Net making & other thread and fabric projects

(David Walker) #1

Ever since seeing fishing nets being made at various maritime museums decades ago I’ve been intrigued by the process, and the different types of nets that one can make. But when younger I never gave it a try, only read about it, because I doubted I would have the patience to tie hundreds of knots. But recently with the passing away of my brother-in-law, I figured I better get on with things in my bucket list before it’s too late, or remove them and shorten the list.

One thing on that list is learning how to sew, which I have recently been working on, and each new stuff sack, or eye glasses pouch is mostly a little better made than the previous one. The goal is to work up to the skill level needed to finally sew the Yama Mountain Gear net-tent kit I purchased a few years ago from Gen Shimizu.

A project that has gotten a low priority for a few reasons; mostly when I go camping I prefer to sleep in a camping hammock, rather than on the ground, and secondly I didn’t know the first thing about sewing beyond hand sewing on a replacement button, and I’ve had little success persuading my wife to teach me the basics of sewing machine operation.

Additionally, I recently became interested in Sashiko, [ 刺し子とは ]. Or more correctly, interested in trying to convince my wife it might be something she would enjoy trying. No luck, again. I ended up giving it a go myself. A couple of early attempts at small sashiko projects. [ maybe a huge mistake, now I am being asked to hand stitch quilts my wife and mother-in-law are making, my defense is the two are much different techniques]

I decided if I could make hundreds of stitches, I also could tie hundreds of knots.

After some research to discover the proper knots to use with slick line, basically a modified double sheet bend knot, and after a few 8 row x 8 mesh net practice pieces to get the hang of it. I set out to try my hand at making a net gear hammock, in a small scale. Mostly following the process for making a “purse net”. A type of net used in the UK for catching rabbits. Not sure if they are used here or even legal to be used here. The procedure is to spread the net over the rabbit hole, pegged to the ground at one end. Then either wait of the rabbit to come out or send ferrets down the rabbit hole to chase them out, and get caught in the net.

My first two net projects:


First one, I added two meshes to each row to the widest point, carried on with the same number of meshes for a few rows, then subtracted 2 meshes from each row toward the opposite end. This made more of a belly to the net than I wanted. It does not lay or spread out as flat as I wanted.


Second try. I thought this one would finish about 60 inches in length, but it finished about 49 inches long. But it is a flatter net. Starting with 6 meshes, expanding by one mesh each row, up to 13 meshes per row, then 16 rows with 14 meshes per row, before again reducing by one mesh per row, back to 6 meshes at the last finish row.


Next project will be to make a net that is longer and wider. Maybe 60 ~ 72 inches long x 40 ~ 46 inches wide. And maybe made from a stronger line.

The twine I have used thus far is from a large spool I purchased at hardware store on the east coast a few years ago that caters to commercial fishermen. 85# test, twisted nylon, and very ornery stuff as it is very slick, difficult to get the knots to cinch up correctly. Which is what I wanted to use for first projects. I figured if I could get the hang of tying correctly with a difficult type of line, then later I would be more successful at tying a net with a type of line that would be easier to work with, and make fewer incorrect knots.

The two nets above had three or 4 knots that ended up being tied incorrectly, (knots that slid rather than locked into place, caused either by the knot ending up below the bottom of the loop, or in a place or two a lost of focus resulted in the lines just crossing, and not knotted at all), and I hope to improve on more consistent mesh length and tension.

If my net making curiosity isn’t satiated after completing those projects - maybe I’ll try making some other kind of net. The idea at present is just to make a type of light weight net gear hammock that could maybe be used above or beneath a camping hammock.

Anyway, the process has turned out to be rather relaxing easy rhythm, and can easily be done while watching some show in tv. If I could figure out how to tie a net and read at the same time, I’d be all set and good to go. :roll_eyes:

(Gressak) #2


Have you ever researched or tried to make a tamo net?

If you have info on it and can share it, I would be interested.


(Peder) #3

I’m curious about that too, though have not put any effort forth into learning about it yet.

About 6 months ago, one of the members in the forum here told me they were working on documenting their own project about how to make a tamo. I don’t know if it was ever finished our not. I haven’t heard anything since.

(Gressak) #4

@arieger Adam, didnt you make one a few years ago? Also, I think you harvested a branch on one of our outings here in CT. Did you ever make a net from it?

My personal interest in making the actual net is to make a really small tamo. Most tamo nets are large compared to wild brook trout. I would want to make a tiny net. The smallest tamo I own is 24cm. When I bought my tamos I also bought a replacement net. That sucker was 60 bucks not including shipping. Most tamo replacement nets are 30-60 dollars…pretty expensive for a replacement net…especially if you can build one custom to your own specs.

(David Walker) #5

No I have never made a tamo. A friend in Tenn. made one for me a few years ago. Meaning the tamo frame, the net he used was a purchased net.

The only research I have ever done about how to make a tamo (frame) was done mostly 9 years ago, after Daniel started promoting the idea on the TUSA forum, and no one knew where to start. I had a bit of a knack for how to find Japanese websites about how to make a tamo and posted the links on the TUSA forum. After people gained an idea about where to start, more information became available on English language forums, blogs, etc.

