This is a project I originally posted on my blog woodshopmike.com. Stop by sometime and check out my other projects & tool reviews. Now, on to the tutorial!
It seems that I'm constantly making handles for new turning tools and deciding which approach I want to use. Being one that likes to try out new ideas, I decided to try out wrapping a handle with 550 paracord.
For those of you that don't know what 550 paracord is, it's a cord used by the military for all sorts of applications. It will hold 550 pounds, can be unbundled into 7 strands to then be used for various tasks, and is rather resistant to abrasion. Folks use it for tactical applications, crafts, and handle wrapping, of course ;) See how I worked that in there?
I sourced my 550 paracord for this project from boredparacord.com. They're a veteran owned company that supplies US made cord with free shipping and great prices. It cost about $5 for the material and I have enough left over to wrap another handle.
Ok, ok...enough intro. I used a technique very similar to tying the Albright knot on this handle, so you folks that know your way around a tackle box won't have any trouble at all.
Step 1: Materials
First, grab your cord, handle, a couple rubber bands, pliers, a knife, and a lighter. As a side note, if your pants are on those last two items should be in your pocket...No, I don't smoke, but ya never know when something needs to be set ablaze :)
Step 2: Lay Down Cord Along Pipe
Start out with a length a bit more than twice as long as your handle. Fold this in half and lay it on the handle as shown. Where the cord folds over on itself will be needed later, so make sure there's enough room to pass a strand of cord through once you've wrapped the length of your handle. I won't be wrapping the full length of this handle, but if I was, the loop would extend past the end of this handle. You want at least 2 inches of the tag end at the end of your handle. I laid the cord down on the bottom side because there will be a slight ridge made as the handle is wrapped. The rubber bands are handy to keep the cord out of the way as wrapping progresses.
Step 3: Start Wrapping
The process is pretty simple at this point... Wrap the cord around the handle. Keep the wraps uniformly taught and snugged up against the previous wrap.
Step 4: Oh, No How Do I Get Past the Rubber Band!?
Once you get to the rubber band, just scooch it out of the way.
Step 5: Pass Through the Loop
Once you've gone as far as you want, cut the cord an inch or so long and pass it through the loop formed earlier.
Step 6: Clean Up
Now grab the tag end at the bottom of the handle (right side) and pull. You may need some pliers or vise grips at this point to help. You want to pull the loop (along with the cord tucked through it) under the wraps.
Next, just trim and melt the frayed end of cord.
Cut off the tag end and the other end of the handle. You can cut this as short as you want, or even in between the last few wraps so that the tag end isn't even seen.
Step 7: Finished Product!
Here we are with the handle all wrapped up. Sorry, bad pun I know :)
If the wrap isn't tight enough and twists in your hand, you can pour boiling water over the handle. This will shrink up the cord and get it very tight.
Conclusion I think this is going to be my new handle covering for the pipe handles I make. It's substantially easier that sliding utility hose over an 18" pipe and of course, if I need some 550 paracord in a pinch...
For this project, I started with an 18" pipe nipple of appropriate size to fit the tool and followed the procedure outlined in my Making a Handle From Pipe tutorial.
If you'd like to make a traditional wooden handle, check out Making a Wooden Tool Handle!
Questions? Feel free to leave 'em below or send me an e-mail and I'll clear things up. Thanks for reading!