Knot of the Week: DIY Boleadora Throwing Weapon using Monkey’s Fists

by April 19, 2011 04/19/11

On today’s Knot of the Week, we’re going to go over instructions for creating your own Bola or Boleadora from natural fiber rope and a few golf balls for weighted cores. While we’ve gone over the Monkey’s Fist Knot in a previous KOTW, we’ve never show in quite like this.

Bolas throwing weapons were primarily used by South American Gauchos to capture/hobble running cattle or game, by utilizing an over-the-head swinging motion and releasing it on target. While I’m sure our readers could come up with a multitude of uses for these, one could come in handy in case of Zombies!

DIY Boleadora

Boleadora 18What we’ve created is a version that features two heavier weighted balls and one lightweight ball on a slightly longer cord. This follows tradition, as when throwing the Boleadora, you simply grasp the lightweight end and swing it over your head.

Upon releasing, the heavier ends allow the weapon to fly as the lightweight end wraps upon impact. Ideally you want to hit your target with the middle of the Boleadora so that both the heavier ends and the lightweight end end up wrapping.

While the traditional Boleadora utilizes stones or much heavier objects, we’re going to stick with golf balls for the heavier ends and a plastic practice golf ball for the lightweight end.

(Strength: 4/Secure: 4/Stability: 2/Difficulty: 5) – Taken from Monkey’s Fist Knot

Please refer to our Knot of the Week introduction post for a description of what these ratings mean.

Uses:

  • Hobbling/Capturing an Animal
  • Heaving Line
  • Tripping up a Zombie

Tying Instructions:

  • To start you’ll need two regular golf balls, a practice golf ball and 32 feet of natural fiber rope, like Sisal. (Optionally you’ll need waxed dental floss for whipping)
  • Cut the rope into one 20 ft. piece and one 12 ft. piece.
  • Form a bight in the 20 ft. rope and mark off 1 1/2 ft. on each side of the bight, this will be your starting point for each Monkey’s Fist.
  • Rather than restate the steps to form these two Monkey’s Fist’s, please refer to this article and the video embedded below.
  • After forming these two Monkey’s Fist’s using the regular golf balls as weighted cores, move over to the 12 ft. section of rope.
  • Mark off 2 to 2 1/2 ft. from the end of the rope, this is where you’ll start the third Monkey’s Fist.
  • Use the lightweight practice golf ball for the weighted core in this section of rope.
  • What you should have now is one section of rope with two Monkey’s Fists and a single section of rope with a single Monkey’s Fist.
  • Using a Beckett’s Bend (Sheet Bend), join the two sections of rope together.
  • Optionally at this point you can whip the joined sections with dental floss for a more permanent attachment.
  • Enjoy your Boleadora throwing! Please refer to our photos and video below for further instructions.

Photos and Video

Check out all our detailed DIY Boleadora photos on Flickr!


Are you getting more than 14¢ of value per day from ITS Tactical?

Please consider joining our Crew Leader Membership and our growing community of supporters.

At ITS Tactical we’re working hard every day to provide different methods, ideas and knowledge that could one day save your life. Instead of simply asking for your support with donations, we’ve developed a membership to allow our readers to support what we do and allow us to give you back something in return.

For less than 14¢ a day you can help contribute directly to our content, and join our growing community of supporters who have directly influenced what we’ve been able to accomplish and where we’re headed.

Click here to learn about all the benefits and Join!


ZCORD
ZCORD

here is one i made the other night.....thoughts?

Freeballer
Freeballer

Is the third monkey first for holding onto or does it effect the accuracy or effectiveness of the device itself? (eg. weight, balance, etc..)

Paul
Paul

Very cool tutorial. The only modification I made on mine was to use a modified eye splice after the sheet bend to give it a bit of extra security and create the illusion that the rope has no ends. Thanks for the tutorial!

Zach
Zach

This is awesome. Thanks for the tutorial man! I've been using my Boleadora steady the last two days.

The best thing is you don't have to worry about any of the monkey fist's coming off and going through a window!!

Zach
Zach

This is awesome. Thanks for the tutorial man! I've been using my Boleadora steady the last two days. The best thing is you don't have to worry about any of the monkey fist's coming off and going through a window!!