Adam Rieger and I exchanged some messages about a year ago about how to actually make a net for a tamo. I don’t recall the links I sent him, though the pm to him may still be stored.

Anyway, one of the last suggestions was to buy some of those net bags for food / vegetable / fruit storage, and make a net out of one or more of them cut and sewn to the proper shape if needed.

( I will check if the links I sent to arieger are still available)

Meanwhile I am still chugging along making a net gear hammock. My current work in progress, a yellow net. About half way finished, though the last few rows started going screwy on me, and I am thinking about cutting them off back to where the meshes were more consistent, and redoing those rows. Not sure why they went weird on me. Maybe my hand was just getting tired, and some of the knots slipped a little bit.


It should finish a bit over 5 feet in length stretched straight. The twine used is rated 165# tensile strength.

(David Walker) #6

Stephen, here ya go, some of the information I sent to Adam R, last April. :

These search phrases seemed to work well, the search results may be nearly the same, but using one of the other phrases may find a few different websites.

ランディング・ネットの・自作〜手編み編 [ landing net self made hand knitted]

ランディング・ネットを作る〜手編み編 [ landing net make/create hand knitted]

渓流釣ランディング・ネットを自作〜手編み編 [ Keiryu fishing landing net self-made hand knitted]

ランディング・ネットの・自作~手編み編み方 [ landing net home-made hand knitted how to]

手(te) means “hand” adding it to another word will generally indicate whatever it is, is done manually.
方 (kata or hou) basically means - way or how-to
作る(tsukuru) is create or build or make
手作り (tedzukuri) handmade
自作 (jisaku) is self-made or home brew, home-made
I didn’t use this 方法 (houhou, = hōhō) Often google will translate it as “law” but a better translation is “method”

Anyway, try the above search phrases and see if it finds what you’re looking for.

These first two websites are examples of how to make a net from a purchased mesh, instead of actually knitting the net yourself.

The hookandcook website has a lot of stuff about net making and making other things. Look at and click on the tags, such as : ネット(netto) or look for the DIY category.

Actually making your own net:

This blogger (in 2007) made a release net using a type of mesh fabric used to line jackets. He called it a 3 dimensional net, because he cut and sewed the fabric so it would have a flat bottom to the net.

In 2013 he made a new modified net from the same fabric, writing that since this fabric doesn’t stretch as much as a hand tied net, and therefore doesn’t hold the fish in the net as well as hand tied net, he modified the design - adding a pocket to it, which the fish would slide into and be held better in the net.

The pictures in the blog post will enlarge and open in a new tab if clicked. If you cannot read Japanese you can obtain a better translation copying and pasting individual paragraphs into a separate translation tab. Than you get with a whole page translation. But maybe you can read Japanese.

立体・リリース・ネット, 3 dimensional release net , Oct 20, 2007
[ click the images for larger view]

挑戦、ランディングネット(完成!), Challenge, landing net (completed) Oct 26, 2007

リリースネットの新デザイン , Release net new design, Feb 7, 2013

If you look at the below the post you will see a list of Tags (タグ :) for the post. I think there were 4 tags. If you click on release net (リリースネット) there are 11 post. There is also a tag for landing net, (ランディングネット) but I did not click open that list.

Akigawalife tag ランディングネットのリフレッシュ [ landing net refresh] 2018 Oct.

This next one is from a different blog, he writes about difficulties sewing similar type of mesh fabric.

お裁縫, Sewing Feb 11, 2012

The Japanese search phrases I used were:
リリースネットの手編みネットを自作 release net and hand knitted net self made
リリースネットを自作 release net own creation
自作リリースネット , homebrew release net

[google just translates 自作 (jisaku) differently depending on other words in the phrase, but two other similar words may also be useful : 作り(tsukuri, making) or 作り方 (tsukuri kata, how to make. 方 is also hou, hō]

You can find a lot of different types of mesh fabrics or fine nets on Amazon.
Some of the bird nets, nets used to cover fruit trees or pods to keep out birds might also be good for making a net. My brother uses something similar to keep birds out of his horse stalls and barn so they don’t get in an eat the horse’s feed. As I recall it was fairly soft, it’s not knotted, the fibers look like little chains or joined loops, with the net holes only about 5mm squares.

That’s it. Maybe more than you wanted or not what you were looking for. But when it comes to making a net, Japanese style, I think you have to seek out Japanese blogs on the topic. Hope it was of some help.

This gentleman makes it look easy to make consistent meshes

(Gressak) #7

@dwalker Thank you!!!

(David Walker) #8

You can also find some fun search results by forgetting phrases written in kanji and using instead search phrases mostly written in katakana or hiragana.

These seemed to work well: Give them a try to see if they find something of interest to you.
Big-brother google is always watching and remembering what you look at, your search results will be different from mine because we have different search histories.

ハンドメイドランディングネット編み方 = handmade landing net weaving how-to
ハンドメイドリリースネット方 = handmade release net how-to
ハンドメイド小リリースネット釣り用方 = handmade small release net for fishing how-to
[ ハンドメイド , handomeido , handmade ]

Release net.
Webpage has embedded translation into English.

