How to Wrap a Paddle or Handle with Paracord | ITS Tactical

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Knot of the Week: How to Wrap a Paddle or Handle with Paracord

By The ITS Crew

If you’ve been in the Military, particularly the Navy, then you’ve probably seen the intricate work that’s been done with presentation paddles or other keepsakes given to service members. They’re usually given out by a unit to commemorate one’s accomplishments there or as a token of appreciation when someone leaves a unit. This can be a change in duty station, retirement or any to mark any occasion.

Decorative knot work, like we’ll show today on an example paddle, has existed in the Military for a long time. Coxcombing, or spiral hitching has long been a staple on Navy Ships to add grip to stanchions and railings, but has become less used since WWII. Today we’ll demonstrate Coxcombing to wrap our paddle and finish off the top and bottom with Turk’s Heads.

This Coxcombing can also be applied to the handle of a knife, much like previous Knot of the Week articles like the Strider Knives / TAD DUK Paracord Wrapping.

How to Wrap a Paddle or Handle with Paracord » Decorative

(Strength: –/Secure: –/Stability: –/Difficulty: 5Please refer to our Knot of the Week introduction post for a description of what these ratings mean.

As this project combines multiple knots, or ties, the rating above is purely based on difficulty. The biggest challenge is tying the Turk’s Heads directly on the paddle. The photos and video below demonstrate tying these on your hand, which is definitely how you should learn the Turk’s Head if you’re not already familiar with it.

Paracord Paddle Wrapping 48

The coxcombing or spiral hitching is fairly self-explanatory, but can wear on you after awhile, as you really need to thoroughly tighten each wrap. This is not only ensure tightness, but also that the pattern comes out correctly and covers the wood of the paddle that can often show through. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure you’re pushing the wrapping up frequently to again hide the gaps that can be created.

You’ll need a few tools for this project, to include multiple colors of paracord if desired. We’ve got plenty in stock in the ITS Store (shameless plug). You’ll also need a pair of scissors and a lighter to cut and fuse the paracord after finishing the wraps and ties. The mini paddle used in this article was about $10 from Bass Pro Shops, but we’d highly recommend these mini paddles available on Amazon. The mini paddle in this article was cheap and when attempting to drill out the hole the wood, it splintered horribly causing a larger hole than desired.

Paracord Paddle Wrapping 51

A Marlinspike was also almost a must on the small Turk’s Heads tied to open up the paracord and weave the successive wraps through. Just to be clear, the demonstration of the Turk’s Head being tied on a hand in the photos and video is to clearly illustrate the steps and can not be transferred to the paddle once it’s tied. It needs to be tied directly on the paddle or object being decorated.

Just as an example, with this 3″ circumference paddle at a length of 7″ it took 14 ft. to wrap the coxcombing. Using that measurement and circumference as a reference, you’ll need approximately 18″ of paracord for every inch of coxcombing. The Turk’s Heads were tied with 4 ft. sections of paracord.


  • Increase the grip of an object
  • Decorating an object

Tying Instructions:

Additionally, see this article for written instructions for tying the Turk’s Head.

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  • eguns

    Starting a fraternity I see?

  • Dan

    Hello, beautiful work and great pictures. I was curious, and this is only because I tend to always be skeptical of ornamental versus utilitarian, but can this be used as an actual gripping method in a working environment, ie a railing on a boat or home etc? If so, the first thing I wondered was those cut off ends that were fused after, is there a better way to secure them, or will they really stay in place? If it were to come loose, would the whole handle wrap go? I am asking this purely for the answer as I would love to do this in a couple of places at home or on the boat. I know so many times nowadays, people just want to crap all over someone’s work online, or just like to start a fight. So please don’t confuse me with them. It looks like beautiful, first rate work and I would really like to know the durability. Thanks again for the article and the site as always.

    • Jo11yGr33n

      @Dan On both aircraft carriers I served on, there was coxcombing (and turks heads) on the ladder wells of the “blue tile” (flag officer) spaces, and I can attest to the grippiness of this wrapping method.  As for staying in place during use, all i can say is that if they have stayed put long enough to be painted several times during my tour of duty.  I don’t know if they were affixed with glue to begin with or what, but I’m sure that if you were to go on board the now mothballed USS John F Kennedy CV67 you will still find the coxcombing intact.

    • @Dan it certainly can aid in grip when done right. As @Jo11yGr33n mentioned, even when painted it can increase the grip on objects. Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you’re enjoying the site and content!

    • R C

      Certainly one of the most durable wraps there is. Used on Navy ship exterior hand rails. I used it to repair a broken handle on a cleaver. Hasn’t come loose in 12years.

  • fj55ironpig

    This is a great method to addd grip. I personally wrapped several hatch handles on the now decommissioned USS Klackring

  • fj55ironpig

    it is also known as French whipping

  • SabreGirl

    After watching this video, I realize I unwittingly coxcombed the handles on my flower girl baskets 11 years ago.  They didn’t drop them… lol!

  • Markwell

    Yeah! A very beautiful guide! I especially like the ends, made in what seems to be a turk’s head knot similar to the ones found on paracord bracelets.
    Had to bookmark this one, could not resist :).

    I will try to make a similar wrap and let you know how it goes on

    Regards, Mark

  • This is great, looking to do this for my High School hockey team as a reward that stays within the team throughout the years. My question isn’t so much the paracord and knots. Rather, how would one get there logo put on to a mini paddle? Any suggestions would be great.

    • DoctorDubb

      @Eric branding is a great way to go or a lot of commands will use engraved plaques; any trophy shop will do that for minimal cost. Your team’s window stickers might even lay on there nicely. I’ve seen it all.

  • Nice right up! I would like to share some of your works on my forum. Is this possible?

  • Chris0624

    Had to give you guys credit for this.  Thanks.


    Was wondering if you have ever wrapped an Etool. I’m currently making a departing gift for a fellow marine was just got out of the corps, and I haven’t been able to find any videos of a paracord wrapped etool.

  • I can foresee a lot of pole and handles coming out from storage for me to give this a try. Considering how much rope and wire I have lying about in my storage cabinets, I might as well give this a shot since bound handles make for good grips. My wife might even think that the new “binding” might make the equipment look prettier! Haha!

  • laila farah

    Do you sell any of these already wrapped?

  • KarelSuijkerbuijk

    Where can i buy a paddle like that. The paddles i can find on the internet do not look as good as yours. Please let me know.

  • Mark

    Did you guys gut the paracord before doing the wrap?

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