Corbin
Corbin

Just finished making mine not too long ago. I had the same problem Max was having, but after some slight altering I finally got it to work. On the double fisted end one ball was created using 4 wraps while the other was created with 3. On the single I also used 3. A friend volunteered for it and it seemed to wrap just fine.

It's a very cool and easy to become proficient with. Awesome job with this write-up!

Corbin
Corbin

Just finished making mine not too long ago. I had the same problem Max was having, but after some slight altering I finally got it to work. On the double fisted end one ball was created using 4 wraps while the other was created with 3. On the single I also used 3. A friend volunteered for it and it seemed to wrap just fine. It's a very cool and easy to become proficient with. Awesome job with this write-up!

Foxbatt
Foxbatt

sweet....thanks Bryan

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Wayne, surprisingly it didn't take me long to become proficient with the Boleadora. It's remarkably easy to use.

Max Marshall
Max Marshall

Ok, so I attempted to make one of these today, but when I tried making the heavier monkey's fist section I ran out of rope, and the two "fists" were to close toegether even after tightening everything up. So I went back and undid everything and started again using only 4 wraps per side of the fist and I still didn't quite have enough material.

I was using 3/8ths inch manilla cord, much like the sisal you linked to in the article. I don't mind trying this again, but is there something I may have done wrong?

Thanks,

Max

Max Marshall
Max Marshall

Ok, so I attempted to make one of these today, but when I tried making the heavier monkey's fist section I ran out of rope, and the two "fists" were to close toegether even after tightening everything up. So I went back and undid everything and started again using only 4 wraps per side of the fist and I still didn't quite have enough material. I was using 3/8ths inch manilla cord, much like the sisal you linked to in the article. I don't mind trying this again, but is there something I may have done wrong? Thanks, Max

Max Marshall
Max Marshall

I'm definitely making one of these. Sometimes our crafty little goats find a way out of the fences and when they do, there going to get hobbled!

Thanks ITS for your KOTW series, and Bryan you do the best how-to videos around.

Max Marshall
Max Marshall

I'm definitely making one of these. Sometimes our crafty little goats find a way out of the fences and when they do, there going to get hobbled! Thanks ITS for your KOTW series, and Bryan you do the best how-to videos around.

Wayne K.
Wayne K.

Good to know. Monkey fists are a bit time consuming but good to know. In the wild, this would take a little practice but may get some edible game before snares.

Kyle Davis
Kyle Davis

I always wanted to make one of these as a kid but never knew how. Thanks guys, you rock.

Foxbatt
Foxbatt

i wonder how well that would work out useing 550 cord. otherwise GREAT DIY project. thank you

Richard Watkins
Richard Watkins

Monkeys fists are time consuming to do but rewarding.

I post this question probably 4 times in other coments and forums but they were usually older or busy threads- do you have a picture or diagram file of fishing knots small enough for a pocket survival kit? I've been looking for one to include in mine. Thanks and keep up the good work.

Richard Watkins
Richard Watkins

Monkeys fists are time consuming to do but rewarding. I post this question probably 4 times in other coments and forums but they were usually older or busy threads- do you have a picture or diagram file of fishing knots small enough for a pocket survival kit? I've been looking for one to include in mine. Thanks and keep up the good work.

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Max, that manilla may be thicker than the Sisal I was using and you may have to use longer lengths. One thing you might want to do on the double fists section is to tie your first fist without cutting the rope, then measure three feet off and start the second with plenty of rope to spare, say 12-15 feet then when you get to the end of making the second fist you can cut the rope as needed. Hope that helps!

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Absolutely Max! Thanks for the kind words and all your support!

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

You're welcome Kyle, thanks for your support!

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Foxbatt, you can definitely make one with 550, but it's going to take more wraps to get around something as large as a golf ball. Natural fiber is larger in diameter and seems like a better fit for this project. Although, one made of 550 with large "shooter" marbles inside would make a small compact Boleadora that would probably be effective as well.

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Richard,

We'll get one put together, I need to update the one I carry anyway. Makes a great addition for a mini survival kit!

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Richard, We'll get one put together, I need to update the one I carry anyway. Makes a great addition for a mini survival kit!

The Latest
Squawk Box