  loop to keep it round.  Then I switch to a modeling tool when it gets too  small for the marker.

For a while, I'd lost my modeling tool (a leather craft tool with a point on one end and a small spoon on the other) and used a needle tool (a potter's tool) and a small manderal.

Good luck.

I've tried casting with waxed cotton cord but so far without success.  I keep getting holes in my casting.  Have you had this problem and come up with a solution?

Fair winds and following seas,
Grey Chisholm

Brass is a lot harder than copper.

Updated: 8 December 2000