Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pineapples Akimbo...

To make a closed loop edc paracord wrist lanyard for my Victorinox Tinker SAK and Maratac AAA LED flashlight, I tied an Arms Akimbo lanyard knot, from 'The Directory of Knots', by John Shaw, a knot that is usually tied along a single strand length of cord.

I brought the end strands of a 32" length of paracord together and treated the two end strands as one, taking care to keep them aligned through the twists and turns of the knot so that they didn't get overlapped and out of sorts when tightening it up.

I also tied a 10 part 8 bight 2 pass type 2 pineapple knot with some 1.4mm cord, tightened up around an old improvised oversized lacing needle made from metal chopsticks.  This was done so that the finished knot would be large enough to pull a loop of ungutted paracord through.  You could also use a drinking straw or Bic pen body as a mandrel to tie the knot around.

Then I gave the knot a couple of brushed on coats of Krazy Glue, first around the outside of the knot and after that coat dried, I removed the knot from the lacing needle and applied another coat of glue around the inside of the knot to make a sliding lanyard bead of it.

This pineapple knot is shown in Tom Hall's book, 'Introduction to Turk's Head Knots'.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Luggage upgrades...


Almost ten years ago, I'd added a paracord handle wrap to a piece of Ma's luggage, using neon colored cord and knot work to help make it stand out from all the other similar looking bags at the airport/cruise ship/hotel lobby and reduce the chance of someone mistakenly walking off with the wrong bag.

I finally got around to removing the dozen metal zipper pulls (almost 2 ounces worth in weight) and replacing them with some 1.4mm cord (doubled Solomon bar/Portuguese sinnet/king cobra stitch) versions.  Seven done in orange on the outside, that were tied directly to the zippers, and five more in black with loops long enough to ring/cow hitch to the inside zipper attachments.

I also tied a long 4 bight Turk's head knot (21 lead 4 bight, doubled) with neon orange paracord to the side handle (using around 15 or so feet), which previously had a bright yellow duct tape handle wrap on it.

The neon yellow 3 bight Turk's head knot is still on the top handle, and aside from a little bit of surface dirt from handling, it still looks good enough to leave alone.

I thought the orange zipper pulls looked a bit pale after tying, so I went back over them with an orange Sharpie marker, but now they look too dark to me, almost red in color.  Ma said they looked fine to her, so I'll just leave 'em be, unless I get bored and my hands stop bothering me/cramping up long enough to try something else...




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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

A few bowline knots...

Just a few bowline (pronounced 'boh-linn') knots, a knot with a fixed loop at the end of a strand of cord/rope.  Here I've shown some loosely tied with paracord, and then tightened/applied.

There are a number of other variations (something like 55 different ones going by 120 different names) of the bowline that can be tied.  These few examples I tied here are diagrammed in 'The Directory of Knots' book by John Shaw.

Each bowline can be further secured with a couple of half hitches or a double overhand knot tied around one side of the loop, as shown in one of my photos...




And pictured is an example of how I might use a bowline knot/variation with paracord for edc (everyday carry) with a knife, flashlight, keychain, multitool or whatnot.  I made a simple single strand paracord lanyard with a water bowline at one end and at the other end tied a fisherman's bend onto a small carabiner.

Alternatively you could make the bowline loop larger and run your belt through it or ring hitch it around a belt loop, or add a gate clip, carabiner, snap hook, switching up attachment options....



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Sunday, July 01, 2018

A more secure sheepshank knot...

The sheepshank knot is used to shorten a length of cord that is too long for your needs, where you don't want to cut the cord to size, so you can still retain the longer section for later use.  The basic sheepshank needs to be kept under tension otherwise it comes apart.

This paracord example is a more secure modification that has the working strands tucked through the loop ends of the sheepshank, then the knots are tightened, as you make sure the three cords between the knots are equal in length to share the load you'll be putting on them.

Good diagrams for the sheepshank knot can be found in 'The Directory of Knots' by John Shaw, and ABoK (The Ashley Book of Knots) also has a few variations.
An example use would be to shorten up a tent guyline or tarp tie down, so that any excess cord wouldn't be hanging down on the ground or in the mud, or otherwise in the way.  A fisherman's bend (also called an anchor hitch) is used where the paracord is attached to the tarp grommet.


This sheepshank was a knot I learned in the Boy Scouts (the basic version), but not one often used.  The above demonstration link to the Animated Knots by Grog website mentions alternative possibly more secure knots to use.  I have used the modified sheepshank knot to shorten a long extension headphone cable for my desktop computer, but just coiling it and adding a rubber band would have been easier and faster, lol...

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Finishing Paracord Ends...



I'm often asked how I sometimes finish paracord lanyard/fob ends on various projects, especially the ones with the crimped ends, and I've replied over the years to many emails, messages, forum threads and comments with a brief explanation, but until now had not shown the process in a video tutorial or demonstration.

It comes down to pulling out the paracord's inner strands a little bit, trimming them off with scissors or a knife, pulling the outer sheath back down over the inner strands, using a lighter to slightly melt the cord end, flatten it out, carefully if done with your fingers so as to not get burned by the hot melted cord, alternatively laying it on a flat surface and flatten with the side of the lighter.

Then melt the end again and crimp with needle nose pliers or hemostats, so the toothy grip leaves a neat finish to your project.  If the paracord end flattens and spreads out too much when you crimp it, you can trim/shape it with your scissors and re-crimp if necessary.
  
I try to use only enough heat from the lighter so that the paracord is barely melting, because too much and the cord will blacken as it burns, which isn't so noticeable when finished on dark colors of paracord, but will show with lighter colors.

Link for knot example shown in video thumbnail photo.

For something like short hanks/bundles/lengths of paracord used as guylines for a tent, I would not crimp the ends like this, but melt and flatten both the outer sheath and inner strands as shown in the video.  This is because with repeated use and stretching of the paracord guylines, over time the inner strands could move/migrate away from the crimped ends, bunching up along the length of the cord, leaving the cord only as strong as the outer sheath section.  Whereas with the inner strands anchored to the outer sheath where they are melted together, the inner strands stay put and the cord retains its strength.

The knot work just above the end strands will keep the inner strands in place, so I've not found inner strand movement to be an issue with lanyards and fobs, and if you've gutted the paracord before hand, then it doesn't matter at all...