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Fire Braid Construction Tutorial

This tutorial shows how to utilize a common lanyard braiding technique in the construction of a piece of fire equipment. In this tutorial, you will learn to make a roughly 15 in. lanyard out of 1/4 in.rope using the "circle," or "spiral," method and a common form of self-termination.

Supplies Equipment Optional
  • None


  • Something to mark your rope (tape, marker, etc.)
  • PVA (e.g., Elmer's Glue)
  • KEVLAR(R) sewing cord/thread
  • Scissors (for cord/thread, if used)
  • Needle (for cord/thread, if used)

I. Starting

1. Cut the 20 foot section of rope in half. Make a mark in the middle of both pieces of rope, and thread them through the ring so that they cross each other perpendicularly.


2. Begin your the starter knot by crossing the bottom strand to the top on the right side of top strand. Throughout this process, allow the loop created by this step (which will be repeated many times) to remain large.

3. Repeat the process with the other strands. Keep in mind that if you rotate the lanyard clockwise as you knot, you will always be bringing the "bottom" strand to the right side of the "top" strand. Rotation is not necessary, but, if you get lost, it is a good way to get back on track.

4. Pass the final strand through the loop created by strand 1.

5. Tighten


6. You might think you would repeat steps (2) through (5), but you won't. Instead rotate the knot on the ring one half-rotation. If you start as in the first picture, you should end up as in the second and third pictures. The reason for doing this is discussed in the notes later on.

7. Repeat steps (2) through (5), which will cover over your starting point.

8. Repeat steps (2) through (5), until your shortest strand (they will likely be uneven) is no shorter than 3 inches long. Then, see some video and move on to Part II. Termination.

 Click the picture below to see an MPEG video of the knotting process:

II. Termination, the Frustrating Part

1. Make a very loose circle knot

2. Take the "bottom" strand, bring it around to and under the right strand, then up through the middle of the loose knot.

3. Bring the "right" strand around to and under the "top" strand, then up through the middle. Then, bring the "top" strand around to and under the "left" strand, then up through the middle.

4. Now for the hardest part, if you had difficulty with the first three strands. Take the "left" strand, bring it down and round to where the "bottom" strand originally came out of the circle knot. Slip it underneath and up through the middle of the knot.

5. If you did it right, it should look like this (untightened)

6. Now is a good time to begin using your PVA / glue, if you wish. Before you start tightening, apply some deep inside. As you tighten, attempt to do so, by pulling the circle knot tight, and the pulling the strands. This will assure that the termination is very tight. When you are done tightening, cut the strands close to the base, do any sewing that you wish to do, and apply more glue, if so desired.

7. Cheer! You are done!


There is a lot to say about various methods of connection. For instance, the ring pulls on the starting point, while all the weight of the braid pulls away from the ring. This will cause some stretching and separation near the attachment point. This is bearable, but not ideal. We will cover some alternative methods in a little while.