Turk’s Head Knot Paracord Woggle

Paracord Woggle

Ok, so this is not strictly backpacking related, but it involves 550 paracord, knot tying, some creative use of wood glue, and the final result is pretty darn cool, so I thought I’d share it anyway.

A woggle, for those of you that have never heard the term, is a device used to fasten the neckerchief, or scarf, that is worn as part of the Boy Scout uniform. I can remember making these when I was in the British Cub Scouts and was reminded of them when I stumbled upon a really nice step-by-step illustration showing how they are made.

I thought that I could use up some of my paracord by making my own woggle that I could then share with all of my Tiger Cubs, now that I am a Den leader. Typically the woggle is not secured, so that the cord could be used by the scout if they needed it for something in a pinch. However, for the purpose of being able to have mine handed around and studied by a bunch of very eager Tiger Cubs, I decided to make mine somewhat more bullet-proof.

Using the step-by-step illustration previously mentioned, I began wrapping some paracord around a tube to fashion my woggle. The tube I used was actually the long part of a turkey baster – its what I had at hand! After working the paracord as tight as I could get it to form a neatly shaped Turk’s Head knot, I trimmed the two loose ends of the paracord, making sure that they both ended up on the inside of the knot. In order to do that I had to slide the woggle on and off the tube a few times, but it easily retained it’s shape.

Paracord Woggle

This is the point at which I got a little creative.  I poured a small amount of Titebond wood glue into a plastic cup and added a few teaspoons of warm water.  I stirred the mixture around until I had a very thin/runny version of glue. Then, while leaving the tied woggle on the tube, I liberally painted the paracord with the watery glue mixture.  Once it was well and truly soaked, I left the woggle in a warm place to dry overnight.

The next day I repeated the process, slathering on another coat of the watery glue mixture and leaving the woggle on the tube to dry overnight.  When I finally removed the woggle from the tube the next day it felt like a piece of rock in my hand.  The wood glue mixture had completely penetrated the paracord and as it dried it turned the paracord totally hard.

Paracord Woggle on a Scarf

The result is a paracord woggle that won’t come undone or be easily squashed when it is handled. I can tap it on a table and it sounds like it’s made of wood.  I can’t wait to share this with my Tiger Cubs to see what they think. They’ll probably just yawn!

Anyway, I thought it was a novel way to use paracord and in such a way that you can make it set hard and maintain its shape.  This would be a great way to create a set of tied knots that can be used as examples without them coming undone.  It was a lot of fun to make and I have some more ideas of how I might use this next.

Have you ever used glue with paracord or any other cord to make it set hard like this?

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09364636677279037964 Mattexian

    I made a similar one, using leather bootlace, in the last year or so. I was inspired to make it after reading in the original “Handbook for Scouts” about having it as another source for emergency lace. I’ve been trying to figure what I can use to stiffen it up, as you did… maybe SnoSeal? (Let it soak in well, so it doesn’t leak back out and stain my scarf.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    I’ve seen lots of these made with leather lace and they look exquisite. I don’t know if SnoSeal would harden it up enough, but the watered down wood clue given enough coats would work, I’m pretty sure. Either way I’d love to know who it goes if you try.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    I’ve seen lots of these made with leather lace and they look exquisite. I don’t know if SnoSeal would harden it up enough, but the watered down wood clue given enough coats would work, I’m pretty sure. Either way I’d love to know who it goes if you try.

  • Griffithsr

    Question: how long was the piece of paracord? I’m working with Scouts in the UK and have planned knots and lashings for our camp this summer. It would be good to send each Scout home with a new woggle.
    All the best,
    Rob.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Hi Rob, to be honest I don’t know how long the piece of paracord was that I used. I know that I had way too much and ended up cutting off quite a fair length – because I wasn’t sure myself either.

      Tell you what, as I have a lot of spare 550 cord hanging around, I’ll tie another one and let you know :) There’s going to be a slight variance based on the diameter of the hole in the middle that you choose. Stay tuned…!

  • Griffithsr

    Question: how long was the piece of paracord? I’m working with Scouts in the UK and have planned knots and lashings for our camp this summer. It would be good to send each Scout home with a new woggle.
    All the best,
    Rob.

  • Jamey

    For a good, stiff woggle, try #72 Gangion Line (it’s used for halibut fishing).  They often come in 42″ links which is the right size.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Jamey. I made this paracord woggle stiff using water-down glue. There benefit there is that the paracord is easy to handle while in its natural form, but only stiffens up once I’ve tied the knot and applied a few coats of glue.

      I’ve never used Gangion line before, but you can bet I’m going to check it out now :) Thanks!

