Introduction: Badass Bird Cage Lanyard Bead
In the "everyday carry" (EDC) sub-culture, lanyards are a hot ticket item. Simply put, a lanyard is a leash of sorts. You attach one end to something that resides in your pocket, like a folding knife, flashlight, or key chain. When you need the item, instead of having to shove your hand all the way into your pocket, you just grab the lanyard and fish it out. The immediate problem is that lanyards, like the anchor they're attached to, are affected by gravity and tend to wind up in the bottom of your pocket, prompting the aforementioned fist dive. The simple and elegant solution is to attach a counter-balance at the other end of your lanyard. These are often called "lanyard beads." They are weighted beads, often of copper or brass, that are left outside your pocket. The bead pulls the lanyard in one direction while the tool (which always wins, because it is heavier) pulls the lanyard in the other. The end result is that one end of your lanyard always sticks out the top of your pocket. This way, you don't have to grope yourself like a registered sex offender every time you need to pull your car keys out.
As lanyard beads grow in popularity, so do their prices. It is not unusual to see them going for around $100 apiece. Frankly, I'd be embarrassed to walk around with a $100 bead dangling from my britches. I mean, how elitist is that? More importantly, I don't have a hundred bucks to drop on a "custom" copper bead. Also, I like to stand out from the crowd a bit. I started toying with ideas for homemade lanyard beads that whisper "badass" without breaking the bank. Here's my solution. It's a paracord lanyard with an AR-15 flash suppressor -- colloquially referred to as a "bird cage" -- for a lanyard bead. (A) It'll cost you pretty much nothing. (B) It's doubtful that you and some other bloke will show up at the same dinner party with the same thing. (C) You can hit people in the head with it. (D) It's a great conversation piece with the ladies.
You're going to need the following:
- A tool or something that needs a lanyard. I used my awesome CRKT Tighe Rade knife. I love the knife, but the pocket clip kept coming off. The guys at CRKT, awesome as always, sent me a replacement when I finally lost the screws, but this one also came off. Don't tell me I need to use Loctite, because I did! I'm not a child! Yes, the red Loctite, so zip it! Anyway, now you understand why I need a lanyard.
- A flash suppressor. Or "flash hider" if you like. Or muzzle brake. Whatever. I would recommend a .223 or larger, just because you'll have to fit two strands of paracord through it. I used a stock AR flash suppressor because I happened to have one laying around (who doesn't?)
- Some paracord. It comes in different colors, so don't feel obligated to use the same lame pattern as me. I don't know how much you need. I'd say around 28.52 inches should be plenty. Better safe than sorry, I say.
Step 1: Tie Lanyard Knot
First run your paracord through the hole in your tool.
Pull the paracord through until there are equal amounts on both sides.
Now if you're in a hurry, not very smart, or just lazy, you can tie a parallel overhand knot and move on to the next step. Personally, I think a "lanyard knot" (aka "stopper knot," aka "false Turk's head") is better. It's symmetrical and has a classy look to it.
I've included a series of numbered, step-by-step photos that might help you. I really can't talk you through them, or at least I don't want to, and if I tried, it would just confuse us both. I learned the technique from Weavers of Eternity via a YouTube tutorial. In my photos, I shaded half of my paracord blue and half of it red, in hopes that it would make the process easier to understand. Definitely watch the video.
Step 2: Threading the "Bead"
Make sure the flash suppressor is facing away from your lanyard knot. Now you're going to take both paracord ends and feed them through the suppressor's bore.
Step 3: Secure the "Bead"
Tie a parallel figure-8 knot in the paracord, opposite of your lanyard knot. Does that make sense? The flash suppressor will be trapped between the lanyard knot and the figure-8 knot.
Exactly where you put the figure-8 knot depends on how long you want your lanyard to be. Take into consideration things like:
- How deep are my pockets?
- How big is my tool?
- Do I want my tool standing up in my pocket all the time, or laying down?
- Do I want my bead just poking up above my pocket or swinging all over the place?
Once your figure-8 knot is positioned correctly, tighten it. Now cut off the excess paracord. Melt the ends to prevent fraying. Also melt the knot just a bit, to keep it from untying. The last thing you want is to give your tool a jerk and have it just lie there, motionless.
Now tug the flash suppressor toward the figure-8 knot. The bird cage portion will cover the knot, giving it a finished look.
Step 4: Enjoy Yourself and Service Others
Well, that about wraps it up. Now your tool is right where you want it. Any time you feel like, you can give it a quick tug and it'll be at your service. Say goodbye to the embarrassment of pocket-fisting while everyone stands around waiting for you to get your tool out.
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