In this instructable, I'll show you how to make a simple rope dog toy using two Matthew Walker knots. Many rope toys you can get at the pet store consist of a rope with two overhand knots in it. The Matthew Walker knot is much more symmetrical and less likely to come untied. With three strand rope, the Matthew Walker knot makes a great stopper knot which prevents the rope from unraveling. I'll be using this knot in other dog toy instructables, so follow me to see more!
Step 1: Get some rope
I always use cotton rope for my dog toys. It's all natural and isn't a big deal if your dog swallows pieces of it. I get my rope from both Knot and Rope Supply and Amazon. Knot and Rope Supply sells cotton rope by the foot in a number of different sizes: http://knotandrope.com/store/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=6
I also have ordered spools of rope from Koch on Amazon: http://amzn.to/15MFPY3
You'll want to get the right size rope for your dog. A 1/2"-3/4" rope would be suitable for a little dog, while 1.5" rope works for very large dogs.
Step 2: Preparing your rope
I'll be demonstrating with 3/4" rope. Begin to unravel the three strands of your rope. Now tape the ends to prevent each strand from fraying. Taping the ends isn't absolutely necessary, but I recommend doing it if this is your first time tying a Matthew Walker knot. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to tie the knot before fraying becomes too much of an issue. Now unravel about 8"-9" of rope. With bigger diameter ropes, you'll need to unravel more to be able to tie the knot, while smaller diameter ropes will take less.
Step 3: Tie a Matthew Walker knot
The Matthew Walker knot is a series of overhand knots tied over each other. Take the first strand and go around the rope and back up through. Do the same with the second strand, making sure to now go through the loop formed by the first strand as well as the second strand. And the third strand will go through all three. The Matthew Walker knot can be tied with any number of strands. If we had more the process would continue in the same fashion; go around the rope and up through all the previous strands' loops.
Step 4: Tightening the knot
The trickiest part of tying a Matthew Walker knot is tightening it up. With three strands, it's not too bad, but the more strands you have the more delicate you have to be when tightening. If you tug one strand too tight initially it can throw off the entire knot, so you need to tighten each one evenly a little bit at a time. Start by snugging up the last strand you looped around, and then work backwards through the strands. You just want to get each strand nestled in with each other to begin with. Then go through each strand again, pulling it a bit tighter. Do this several times until the knot is very tight and even.
Step 5: Finish the ends
Now we can trim the ends of the strands and fray the rope so it looks nice. To fray the rope just take a comb or brush to it.
Step 6: The other end
Cut the rope to the length you want it plus about 8"-9" for tying the second knot (remember more for bigger diameter rope and less for smaller). In this case, I cut about 12". Now repeat steps 2-5 with the other end of the rope.
Step 7: All done!
And now you have an awesome dog toy!
Step 8: What's next
The next instructable I plan to make will be for this toy. We'll be tying three Matthew Walker knots as well as a 3 part 3 bight Turk's head that covers a lacrosse ball.
EDIT: Here it is! http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-ball-and-rope-dog-toy/
Follow me to stay tuned for more!