Sunday, April 13, 2014

Paracord & Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls..

Schmuckatelli Co. sent me a few samples of their newest, yet unnamed skull beads, along with a note, "The bead is based on "island" art sugar skulls that are also commonly seen in Day of the Dead celebrations and we will be releasing it very soon.". They have some nice detail work to them, and look good in both the pewter and the black oxide finishes.

I was recently asked about doing some thick sized paracord wallet chains, and I suggested that they give spool knitting a try to create something like they were looking for.

I tied one using just two of the three nails/pegs for a square shaped lanyard, using camo green paracord that I had on hand, adding in the two black oxide skulls, one at each end, tying lanyard knot and loops at both ends, adding a black snap hook on one end, and leaving the other loop end for running a belt through it, or as shown attached to a biker/trucker wallet through the lanyard/chain hollow rivet.

I started with about 20 feet of paracord, and trimmed off a little over a foot of excess, and the finished wallet lanyard is about 30 inches long. I'm a big fella, so I like having the longer length to cover the real estate between my belt and pockets, you can certainly make them shorter or longer to fit your needs. ;)

I used the same spool I'd made with nails/PVC section(1.25" diameter)/epoxy/electrical tape, working the cord with a clay stylus, and shared an example photo of a three peg spool knitted neck lanyard to give folks an idea of how large that can actually get.

I also tied a couple of pocket knife lanyard/fobs with the pewter sugar skull beads, one with un-gutted black paracord shown attached to a Kershaw Nerve, and the other with gutted black and camo green paracord, with the added 1.4mm cord Gaucho knot, attached to my Spyderco Salt I.

The black lanyard was tied with a series of two-strand stopper knots(ABoK #778), each tightened and worked up close to the previous one.  The black/green one was tied starting with a square crown sinnet, added a wall knot, then did a bit of round crown sinnet, another wall knot, and more square crown knotting to finish.  I went back and added the Gaucho knot over the center round section.

I made a wrist lanyard with the last skull bead, using some zombie virus pattern paracord.  With camo and multi-colored versions of paracord, it can make it hard to see any decorative type pattern of the knots(, so I usually either combine it with solid colors, or just use a simpler knot like the extended Matthew Walker knot.  I took a few example photos of using it as a flashlight lanyard, a camera wrist strap, and EDC key chain lanyard.

And I've had some navy blue 1/16" Type I dummy/accessory cord that I'd bought over a year ago gathering dust, so I made a neck/ID badge lanyard using some of it, with one of the skull beads. 

Here's the link to the Schmuckatelli Co. Facebook page.

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Sunday in Georgia...

Had a visit yesterday from JD Lenzen of Tying It All Together and his lovely wife Kristen.  Good conversation was had on all kinds of topics, not just knots and paracord.  Should you chance to meet them, I think you'd find them intelligent, sharing, good people.

We exchanged a few ties, the ones I received shown in the photo, a couple of which JD recently shared on his YouTube channel, including the Icelandic Endless Falls (Paracord) Bracelet, the Para-Aramid Bar  (Paracord) Bracelet, and the Bolt Basket from Paracord Fusion Ties - Volume 2.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Recent projects...

As far as knot projects over the last few weeks, I've just done a few with items received in care packages from both Schmuckatelli Co. and County Comm.

Using spool knitting, I made a wallet lanyard with my favorite Kiko beads. It was a snug fit for the beads with 1.4mm cord worked on a three peg spool.  Loops/lanyard knots tied at each end for attachment points.  Spanish ring knots were added on each side of the beads to further secure them in place along the length of the lanyard, examples tied with 0.9mm cord.

I tied a spool knit bracelet with a Premium Black Titanium Ona Bead, and a pair of Gaucho knots.

I made a long 4 bight Turk's head knot with 0.9mm cord around the stainless steel pocket clip on the limited edition Brass Embassy Pen that County Comm sent me, which arrived inside a tube vault/baby soda bottle.  I also received a nice new international orange Weather Warrior Beenie.  I've worn a black one during the last couple of fall/winters.  

I haven't decided yet what I'll store in the tube vault, maybe a mini survival kit, or a couple of ounces of high octane tasty beverage.  I may coil some spare tether cord around the outside or perhaps add something more decorative with paracord...

Followers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, and Google+ may have already seen these photos, as I sometimes post elsewhere first and don't always do a blog post...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to tie an extended two-strand Matthew Walker knot...

Cyber Skull beads used with a few shown example paracord lanyard, fob, and zipper pull projects, were courtesy of Schmuckatelli Co. The Copper Alox Lumberjack is from SwissBianco, and the Maratac AAA LED Flashlight came from County Comm, all of those I received last year.
I uploaded a short video to YouTube for tying an extended two-strand Matthew Walker knot, knot #777 in 'The Ashley Book of Knots', and is also diagramed in 'The Book of Decorative Knots' by Peter Owen. 

For EDC(everyday carry) items like knives, multitools, flashlights, keychains, and other gadgets, gizmos, and gear, I usually just add a few extra turns when lengthening the knot, as any more than that makes it a bit difficult to tighten up properly, but you can still do it with some patience to get the coiled look just right...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pineapple knot paracord boot knife handle wrap...

I wrapped the handle of this boot knife with green and glow-in-the-dark paracord, tied into a pineapple knot.

To start, I cut and gutted(removed the inner strands) two lengths of cord, about 7 feet of the green and 6 of the glow.  First tying a long 4 bight Turk's head knot with the green, then worked in the pineapple interweave with the glow cord, and went back and tightened it all up, trimming and tucking the ends to finish.

