Knot of the Week: Turk's Head - ITS Tactical

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Knot of the Week: Turk’s Head

By The ITS Crew

Our Knot of the Week series continues today with the Turk’s Head, a Decorative Knot that has so many different versions, books have been written just on this family of knots. They can literally be used for nearly any type of decorative knot project you can think of. The most common use of a Turk’s Head in the Military is it’s use on presentation paddles.

This is definitely one of the more involved knots we’ve showcased here on ITS Tactical, but we’ve tried to make the video explanation as simple as possible. As a whole the Turk’s Head is not a difficult knot. If you don’t get the initial steps exactly right, or loose your place while tracing the line through, it’s easy to get frustrated though.

Turk’s Head knots can also resemble a turban, but they won’t make your carpet fly…

Turk’s Head » Decorative

(Strength: 5/Secure: 4/Stability: 3/Difficulty: 4Please refer to our  Knot of the Week introduction post for a description of what these ratings mean.


  • Decorative Knot for a seemingly endless number of uses
  • An alternative to a girth hitch in certain situations

Tying Instructions:

  1. Make a turn around the object you’re tying onto and cross the working end over the standing part
  2. With the working end, make a second turn around the object to the right of the first
  3. Thread the working end underneath your original turn around the object
  4. *Here’s where it gets tricky*
  5. You now want to now take your standing turns and cross them over each other while making a split in them
  6. Your working end now goes across the left side and underneath the right side of the turns
  7. Turn your knot so you can see the standing end hanging off to the right
  8. Now run the working end parallel with the standing part
  9. Tighten up your work and the standing end now becomes your working end
  10. From this point forward, depending on the number of wraps you want, simply trace parallel to what’s now your standing part
  11. The more complete traces you make around the knot, the more “leads” you’ll create.
  12. The Turk’s Head shown is a 3 lead, 4 bight.
  13. Please ask any questions you have, we know this can be a bit confusing to tie at first!

View the gallery or YouTube video below and follow along with the steps above!

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  • wyrm

    I’ve used the turk’s head knot for many years for many things. One way to use it that is extremely useful is to make a hatband with it. When I was still in the Marines I would tie a turk’s head knot around my boonie hat using either 550 paracord or 3mm climbing accessory cord. By doing this you have an extra 20, 30, or more feet of cord immediately available. This is a very simple knot to learn and its uses are only limited by your imagination.

    Semper Fi


    • Awesome information, thanks for posting!

      ~ Bryan

  • Good decorative knot, been tying them for year’s, it’s a must have on a paddle.
    Good video!

  • Chris

    Have you thought about doing a Turk’s Head know as a knife wrap? Would it be possible?

  • Keith

    Great knots illustrated here. A question: how did you finish the turk’s head knot? I’ve tried it several ways but end up in knots! And it isn’t pleasant to look at. The problem I have is the bitter end which comes from the wrap around the handle. I terminated it thru the lanyard hole but there are a few twists that perplex me in execution. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Mr. Longname

    To make these instructions easier for mobile devices you may want to consider organizing the pics and written instructions into a handy downloadable PDF. Just a suggestion.

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