  • Jamey

    For a good, stiff woggle, try #72 Gangion Line (it’s used for halibut fishing).  They often come in 42″ links which is the right size.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Jamey. I made this paracord woggle stiff using water-down glue. There benefit there is that the paracord is easy to handle while in its natural form, but only stiffens up once I’ve tied the knot and applied a few coats of glue.

    I’ve never used Gangion line before, but you can bet I’m going to check it out now :) Thanks!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Hi Rob, to be honest I don’t know how long the piece of paracord was that I used. I know that I had way too much and ended up cutting off quite a fair length – because I wasn’t sure myself either.

    Tell you what, as I have a lot of spare 550 cord hanging around, I’ll tie another one and let you know :) There’s going to be a slight variance based on the diameter of the hole in the middle that you choose. Stay tuned…!

  • Ed Hubert

    for a 4 x 5 woggle its about 5 ft

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Ed! I’m pretty sure I pulled about an arms length of cord off when I made my woggle, so that’s fairly accurate. I haven’t had a chance to make one again but when I do I’ll measure for sure – I promise!

  • Ed Hubert

    for a 4 x 5 woggle its about 5 ft

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Ed! I’m pretty sure I pulled about an arms length of cord off when I made my woggle, so that’s fairly accurate. I haven’t had a chance to make one again but when I do I’ll measure for sure – I promise!

  • David Perez

    Does the glue/water mixture affect the color of the woggle in any way?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      David, not that I could tell. The wood glue I used (Titebond) has a slight yellowish color to it but it dries clear. I’m also watering it down considerably so that reduces the discoloration.

      If you were doing this with white or a light colored cord I would suggest doing a test on a small scrap of cord first and seeing how it dries after a few coats. Remember too that it will look darker when wet, but will dry lighter. Let me know how it goes if you make one :-)

  • David Perez

    Does the glue/water mixture affect the color of the woggle in any way?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    David, not that I could tell. The wood glue I used (Titebond) has a slight yellowish color to it but it dries clear. I’m also watering it down considerably so that reduces the discoloration.

    If you were doing this with white or a light colored cord I would suggest doing a test on a small scrap of cord first and seeing how it dries after a few coats. Remember too that it will look darker when wet, but will dry lighter. Let me know how it goes if you make one :-)

  • Jackjack96

    Did this at all shrink In size? I’m wondering if it will effect the size of a finished diamond weave and was wondering if it would because I know paracord shrinks easily.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Mine didn’t shrink at all. I had it wrapped around a tube that had no give to it. The woggle was tight after drying out each time, but not so much so that I couldn’t slide it off the tube.

  • Wayne Skelton-Hough

    Hi,

    Having read your page, I’ve been inspired and volunteered to tie coloured paracord woggles for my Cub pack We want to replace our standard plastic woggles with something a little more elegant…

    My initial attempt worked well but I tried sealing it using bog standard PVA glue which worked reasonably well.

    The only problem was that the PVA glue did not go completely transparent and was visible on the strands of woggles tied with darker cord.

    Also, when I finished, my woggle was still a little ‘squishy’ and long term testing by my boys (6 and 8) has shown that after prolonged handling, squashing, chewing and general abuse, the strands start to come unstuck and the knot unravels.

    I was wondering if you had any more information about the glue you used so that I can purchase the right one?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Hi Wayne,

      I’m originally from Southampton, England but have lived in the US for 16+ years now. The glue I used may not be available in the UK so you may have to find the next best alternative.

      I used Titebond II premium wood glue watered down for my woggle project. It sets hard (harder than wood) and dries completely, no soft squishyness. I’ve included a link so that you can check it out and try to find a matching product in the UK.

      Another option might be to go with a water-based varnish. Pick one in Matte or satin finish and apply it liberally all over the tied woggle and let it dry completely between coats. I hope this helps, let me know how the glue hunting goes and if you get better results. – Brian

      • Wayne Skelton-Hough

        Hi Brian,

        Thanks for the reply.

        I’ve had a look around and can get Titebond II here in the UK. I’ll get some on order ASAP.

        I’ve got a few woggles tied ready to seal so let the fun commence…

        Wayne

        • Wayne Skelton-Hough

          So I’ve now got the first batch of woggles on the go…

          Each woggle uses 1m or Paracord and I’m sealing them with two coats of a 50/50 mix of Titebond II adhesive and water.

          Despite my initial apprehension, I can indeed confirm that with this mix, the woggle does set rock hard and there is very little discolouration of the cord (it is only noticeable on the white cord). I was very sceptical to start with but if you do try it, all I will say is give it time…

          Thanks for the advice!

  • Dave

    I’m planning on making woggle using paracord. My question is how long in length does the cord need to be to make one? Thanks

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Dave, I never measured the cord before I started I just wound it around the tube that I was using and cut off the excess once it was done. I’d say that 10-12ft would be more than enough.