I managed to finish this project only cutting myself once, lol.  I kept the blade inside the sheath most of the time I was tying and tightening, but removed it each time I was working at the blade end, with the sheath retention strap being in the way.

I was tightening up the work when I pulled a bit too hard, and got a nice little 1/4" angled slice into the first joint of my right middle finger, knuckle side.  I'll try to remember to tape over the blade at the start next time, for safety...

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Glow-in-the-dark paracord

Glow-in-the-dark paracord has been available for a few years now, but I hadn't bought any to try out until recently.  I purchased a 50 foot hank of the white glow paracord, that's also available in light shades of blue, pink, green, and yellow.

I tied a round crown sinnet neck/ID/badge type lanyard using about three feet of the glow paracord and six feet of camo or ranger green(so many colors now it's hard to keep track when working with unlabeled remnants), leaving inner strands intact, adding a swivel snap hook, safety break-away clasp, a three pass Gaucho knot sliding bead done with 1.4mm cord, another Gaucho on the snap hook with 0.9mm cord, and a couple of tiny Spanish ring knots over the sewn sections on each side of the safety clasp, using a bit of strategic super/krazy glue application on the Gauchos and ring knots.

Most of the glow paracord sellers appear to be using the same stock photos, so they all probably source the cord from the same manufacturer overseas.  The only U.S. made paracord that offers any 'glow', is the stuff with a glow tracer thread run in with the outer sheath, and the few examples I've bought of those have been very weak in the glow department.

I compared the glow paracord with the CoolGlowStuff glow rope that I've used in the past, and the glow was similar in initial brightness, quickly dimming, but still visible with dark adjusted eyes several hours later.  So for a key fob or lanyard attached to some EDC gadget/gear you might want to easily find on a nightstand in the middle of the night, it performs adequately.

The cord I bought has 9 twister nylon core strands, and I've seen some of the sellers mention the outer sheath is polyester.  I do not know if it shrinks up or not, but that's something you may want to check if you make size oriented items like paracord bracelets or pet collars with it.

The hank I received looks to be a bit lumpy in some sections, even visible in some sellers stock pics, which is okay if you're going to gut the cord, but annoying if you leave it intact.  From experience, I've seen that with several different manufacturers of commercial paracord, made in the U.S.A., so it is not isolated to any one maker/distributor.  Distributors with good customer service should take it back without a problem.  I'd think they'd try to avoid sending cord out like that, but it still happens...

And a paracord key fob/zipper pull square crown sinnet with wall knot, tied with glow paracord and maroon paracord, shown attached with split ring to a Maxpedition Cocoon pouch.

The CoolGlowStuff website has been down a while now, so the source for their decent glow cord/rope is probably no longer producing it.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Spanish ring knots on rings...

For a few recent projects I bought some stainless steel grooved rings, that I found on ebay, and added some knot work to them.

I tied Spanish ring knots on the grooved spinner and classic grooved rings, and added a Gaucho knot to the chunky one.

The grooved sections help keep the knot work from sliding off the rings.

I used 0.9mm cord, black and orange that I had, and used a blue Sharpie marker to color a couple of feet worth of white cord.  A coat of brushed on super/krazy glue was added to the Spanish ring knots, none on the Gaucho knot.

The photo of the rings without the knot work shows a cigar band(flat) ring at center, that I received initially in error, but the seller later sent the correct grooved ring.

I haven't added anything to the flat ring yet, and if I do, I imagine a bit of super/krazy glue would help secure knot work in place.

I gave the blue and orange one to my dad for an early birthday present(Dec. 24).  Go Auburn! War Eagle!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Skulls, spikes, and crosses...

I received the new Collossus Skull from County Comm a few weeks back, and it's a nice hefty chunk of stainless steel compared to the smaller lanyard sized beads I've been using over the years.  It's been serving as a cool paperweight while I've pondered on possible knot work projects with it.

I've been looking for a gentleman's type cane/walking stick, where I might be able to drill/tap the skull where there's a spot for it on the underside, and add a long lag screw/bolt to secure it to the cane, but haven't found what I'm looking for yet.  If you have the right kind of vehicle, the skull would make a neat manual shifter knob too.

One of the photos shows the Collossus with some of the other skulls from County Comm, the Goliath, Titan, and Yorick, a couple with glow-in-th-dark powder and epoxy mix that I added to the eye sockets.

I decided to try using paracord run through the skull's jaw holes and secure it to the top of a walking staff with knot work, giving a Gaucho knot a try, and although that does work, I'd still like the added security of screwing it down into the wood, PVC, or other possible walking stick/staff/cane material...

Knot tying friend Shane Marks sent me a couple of his Rhino Ropework marlinspikes, one of each in brass and steel to try out.  I've been giving both a workout tying a couple dozen Sailor's Cross Knots over the last couple of weeks.

I added knot work to both marlinspikes with 1.4mm cord, tying a few Turk's head knot variations of Gauchos and pineapple knots.

I like that they have lanyard holes at the top end, so adding a loop of cord lets me run a finger through for retention, so that I don't have to set the spike down while working with it.  They also have grooves that allow adding rubber o-rings, which also offers a little extra grip.

I put the crosses on key rings, some with small LED lights and others with some P-38 and P-51 can openers on them, and gave them to my dad to distribute to some of the volunteers at the church food pantry and homeless ministry.

Happy Thanksgiving!