Saturday, May 03, 2014

Take this job and shovel it...

When I was driving a truck, my dad gave me a severe weather road kit to keep in in my tractor trailer, and it came with a little yellow painted folding shovel.  It's just been tucked away in the garage the last ten years and I haven't had occasion to put it to use.

I dug it out of a storage tote and figured on adding some knot work to it.  I used some blue and yellow paracord to tie a pineapple knot around the center section of the shovel's handle, and it's tied where it doesn't interfere with the twist lock or folding of the tool.  I tied a long 4 bight Turk's head knot first, using the blue paracord, then added in the pineapple knot interweave with the yellow, tightened it up and trimmed/tucked the end strands.  Although there's room for a knot on the handle end, I didn't add one because my fingers barely fit in the grip end as it is.  For someone with smaller hands, it wouldn't be an issue.

I had a similar Army surplus version years ago when in the Boy Scouts, that did get used for chores around camp, digging a fire pit, latrine, and for quietly dispatching any zombies we might come across during snipe hunts. Okay, no zombies, but the little shovels can come in handy, and are compact and lightweight for storing in a vehicle compared to a full size shovel or spade.  For someone hiking or backpacking a smaller trowel would be more efficient, but it would probably take forever to help a friend bury a body with one... :P

There are many different compact shovels/spades available, but do your homework and research if shopping for one, as some are okay, and others end up being utter junk that might as well be used as a boat anchor.

There's a YouTube video that came out a few years ago for a Chinese military shovelIt's entertaining, and there's probably a few uses demonstrated that most folks have probably never thought a shovel could be used for.

A Facebook friend, Bart of ExtremePara, sent me a few paracord lacing needles to try out, and I gave each of them a turn when tying the pineapple knot, all worked well and the threaded ends held the cord tight.

Three of them had the round pointed ends, no snagging of the cord, working much like the smaller sized Perma-Lok lacing needles I use most often with paracord and smaller diameter stuff, but I actually like the one with the flat screwdriver tip shaped end as the best of the lot.

And a neon green paracord Gaucho knot shown tied on my Fiskars Trowel, which is kept stored in a bug-out-bag next to the emergency toilet paper.


Keith Baxter said...

As usual very nice work,I am finishing up some walking sticks and am trying to find a good video on how to determine and tie a turks head knot to cover the space where the handle is going to be. I've seen the paracordists video and your turks head videos but they dont show and address the problem of what kind of turks head,bight and length and then show the whole process.I have learned and utilized your videos alot and appreciate the time you put in showing us beginners. ..can you help with this problem? As always Thank you very much for your help and advice. .

Stormdrane said...

@Keith, I really just guess at what I think I'll need based on experience from previous projects, then add in more to be on the safe side. It can be awkward working with more cord than I need, but leftover strands get used for other projects and don't go to waste. YMMV

I'm sure there's a way to figure it out mathematically, and someone with a better handle on numbers has probably done it already. There are some folks that are into just that type of subject and you may find them in the forums.

Unless you're tying the same knot everytime, use the same tension, with the same cord, over the same type object, you'll get different results with each project.

There was a Turk's head calculator that may have had something on cordage amounts in it, on the old server, but I don't know if it's on the new site. Google brought up this version.

Keith Baxter said...

Thanks I'll give it a try.

jimmyd said...

Stormdrane, I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to answer my question I had previously. I recently have gotten into paracord and knot work. Your blog has been vital, and very inspiring. I find myself looking for hours at past blog posts. The stuff you do is awesome. I hope I can eventually make stuff half as cool as you do. Anyway thank you again for answering my question, and making and posting examples of very cool stuff.

Tigermask said...

Wonderful work David. I wish you and your family all the best.