Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Paracord Bracelet, by The B&A Stowaway

Today in the News:  The B&A Stowaway returns!  He's on a roll, people - watch out!  I found this article really useful.  I hope you do as well.  I haven't ventured much onto paracord, but I aim to as soon as work slows down.  Seems like you can get pretty creative with it. 

Bernard Ten Bears' Link of the Day:  - Hitchcock shoes...Massachusetts, great store if you have wide feet. I ordered a catalog online. Haven't bought anything yet but looks like a classy place.  It's hard to get wide boots/shoes.

The Paracord Bracelet, by The B&A Stowaway

I noticed the sweet post about the paracord hammock/belt, and Mike Oscar’s thoughts about it, so I thought I would make a smaller version for him and explain how it was done.  Paracord is named thusly because it is the cord that they tie the parachute to the soldier with. Pretty important stuff! It is also called ‘550 cord’ because it is tested to bear at least 550 lbs per inch. It is made out of the sheath and individual fibers inside. Each of the 7 inner fibers holds 50 lbs, leaving the outer covering to hold at least 200 lbs.

I choose to take the inner fibers out when I make the bracelet, making for more cord, but less strength. You can use this same manner to make a bracelet, belt, keychain, or headband with the core in, it will just be shorter. However, the inner fibers can be used for many things as well, such as fishing line, thread to stitch a wound closed, or anything smaller like that. As far as colors go, true paracord comes in black, brown, mint, and olive drab. Traditional paracord, or survival bracelets, have a BDU button to tie them closed. I tried this a few times until my pockets couldn’t be closed anymore, then bought some cute skulls and such at . They also have more colors in paracords.

My experience with the bracelets was seeing them when I was stationed in Qatar. On a slow day, I sat down with a friend who had them and asked how to make one. He obliged, so I made a few for my wife, nieces, and myself. They are really handy! I had one replace my broken watch band once, I’ve used the inner fibers to help string Christmas lights, and I’ve used the bracelet itself to… well, look like a bad@ss. But, coming from someone who drove a knocking Subaru from Bangor to Denver with a roll of duct tape beside me, better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. That isn’t a feat as great as driving a knocking Subaru from Denver to Rockland on your honeymoon with your mother with you, but that story is for Mike Oscar to share.

There are many ways to make these bracelets; this is just the way I did it. If you have a better way, good for you: if not, here you go. First, measure out two six-or-seven foot lengths of cord and pull out the inner fibers (or don’t, for a shorter but stronger bracelet).

Next, holding it between two fingers, measure out the inner part of the bracelet. This is the part that will actually go around your wrist: so for a length, wrap it around your wrist and add about three inches for the clasp. Next, above your fingers, make a loop with one cord. Arrange the lines so the shorter lines are in the middle, and the longer ones are on the outside. Do it so that it is wrapped around each other, because this is where your bracelet is going to start.

From here on out, I am going to go by the colors I have. When you make your own, simply designate one of them black, the other mint, and do likewise. I don’t care if it’s pink and purple - I’m French, and I demonstrate using my hands, so all this writing is difficult for me. Now that you have the two short strings in the middle and the two long ones on the outside, keep the top loop pinched tight. Now I’m over thinking it, and have to go get some pieces to figure it out again. OK, take the long mint, position it behind the two shorties but in front of the long black one (leaving a loop on the starting side).
Next, slide the long black (henceforth known as LB) OVER the shorties, and in through the Long Mint (LM)loop. Pull it snug.

Next, go the other way, but keep the pattern: LM goes back across, but behind the shorties, in front of ol’ LB. LB goes over the shorties, in the LM loop, and pull both longs tight. Do this a few more times. You will see that LM, or the one behind the shorties, is going to be the outer layer, and the inner layer will be the one through the loop. If you don’t like this arrangement, flip it over, notice the reversal of color arrangement, and press on. SKIN THAT GRIZZ AND I’LL SEND YA ANOTHER ONE! At this point, you need to add another tightening move. Slide something into the fastener loop at the very top to keep the size you will need to get your fastener through; in my case, my trusty Swiss Army Knife. Now, tug the shorties in opposite directions from each other, in opposite directions from LB and LM. Up to this point, you’ve been pulling the two long ones - one right and one left. Now pull one shorty toward the ceiling, one toward the floor, pushing the knots toward the fastener loop. Now every 2 or 3 crossovers, pull the shorties tight again.

At this point, press on until you can wrap the thick part nearly all the way around your wrist (figure the loop and fastener into the circumference). The sides should be uniform, they should stay a solid color looping over, and a solid color down the middle. If there isn’t, you mixed up a loop, go back and fix it. When you are finished, snug LB and LM tight and then cut them off ¼ inch after their last cross. Melt each end with a lighter, using the knife to press the hot melted end into the weave, so it cools into a solid piece.
Now, slide whatever you are using as a fastener down the shorty end, up to the end of the weave. You can use anything that will slide through the loop you left for a fastener. I’ve seen a hole drilled through a bullet, BDU/ABU button with the middle hollowed out, clip, anything that will fit and lock into the loop. Mike Oscar is getting a skull I ordered from the above website. If at all possible, get both cords through the middle. If not, leave the outer string in behind, so the loop will still catch. Slide it down, tie it off, and melt the end, so the knot won’t work itself out. Loop it around your wrist, slide the fastener through the loop, and you have two six-foot lengths of strong cord at hand. And you are fashionable to boot. Go team you!

Watch Out Where Those Huskies Go and Don't You Eat That Yellow Snow!

The B&A Stowaway

Thanks, B&A!

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike, Oscar, Hotel......out.

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