Israel's king, David, forever memorialized the true "underdog" story when he used an ancient weapon common to the poor folk to slay the Philistine's 10 ft. giant named Goliath. How can a braided piece of string be so lethal as to slay a seasoned warrior? Read along and follow this instructable, and you can find out! The following steps outline how to construct and make a 4 cord, split-pouch sling.
*CAUTION* Slings are weapons! Each maker is responsible for their own safety and all damages occured as they recreate their own classic battle scenes. Please do not use this weapon to throw things at very tall people with grimacing smiles. Also, please do not use it to throw things at neighborhood animals.
*DOUBLE CAUTION* This is my FIRST INSTRUCTABLE! Feel free to leave comments and pictures of your very own rock slingin' weapon! Also, a vote in the paracord contest would make me the happiest rock slinger in Texas! Thanks for reading.
Step 1: Gather Materials
For this project, you will need:
- about 60 ft of paracord split into four, 15 ft long strands.
- I will be using...
- three 15 ft strands of "dragonfly" green #325 paracord (choose fun colors!)
- one 15 ft strand of black #550 paracord (choose a color for your pouch!)
- I will be using...
- If you are especially long limbed, you may want to use longer increments of cord so your sling can be longer!
- You can use any "weight" paracord for this project! I prefer #325 for the down and release cord and #550 for the pouch. EXPERIMENT AND POST YOUR THOUGHTS!
Step 2: Measure Your Paracord
You need to measure 3 strands of paracord at 15 ft. to make the "down cord" (also known as the "hold cord") and "release cord". You will use the #325 paracord to braid this section of the sling.
Measure 1 strand of paracord at 15 ft. to make your "split pouch". You will use the #550 paracord to weave this section of the sling.
(When you unravel your paracord, it will easily knot if it's straight out of the bag. Try to smooth out the string as you accomplish this step.)
There are two ways to measure your string.
THE FAST WAY
By using your "arm-to-arm" wingspan as a 5 ft. estimate, take the end of the string in one hand and pull the string to the other end of your wingspan (shown in picture above). If you do this three times, you should roughly have a 15 ft piece of cord. Clip the end and use your first 15 ft piece as a guide to cut the rest of the string. (If you have long arms... beware. Your wingspan will MUCH larger. Be smart about it!)
THE MORE ACCURATE WAY
Stretch your string out on the floor and whip out your measuring tape. When it stretches to 15 ft., give it a snip and use it as your guide to measure the others.
***If you purchased a 50 ft. ream of paracord to make this portion of the sling, you will have a piece of string that is longer than the others. Don't freak out.... you'll have plenty left over for the project.
Step 3: Finger Loop
Take your 3 strands of #325 paracord and find the middle of your 15 ft. bundled cords. You will begin braiding your sling at this half-way mark.
A few inches above your half way mark, tie a temporary knot so you can "anchor" your three strand braid.
Braid a about 3" inches (length depends on how big you want your loop to be). Release your anchor knot once your finished, then take both ends of the braided strand and put them together. The braided portion should "loop".
Check to make sure your loop is big enough for your finger!
All 6 strands should be dangling from the braided loop. Pair off the strings in two's and begin braiding the down cord in a "rounded" braid.
Step 4: The Down Cord
This is either called the "down" cord or the "hold" cord.
Begin by anchoring your loop to something stationary.
Begin braiding by using a "rounded braid" for this cord. As you wrap two strands into your braid, fold them into the braid instead of keeping the strand side by side (side by side makes a "flat braid"). The more aerodynamic, the better! Try and keep the braid tight!
Braid the down cord the length of your arm.
****To find length: Measure from your extended fingertips to mid shoulder joint. If you're skilled, make a longer sling!
(On average, I usually make my slings 30" from loop to the beginning of the pouch. For kids, I make them around 26"-28" and for long limbed folks, I make them around 32"-34".)
Step 5: The Split Pouch
When your down cord is of the proper length, stop braiding and divide the six strands into two bundles of three strands each.
Grab your #550 paracord and find the middle. Place the middle of the #550 cord on 3 of the divided cords and tie off an easy knot.
1ST HALF OF SPLIT POUCH
Spread the three strands of string flat. Weave the #550 strong through the three strands using an "over - under" pattern. After each weave, pull the string tight! A loose pouch is bad!
*its easiest to hold the three strings in one hand, make a small bend in the #550 cord, push the bended string over and under, and pull the remaining portion of the bend through the weave.
Split pouches are versatile which is why I choose this style of pouch, opposed to a fixed weave. I make my pouch size about 5" in length. You can throw objects as small as rocks all the way up to tennis ball size objects. 3" is a good size for golf balls. The sling pouch must be big enough to cradle the projectile.
2ND SIDE OF SPLIT POUCH
When you finish weaving one side of the split pouch, tie it off using the #550 cord and put it to the side. Return to the remaining three strands and repeat this process. Make sure you undo the original "hold knot" you tied at the beginning of this step. Remember: keep it TIGHT!
When both sides of the split pouch are of size, overlap the ends of the pouch on the OPPOSITE side. Both sides of the pouch should bend in the middle as they pass by each other.
POUCH / RELEASE CORD JOINT
At this point, you'll have eight strings: six are from the down cord and two are from the pouch. Divide them into three bundles. As you begin braiding these three bundles of strings, make sure the pouch joint stays VERY tight. If in doubt of it being too loose, re-braid it!
Step 6: Release Cord / the Taper
Now that you've braided your split pouch joint (and its a TIGHT joint), it's time to braid your release cord. This cord needs to be as thin as possible so it's aerodynamic and FAST when you throw your rock! This is why we taper, or "braid-out" strands of cord as we go.
Using the "round" braiding technique, braid all eight strands for about 4" or so. Begin to taper your release cord by "dropping" a strong every few inches of braid. It is best to drop the #550 cords first.
Eventually, you will have three strands left. Braid the rest of the release cord to match the length of the down cord.
Your last stopper knot needs to be big enough so that you can hold it tight. I tie a pretty simple knot, but there are a few more fancier knots (like a globe knot) that are prettier to look at.
Cut the remaining cords about 3 or 4 finger widths from the knot. If it's too long, it will whip your hand mid-sling. (This hurts!)
Step 7: Burn Off Ends
Using a lighter or matches, burn off each loose end. There are tons of techniques to burn cord. I set it on fire, let it burn down to the braided cords, and the press out the fire using the flat side of my scissors.
Be careful! I burn myself often. Liquid hot plastic tends to stick to your skin and burn deep! I suggest caution and care, or fingers beware!
Step 8: GET TO SLINGIN'!
Now for the fun part!!!! GET TO SLINGIN'!!!
The best object to practice slinging is a tennis ball. It may not break a window and/or make your little brother or sister cry as much if you hit them.
Place the finger loop around the ring finger of your "throwing" hand. Let the string hand from your open palm. Now take the the release cord knot and hold it between your thumb and pointer finger. Both the down cord and the release cord should be hanging from your open palm hand.
Place the ball in the pouch. You may need to "open" the split pouch a bit to cradle your object.
Hold the pouch in your "non-throwing" hand extended out in front of your body. Keep the tension tight in the cords and toss the pouch behind your head. As the pouch/ball slings around, use your throwing arm to sling the ball out in front of you. Just as you would release a baseball to your target, release the knot held between your thumb and pointer finger.
For further information on different types of slings and techniques to throw them, visit this website!: www.slinging.org
THANKS FOR READING! Please post your comments and pictures of your slings! DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!