KNOTSMITHTM   Custom Braided Leather Lanyards


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Maintenance of KNOTSMITHTM Lanyards

KNOTSMITH TM lanyards, leash/lanyards, lead/lanyards, leashes, and leads feature hand-braided leather lace (kangaroo in most cases)  over nylon cores. As with most fine leather products, they will serve well and look attractive for many years if given regular preventative maintenance and appropriate care after use.

slideknot.jpg (20866 bytes)

A pineapple knot slide on a T2

Preventative Maintenance:

Rub in a light coat of leather dressing.

Neglected leather dries out (loses its natural oils) and becomes susceptible to abrasions and or cracking. Drying will occur slowly under ambient conditions, but elevated temperatures1 and repeated wetting will accelerate this loss of oils. Drying can be prevented by regular application of a leather dressing or neutral leather cream. I use  R.M. Williams Saddle Dressing on lace when braiding lanyards and on the lanyards I wear.    Used as directed, it does not darken the leather. Fiebing's Aussie Leather Conditioner will work almost as well if used as directed and conservatively.   Products, such as  Meltonian All-Purpose Cleaner and Conditioner and Meltonian Neutral Boot Cream, can work well too, but take care, because some leather (especially boot) dressing products darken leather and produce a pronounced "oily" look.   Bottom line:  Use something!

Brass Counters. Tumblers may be lubricated by introducing single drops of a quality gun oil into the crack between the tumbler and the barrel using a straight pin dipped in the oil. Turn the tumbler between drops. Take care not to introduce excess oil and soak the leather braid under the counter.

Care after use:

The most common and serious problem from use is getting the lanyard or leash wet repeatedly and then not replenishing the oils that are leached out of the leather. The salts in sweat accelerate deterioration of the leather.   So, lanyards and leashes gotten wet, muddy, or sweaty should be saddle soaped soon afterward.  

Use a good brand of saddle soap (Fiebings or Kiwi), follow  instructions on the can, e.g., use a soft toothbrush and warm water to apply a small amount of saddle soap. Be conservative rather than aggressive in the amount used. When the lanyard or leash is dry, apply a leather dressing or cream mentioned above or a product of your choice. This should minimize the damage from having gotten the item wet and or dirty, prevent future damage, and keep your product supple and looking its best. 


Protect your investment with regular preventive maintenance and appropriate care after use!


When Bad Things Happen to Lanyards

In addition to cases of neglect,  I have been asked to repair or replace a surprising number of products due to preventable "incidents."

First, however obvious this may seem,  please be aware that, given the slightest opportunity, your dog will likely chew up your lanyard or leash/lanyard (perhaps they like the taste of leather or saddle dressing).  Then it will look like this one on the right.2  In this case, I was able to repair the lanyard as shown below.


Second, given an opportunity, someone will likely relieve you of your lanyard. ("I know everybody at the trial.  Who could've taken my lanyard? The SOB won't be able to wear it at trials in the Southeast!")


So, take care not to put your KNOTSMITHTM lanyard down or leave it unattended where either  four- or two-legged  dogs can get at it!



As to how tough these lanyards are, see the note in Frequently Asked Questions.  The lanyard  at right (the same lanyard on the hat on the front page) was run over by a truck. The  knots were scuffed a bit, the compass and whistle were destroyed, but though dinged up, the counter still worked perfectly.   I replaced the compass and whistle, and this tough lanyard was good to go!   It even impressed me!


If I may be of service or if you have a suggestion or a lanyard 'war story,' I would like to hear from you. Thank you for the opportunity to make a lanyard for you!

"May you wear your lanyard in good health for many splendid seasons!"

 Larry Smith



(1)  I recommend that you do not leave your lanyard hanging from the mirror in your truck because temperatures get very high in a closed truck in the sun, and, in a couple of cases, trucks have been broken into and lanyards stolen.

(2)  Bill Curtis's puppy provided this example!  Thanks.


Larry Smith
PO Box 830219
Richardson, TX 75083-0219

(214) 893-9003  email:


Page updated  02/10/14
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