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Falconry Braiding Craft

Falconry Braiding Craft

I’ve been experimenting with different knotting techniques, working towards a much more appealing leash-jess system.  This setup seems to accomplish the aesthetics I was going for, I’ll have to use it for a while to work out the functionality aspect.  I’ve been working on a braided leash system from some knotting patterns and I’ve come up with this formula (starting in upper left of the picture, moving clockwise):


  •     Spring Clip End
  •     Double Back-Braided loop
  •     Double Turks head knot (yellow)
  •     Single Turks head knot (pink)
  •     Six-strand braid pattern using masonry nylon
  •     Three-strand braided loop (seamless)
  •     #5 sampo swivel
  •     Split Ring
  •     Small Clip
  •     1/4 inch Grommets for the Roo Anklets
  •     Jesses are 4-strand braid, masonry nylon
  •     Double Wall-and-Crown knot, melted
  •     4-Strand back-braided loop end

Some Additional Caveats:

  •     Falconry leash intended for Glove use only (not tethered OR unattended)
  •     Looped Jesses would be MEWS Jesses only (not hunting)
  •     Leash can be assembled / disassembled from the hardware
  •     Intended use for medium size raptors (coopers, harris, merlin) NOT Red-Tails

Any additional sage advice would be welcomed.  I’ve yet to use this and want to make sure I’ve got everything hardened for regular use.  I like the fact that it’s light and easy to use. The Jess clip on the end is strong and machined aluminum (it would take more than keratin to bust it).  Please leave a comment!



As a result of several useful comments I’ve amended this leash setup to correct some of the potential flaws as commented on by several other falconers. Specifically:

  • The Spring Clip will be replaced with a Snap Shackle or a Locking Carabiner.
  • The Loop-End connection to the swivel will be moved down around the ring to free up the swivel movement.
  • The second set of jesses will have Crown Sinnet Rose knots for the end going through the anklets.

Thanks to all who provided sage advice for the improvement of this leash setup.

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  1. June 5th, 2012 at 13:02 | #1

    It has been noted by other falconers that the Spring Snap connection from the leash to the glove will eventually fail. Either the spring or the plunger will wear out and fail.

  2. June 5th, 2012 at 13:24 | #2

    It’s also been noted that the loop end attached to the swivel should clear the axle on the swivel. Just so it doesn’t get in the way or prohibit the swivel from turning. Pro-Tip there!

  3. June 6th, 2012 at 07:28 | #3

    This system has been used for about fifteen years with no problems, assuming quality equipment, leather, etc. Keep jesses fairly short to compensate for added length produced by the clips. Both clips are attached both split rings. For added security and to shorten the opening between the bird’s legs and the swivel to help eliminate a bird from straddling its block. There are many falconers that continue to use this system today, and swear by it.

  4. June 7th, 2012 at 07:12 | #4

    Comments from “DirtHawking”, an experienced falconer:

    1. That spring clip will fail. One or two good bates and that one will bust. Get the kind in your other posts if you must use one.

    2. That dog clip is okay if only used while on the fist.

    3. Those knots on the end of the jesses look like they will pull through the grommet holes after a couple of good bates. Make them wider.

    4. Your leash loop will interfere with the proper spinning and operation of the swivel. Loop it back onto itself and get it off the spinning part of the swivel.

    5. Not sure where you got the split ring, but most small ones will pull apart by a buteo. If you must use a split ring, use a good salt water one.

    6. Why put another mechanical component into the mix? Just tie a proper falconers knot.

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