Thursday, August 23, 2007

Coiled lanyard

The rubber coiled key chain type lanyards have been around for years, but the first time I saw one with a paracord sheath over the rubber coil was probably last year.

I believe one of the guys at TAD Gear had made some and mentioned how much of a pain it was to work the paracord over the coil, so they're not offered for sale there, but lots of cool stuff to browse anyway if you check 'em out.

I bought a couple of cheap coil lanyards off the key chain rack at walmart last year and tried it myself, quickly giving up on it. It was taking forever to 'inchworm' the cord over the coil. The problem was that the coils I first bought didn't have a metal crimp with a hole in the end on the ends of the coil. I found some that did, at a grocery store for about $1.50 each.

 I used one of the 7 inner strands of the paracord to tie onto the hole of the crimp, and pulled the tied strand as I worked the cord over the other crimp and coil at the same time. Using about 4 feet of paracord, it still took awhile, but it finally worked for me this time. I removed one crimp and cut off some of the coil to shorten the lanyard.

After reattaching the crimp, I added small split rings to each end and a swivel clip to one end for attaching to a belt loop. At rest, the paracord covered coil measures about 6 inches long and can be stretched out to just over 3 feet.

On one of the forums, someone mentions stretching the coil straight and pulling the paracord over it made it easier, but I'm not sure how they did it, maybe someone can chime in on this. This one should work fine to attach to a flashlight, multi-tool, knife, key ring, etc.

If you want one and know you're not going to make one yourself, there are a couple of guys on one of the forums that were offering the hand made lanyards for sale in the buy/sell/trade section, or you might try googling for a 'coiled lanyard', or try one of these from berkeley point.

Another option might be to try using a wired home phone coiled cord or recycle a car cell phone coiled cord, using some duck decoy crimps on the ends.  I dunno if 550 paracord sheath would fit over those though, some more obscure larger diameter paracord might.  Then you'd have the copper wire inside the coil to strip out if needed for some potential zombie apocalypse survival usage, lol...


Alan said...


I found your blog from the Spyderco forum lanyard thread. You are the Daddy, no doubt about it.

Regarding coiled lanyard material, have you seen the coiled shoelaces sold in kid's shoe stores? They appear to be just like paracord but are already coiled. I bought a pair years ago at a Mall shoe store and tied one on my SAK. The other end is tied to an Eagle Industries duty belt keeper that fastens around the belt with a heavy snap and velcro. It has a grommet that is perfect for tying the cord too. I just wish I had a better way of securing the ends than a square knot. If you are interested I will send some pics.

Stormdrane said...

I have seen those before, but hadn't thought of them for use as a lanyard, neat idea.

Alan said...

On another topic, I have been looking at the 1 AA flashlights like the Jet C-LE, but am concerned about the switch twisting on in my pocket, particularly in the front pocket of jeans which is pretty tight.

Have you had any problems with the twisty switch in pocket carry?


Stormdrane said...

It takes a good firm twist to turn on my Jetbeam C-LE and I've never had it accidentally come on. The o-ring that came on it is a good one. I also have an Arc-P on my key chain and have never had a problem with it coming on either. I turn the heads about 1/2 a twist after the lights off.

double-edgedblade222 said...

dear stormdrane,

I just thought I would share a new braid knot I came up with tonight if you wouldn't mind taking a look at it for me and telling me what you think I'd really appreciate it

Here is a Link:

Stormdrane said...

I can't quite tell how it's braided, can you take another photo with a little more lighting? Curious to see what you've come up with.

It's Me... Maven said...

Very cool stuff! I knit and crochet, and want my dad to teach me some of his knots he learned in his navy days. Eventually I'll branch out to macrame. It's all great for expression, and even better if the stuff we make is useful, eh?

Great blog!

Martin said...

I believe it was some of your first lanyardss which I saw on Microholics (?) that got me into all of this.
But regarding an easy way to get the paracord around a twisty keychain...
You're going to need a couple of anchor points.
First pull all but one strand out of the paracord and tie one end of your twisty to it. Attach the other end of the twisty to something like a bedpost. You'll have something that looks like this:


Now, pull on the loose end of the inner strand (at other end of paracord) until the twisty is more or less straight. The outer braid will probably bunch up, that's fine, of course.


The rest should be obvious. Maintaining tension in the twisty/inner strand, simply work the outer braid down over the now almost-straight twisty.

Hope this helps someone as I kinda had to figure it out on my own.

Guy said...

A variation on Martin's post. I used to shroud all my dogtag chains in 550 cords sheaths, and here's how I did it fast. Take your cord and pull out about an inch of one inner cord. Take a lighter and melt the end until it forms a small ball of nylon. Using the balled up cord, tie it around whatever you want to pull through your cord, where the ball end makes a nice stop in the knot. Take the other end of the cord and pull all the inner cords through. It will pull the chain or other cord through the sheath no problem. Itried it with a cheap coil I got from WallyWorld as well. Worked like a charm.

LoopyLacer said...

Hi, Stormdrane:

I've been looking at your site for a few weeks. I have to say that this post was the one that inspired me to try it, as well as start my own blog about knot tying, as well as tatting. Please have a look:


Anonymous said...

I tried the coiled keychain thing...a disaster. Instead I used the weed wacker method - gut the paracord and slide it over a heavier diameter nylon line trimmer cord. Neatly wrap it around a 3/8" dowel (you will have to tape both ends). Drop it in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Let dry overnight and take it off the dowel. Trim the ends, mushroom with a lighter, and crimp on a wire connector. For a really neat finish, slide on about 1" of heat shrink tubing before you install the wire connectors. Then slide the heat shrink over the crimped wire connector and heat the tube. It will securely hold the end of the paracord to the metal connectors.

SmartAceW0LF said...

Big fan here Stromdrane. I have gotten untold numbers of inspirations from your efforts! Thanks. Upon seeing this blog entry regarding coiled keychains and such, I thought I would mention a method I had run across sometime back here on the Interwebs. Unfortunately, I can not recall the author of it, but I am pretty sure I ran across it on the Instructables site.

It involves finding regular old weedeater line, threading it through the paracord, then wrapiing it around a dowel of the size you wish the coild to be and then boiling it. Let it cool and dry and you have a paracord wrapped coil for your lanyard.

Stormdrane said...

@SmartAceW0LF, There was a tutorial for making your own coiled lanyards from weedeater/trimmer line years ago on an online boating forum, but the link went bad years ago, which seems to happen too often online.

I've seen similar tutorials for the boiling method mentioned on other forums too, but when they update software it seems to screw up the old links and it's hard to find them again.

I've not tried the boiling method myself, so I don't know how well the line holds its coil shape over time compared with the store bought keyring coils.

My dad used one I made for him for several years with a cell phone, before the spring in a swivel clip broke on it, and I just swapped the old clip out for a replacement when that happened.

The paracord eventually just gets dirty and worn from handling over time, like paracord bracelets/lanyards/key fobs and it's sometimes easier to make a new one than try cleaning the old...