Cable-Tying with Waxed Twine

Matthew Palmer mpalmer at
Thu Jan 25 01:14:40 UTC 2007

On Wed, Jan 24, 2007 at 07:30:06PM -0500, Dan Mahoney, System Admin wrote:
> Upon leaving a router at telx and asking one of their techs to plug in the 
> equipment for me, I came back to find all my cat5 cables neatly tied with 
> some sort of waxed twine, using an interesting looping knot pattern that 
> repeated every six inches or so using a single piece of string.  For some 
> reason, I found this trick really cool.
> I have tried googling for the method, (it's apparently standard, I've seen 
> it in play elsewhere), and for the type of twine, but had little luck.  I 
> was wondering if any of the gurus out there would care to share what this 
> knot-pattern is actually called, and/or if there's a (illustrated) howto 
> somewhere?

>From your description, it sounds like you might be describing a series of
half hitches.  I don't know if it has a more specific title than that.  If
you wanted to create it on (say) a vertical bundle, you just pass the line
around the back of the bundle then put the working end between the line and
the bundle, and tighten by pulling away from the knots you've already tied. 
Repeat this over and over up (or down) the bundle to get your nice pattern

A benefit of this knot is that if you pull the working end towards the knots
you've already tied, the knot will slide back, so you can tie each knot
quickly then pull it back to the right position, so you get a nice even run
of loops.

You'll need to secure each end of the line with something that can stand
tension at a sharp angle.  A quick examination of pikiwedia's knots list
suggests something like an icicle hitch or rolling hitch, but they might be
a bit tricky to tie in tight spaces.  I've just tried two half hitches on a
broomstick and it doesn't hold too badly, but I wouldn't guarantee it'll be
safe long term.

As to the line to use, I'd imagine that an office supplies store would
probably have a range of possibilities.

- Matt

"I have a cat, so I know that when she digs her very sharp claws into my
chest or stomach it's really a sign of affection, but I don't see any reason
for programming languages to show affection with pain."
		-- Erik Naggum, comp.lang.lisp

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