Traditional Thursday Tutorial: Kobra with a Twist


Recently we received an email from a reader asking us if we’d be willing to put together a tutorial for a Kobra pocket. After scanning the interwebs for a few hours I decided to dive into a twist (pun intended) on a Kobra. Below is my take on what it seems like people are calling a Kobra Lite pocket. The Kobra is essentially just three saddles put together. To me that is a waste of cross lace and it creates a wide pocket without much of a channel. SO, I went with something that I could use to explain how to string a Kobra, while stringing a head that I’d actually play with. The results are promising and so far I am actually really digging the way the pocket turned out. Read on to find out more.

2014-05-08 21.17.52

As with any traditional… you need leathers and sidewall. Once you have everything setup you are ready to dive in.

2014-05-08 21.29.41

I like to add a barrel to many of my traditional pockets. I think that given the saddle feature in the center of the pocket, keeping the top wide is important and the barrel will help with that.

2014-05-08 21.32.58

The top of the Kobra pocket starts with three twists. These three twists allow for space to add shooting strings AND they help reduce some weight. I used doubles for my knots to help keep my twists tight and in place.

2014-05-08 21.39.54

As I mentioned, for most Kobra pockets you will need 3 sets of twists. I twisted the crosslace three times for each twist before I knotted the crosslace to the leathers. On the last of my three twists I only used a single knot (see my finger) so that I could start the giant saddle.

2014-05-08 21.40.36

And then the saddle begins… A saddle is often used at the bottom of a variety of traditional pockets to give the ball a place to sit when you cradle one handed. The saddle is simply just a repetition of crossing one piece of cross lace over the other and knotting it off on the opposite side. It’s really important to remember to always keep the direction that you cross consistent.  What I mean is that if your left piece of cross lace crosses over your right piece of cross lace (like I did) you should do that throughout the pocket.

2014-05-08 21.43.45

Continue with the saddle until you get close to the end of your leathers when they are pulled tight to the bottom of the head.

2014-05-09 17.04.10

I like to use a pocket stretcher to adjust my leathers to the depth that I want my pocket. I like to string my pockets tight, so the stretcher keeps it from shrinking too much when I really tighten the crosslace.

2014-05-09 17.03.38

For style points I added a little red to the bottom of my middle saddle and then I used black for my middle crosslace sections.

2014-05-08 22.17.32

Add one piece of middle crosslace through both leathers on either side of the center saddle.

2014-05-09 17.23.39

Twist the crosslace once and knot it off on either side.

2014-05-09 17.24.53

Everyone does their knots differently, and I actually use two styles of knots on this pocket. I wanted the knots on the center of the stick to look the same, so I adjusted how I strung them. The outer two sections are strung with knots that I typically use in my pockets.

2014-05-09 17.27.37

Twist the crosslace three times and knot again.

2014-05-09 17.29.02

When you get to your third set of knots, you will begin interlocking the knots into the saddle. IF you wanted to string a standard Kobra pocket you would simply start your second and third saddle sections here making sure to interlock the center saddle to the outer two saddles as I have done with the knots in the image above.

2014-05-09 17.42.26

Continue this process through the end of the head. Now you are ready to add your final cross lace section.  This section is consistent with a standard Kobra, so if you strung up a standard Kobra you will still follow these steps.

2014-05-09 17.47.57

Insert the crosslace through the top hole on the sidewall and then interlock it with your top knot from your middle crosslace section.

2014-05-09 17.49.06

Interlock the crosslace back to the sidewall string.

2014-05-09 17.49.43

Add one twist to the crosslace before interlocking it to the next knot on your middle crosslace section.

2014-05-09 17.55.43

Repeat this process through the end of the head and…

2014-05-09 18.33.19


2014-05-09 18.33.01

2014-05-09 18.33.07

2014-05-09 18.33.14


For more awesome traditional stringing knowledge, check out the Traditional Archives for more original pockets, tutorials, and more!