BURAN release net colors - mostly it’s value is showing the type of net material they use. リリースネットカラー/

No special equipment required! Simple repair method for trout landing net [for sakura masu, for mountain stream, for fry]
Basically showing how-to attach string net to the frame.
[ Hmm, tsuri kahoku. 釣り・かほく, Fishing harvest, I guess.]

ランディングネット特集, Landing net special feature

手抄き網の工程と紹介, Hand making net process introduction – making a circular net
However, you can find several youtube videos in English that demonstrate how-to make a circular net.

Here is the same gentleman from the Buran shop, this time showing how to reduce the mesh count in a row, which will taper the net. Notice how he picks up two meshes for each new knot. Not just one mesh loop as is done when keeping the mesh count constant. However, I’m thinking he is not making a fishing net, but rather something decorative. Plus his knots are only a single sheet bend, ok for line that is not slick. Slick line requires a double sheet bend or the line knot will slip, and a doubled knot will still slip if not made tight enough, as I am learning first-hand.

Hand-knitted net (slow edition) Handmade shop BURAN

However, making a net sewn from some kind of factory made mesh, something similar to the netting shown on the craftkazu website linked to above, is probably the best way to go.

But if you’d like to give net tying a go - the freedomofabird YTC has a series of videos showing how to tie nets that are pretty good. From making the basic knot to how to add or subtract a mesh from a row, how to start and finish the beginning or last rows. For a purse net.
Netmaking 2- the basic knot in close up

(Adam Rieger) #9

I actually spoke with @dwalker to help me navigate some Japanese sites on how to make the net portion and he helped a lot as he is also doing in this thread. In the end, I decided it was not possible for me to make the type of net and hole spacing I wanted so I abandoned the idea. I did though with another suggestion from David decide to get some mesh fabric to sew a net. I went to JoAnne Fabrics and they have all different size holes of mesh in tons of colors. I just was sure to ask for a material that is ok getting wet or in “clothing terms” :slight_smile: machine washable. I have made a great tiny brookie tamo this way…shaped a piece of wood where the diameter is a little larger than my hand. It is sort of my son’s net :slight_smile:
Another option for smaller size nets is purchasing nets for aquarium purposes/butterflies, etc and then clipping out the mesh part for your homemade tamo.
Anyhow so far for me just doing the wood working aspect and then buying or sewing the mesh part.
If anyone needs instructions on how to attach the mesh to the wood let me know and I’ll dig them up to post.

(Gressak) #10

Lets see your brookie net.

(David Walker) #11

This blogger used a similar approach - purchasing a laundry net that was the closest fit to the size of the frame he had made.

From part 9
自作ランディングネット ヒートン取り付け・ネット染色 part9
Self-made landing net hīton attachment / net dyeing part 9
[note; hīton attachment / ヒートン取り付け, seems to mean the attachment of the lanyard swivel to the butt end of the frame handle.]

First of all I have to buy a laundry net in Daiso.
I selected the size that seems to be the best fit from there.
(Daisō is basically what we call a dollar store, a 100円ショップ (100 yen shop))

No worries, this blog has auto translation into English, sort of, digital translation is always a bit odd. Own net Part 9

[links to parts 1, 4, and 6 are at the bottom of the above webpage]

Or the next two links are list of blog post, with links to all 10 parts of the net making process, if they are of interest. Part 10 is the net attachment to the frame, but the translated comments are a bit confusing. And I am sure other attachment methods are equally effective. Part 1 ~ 7 parts 8 ~ 10

(Adam Rieger) #12

Here is a small tamo about 8 inch diameter. The mesh net I believe came from a toy butterfly net. This was for my son and green is his favorite color. The material is completely synthetic as far as I can tell…polyester or some kind of plastic so hopefully fish friendly.

(Peder) #13

Nice job @arieger.

(David Walker) #14

Initial test of the yellow net gear hammock I made. Fortunately my next door neighbor has 3 maple tress the perfect distance apart to string up hammocks. I thought I would not need to use a peripheral draw string, found out I did. I installed one quickly using a tarp ridge line from my backpack. Adding one makes it more stable, and easier to load.

It finished about 63 inches (160cm) in length stretched out straight. And about 40 inches (102cm) wide at mid length spread out loosely. Not exactly light weight at 4.8oz. (138g). It is tied with Wellington brand #18 twisted rhino-kote nylon twine, 170lb tensile strength. I have hundreds of feet of both yellow and green calcutta ultra braid line, 200 lb. test. That would make a lighter net hammock. But not sure I would like a net made from it. A net hammock made with two or more colors of twine would be kind of fun too.


Still in the learning phase of net tying. I’ve learned it is better to not pull to tightly when setting the knots, let then knot form first - then give them a couple of sharp forceful tugs to tighten them. Next one made, I think, needs to be a little longer, and therefore also finishing a little wider in the middle. Additionally I think it might be better to tie the first several rows with the same number of meshes before adding a mesh to each row going toward the middle before tapering back to the same number of meshes per row at the opposite end.