Instructables
Picture of Cutting cord without a knife
This instructable will show you a way to cut parachute cord (550 cord) with no tools other than the cord itself.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
For this instructable you will need:
-Parachute Cord, also known as 550 cord because it is rated to 550 lbs. Usually sold in 100 foot and 1,000 foot lengths This is available at outfitting stores or online. I usually shop here http://www.brigadeqm.com/cgi-bin/tame.exe/store/level4c.tam?M5COPY.ctx=29433&M5.ctx=29433. The cord is very useful and should be included in any survival kit.
- A sturdy place to secure the cord. A couple of friends holding the rope is great! lacking that tie to a couple posts/tree/etc.
-Elbow grease, provide your own or use your social engineering skills to convince someone else to try it.

Step 2: Setup

1.Attach the cord to one or two points leaving plenty of slack between them. The more slack the better.
2.run another length of cord (which can be part of the cord leftover past the points if the cord is long enough) so that it lays over the cord that is hanging.
3. take the second length of cord into each hand with plenty of slack.

Step 3: Cutting the 550 cord

Get a good grip on the second length of cord. By running the one cord over a single point on the first cord, the friction will melt the nylon and split it into two pieces. It helps to have more slack on the cord you are cutting so that you are only pulling on one point. This can also be done by wrapping the cord around your foot and stepping down if there aren't any anchor points available. I first learned this trick as a challenge. I was handed a piece and told to split it into two pieces without any metal object or a lighter. Challenge your friends, use it as a team building exercise, or use it the next time your stuck in the middle of nowhere and you have to cut a piece of cord.
 
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jlyvers7432 years ago
Smart and adaptive,Thank you for posting.
skimmo2 years ago
you can also melt through it with a lighter?
itsablast3 years ago
Drop or lay out a length of cord on the floor. Turn your back on your dog for 30 seconds. Shazam! You now have 2-4 pieces where before you had only one. I'm not making any more para leashes....
Cheeseduck4 years ago
You can also use this trick with shoelaces to cut through rope or tape, a handy way to get out if some of your army buddies tie/tape you up.
LOL.. If you can remove your shoelaces and do this process... what' needs to be cut through? LOL
You can sometimes take your shoe off and get it into your hands, even with them tied behind your back.
reddevved3 years ago
"I was handed a piece and told to split it into two pieces without any metal object or a lighter."
Good thing I have a plastic bladed knife.
If I didn't have that I would of used a rock.
slick80863 years ago
A good reason to have paracord shoe strings. If you ever find your wrists bound with zipties undo several holes of your shoe string, enough to provide 2.5-3 feet of cord. Loop the end around the ziptie once then hold it tight in your teeth. Move your wrists up and down the paracord a few times and the ziptie will melt like butter.
jrh0654 years ago
 This trick totally works to cut pvc pipe as well, although I would suggest nylon twine since it's thinner. That way you won't have to remove so much material. It's also a bit tricky to keep the string in one spot at the start. Picked that trick up from busting water lines and conduits in fence post holes. it's the easiest way to trim the pipe up without digging the hole out larger.
I used to be a plumber, and used this trick to cut PVC, inside walls where a sawblade would tear up too much. I highly recommend using cotton twine, as it'll generate better friction, and not risk melting plastic and plastic together.
 My grandfather used to do this with bailing twine and his bare hands!  I could never do it with my tender pads tho.

Thanks for sharing!


Broom4 years ago
Great 'ible!
You know a Gerber is only like 40 bucks at the PX or clothing and sales. I wear one because all the cool Soldiers have one. But other than that its good use of barracks furniture. :-)
And a Jeep is only 25k or so. Your point?
keng5 years ago
you could also put two over-hand knots in the cord to be cut about 3mm from the point where the cut will occur so that the fraying will stay to a minimum. Nice I'able!
If it's using friction to melt through, surely the ends would melt together rather than fraying wouldn't they?
You're thinking of situations where the cord melts all-at-once, like in a lighter flame. Here the heat builds up gradually, and by the time the last strands are melting, the first strands have long since cooled.
Broom keng4 years ago
Agreed. Sounds like a good idea. I'll have to try this, after I find my para cord... still unpacking from a move.
qon duixote (author)  keng5 years ago
Good Idea, I think the fraying is worse because it's stretching while cutting, knotting off the cord would definitely help that.
nicknack1715 years ago
i never new this so congrats for teaching me something new. but wouldnt any1 who has mass quantities of paracord (me) also have or carry a knife everywhere
Most survival skills are based on making-do without the ideal tools. This is another example.
qon duixote (author)  nicknack1715 years ago
To answer your rhetorical question, yes. That's why I only consider this useful as a parlor trick (if you're cool and have paracord in your parlor) or if misfortune strikes in some unlikely survival situation.
rebelrider4 years ago
If you have to cut several pieces of 550 cord and have an old soldering iron handy, you can put tension on the cord and just slice through it once the soldering iron gets hot.  This way it cuts and seals the cord so it won't fray.  Be careful not to let any drops of the hot nylon get on you because it really makes a nasty burn.  I learned this by cutting 550 cord on a daily basis with my job in the Air Force.  Hope this helps.
The point of this is to cut it without a knife or heating implement. A soldering iron falls under the latter, and would only really help if you were somewhere where you had access to an electrical outlet of some type.
slovichko4 years ago
awesome trick!
lemonie5 years ago
Does a lighter work on this material? L
qon duixote (author)  lemonie5 years ago
Lighters do work, they work faster if you use tension to pull the cord apart as it melts.
Thanks, I was thinking of end-tidying over cutting, because they can end-up a bit frayed? L
METALBLADE5 years ago
I learned this technique back when I was feeding horses every day. You don't want to carry a knife into the haystack because it's easy to lose and there's always extra twine laying around so it's a good way to cut the baling twine on the hay bales.
qon duixote (author)  METALBLADE5 years ago
I actually found out about this trick when I was bailing one summer, I was reminded of it last week and put up the instructable since I didn't see it anywhere.