How to build a simple turnbuckle using a capuchin friar knot ?

A few years ago, I explained on the WWI mailing list, how I used capuchin friar knots to make turnbuckles on my Phönix D.I.

You can tell me : 'What is it ?'  And I'll respond : 'I don't know its real name in English'.  I can just tell you that it is knew as a 'noeud de Capucin' or 'noeud de Cordelier' (Cordelier knot) in French and 'Capuchino nudo' in Spanish.  But, to paraphrase Bonnie before one of its multiple battles : 'One small picture (drawing in his time) is better than thousands of words' and I'll show you how to make these simple thing.  This technique is only usable for small scale models as 1/72th or 1/48th.

Material and tools

The material to use is very simple : a length (20 to 30 cm/8 to 12 in.) of fishing line or monofilament sewing thread and eventually a permanent black felt-tip or you preffered paint.  The diameter of used lines don't exceed 0.2 mm and for my prefered scale (the imperial scale of 1/72 - just kidding ;-)), I never used more than 0.14 mm.  If you know that a real rigging line has a diameter between 3 and 7 mm, you 've to use a thread comprised between 0.042 mm and 0.097 mm. Usually, I use fishing lines of 0.065 mm and 0.08 mm.

material & tools to use

If you want to use fishing line, you've to colored it with the black felt-tip or you preffered paint.

The only tool to use ?  Your little fairy fingers.

blackened fishing line


Take a length of thread and make a loop in it. Slip one thread end in and out the loop to make 10 or 12 turns, as you can see on the picture.

The number of turns depend of the length you want for your turnbuckles.

making turnbuckles : step 1

Take both end of the thread between your thumb and your index finger and pull up them to close the loop.

As you have almost finished, it is difficult to pull the thread. Hold firmly both end of the thread between your hands, and use your thumb nails to tighten it.

making turnbuckles : step 2

Finally, you have an almost perfect turnbuckle.

Add a droplet of cyanocrylate glue to fix it and paint as your taste.

making turnbuckles : step 3

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