This tutorial will show how to make a paracord bracelet fixture that can be used with or without side release buckles. As I began making more bracelets it became readily apparent that I needed to build a fixture for this purpose. I looked at several designs that were being used and decided to create my own version. When I decided to make the fixture, these were the objectives I wanted to achieve:
- It had to be simple to use
- It must be portable for traveling & camping
- It must be easy to make
- Must be inexpensive
I accomplished the objectives and decided to share my design. I was able to make this fixture in about an hour for under $12. It is adjustable from 3 to 12 inches.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
- Drill & drill bits
- sandpaper (optional)
- counter-sink drill bit (optional)
Quantity Part Description (Approx Cost)
2 ¼” x 1 ¼” flat head bolts ($ 0.20)
1 ¼” wing nut ($ 0.10)
1 ¼“ screw protector cap ($ 0.25)
4 2 ¼” wood screws ($ 0.99)
1 angle divisor - also called angle divider ($ 7.99)
2 ½” cable clamps ($ 0.20)
1 5mm x 10mm pan head machine screw ($ 0.19)
1 size 8 x ½” screw ($ 0.08)
1 5mm hex nut ($ 0.19)
36” 1” x 4” standard grade board ($ 0.74)
1 3/8” side release buckle ($ 0.40)
1 5/8” side release buckle ($ 0.44)
Total $ 11.77
Step 2: Disassemble Angle Divisor Tool
In order to reduce the amount of woodworking skills required and make the project construction easy and quick, my design uses parts of an angle divisor. I used a Tool Shop angle divisor I picked up from my local Menards (hardware store). If you don’t have a Menards store nearby, the same angle divisor can be found listed under other brand names as angle dividers (Promax 79050, Big Horn 19050, etc.)
Start by removing the rivet connecting the three aluminum bars at the end of angle divisor (far right in the main photo). Tip: Grind off the backside of the rivet using a grinder or Dremel tool with grinding wheel bit, then remove the rest of rivet with pliers.
Remove the adjustable thumbscrew and keep the slotted bar and shinny rectangular guide piece (bottom of the second photo) – discard the rest of the angle divisor. Use a ¼” drill bit to enlarge the hole in the shinny rectangular guide piece. The hole is very close to ¼” already, but still needs to be enlarged.
Step 3: Cut Wood
Saw the 1” x 4” board into one 22½” section (the base) and four 3½” blocks. Stack the base and 3½” blocks as shown in the photo. The grain of the wood of the 3½” blocks should run perpendicular to the grain of the base.
For clarification: The size of the smaller blocks (3½” blocks) should be cut to the same width as the
board - on dimensional lumber this is usually 3½”. If the piece of wood you are
using isn't exactly 3½”, then adjust the length of your cuts accordingly.
Step 4: Drill and Assemble The Wood
Drill two pilot holes through the base and each of the top 3½” blocks. On each of the bottom 3½” blocks, drill the pilot holes only ½ way through – don’t drill all the way through. On one of the bottom 3½” blocks, drill a ¼” hole through the center. Counter sink the hole using the tip of a ½” drill bit or a countersink bit. Insert one of the 1¼” flat head bolts into the center hole.
Take the 22½” base and drill a ¼” hole through the center. Countersink the hole – this will now be the bottom of the board. Insert the other 1¼” flat head bolt into the center hole. Assemble the wood pieces using the 2¼” wood screws.
Step 5: Attach Female Ends of Buckles
Attach a cable clamp, a female end of a 3/8” side release buckle, a female end of a 5/8” side release buckle to the side opposite the markings on the end of the slotted bar that had the rivet.
Step 6: Attach Male Ends of Buckles
Attach a cable clamp, a male end of a 3/8” side release buckle, a male end of a 5/8” side release buckle to the 3½” block that doesn’t have the bolt in the center. See photo for correct placement of cable clamp, etc.
Step 7: Drill ‘Dimble’
On the opposite end of the base, drill a ½” ‘dimple’ near the inside edge of the base. During storage and transport the dimple will provide a hole for the nut of the 5mm screw to sit in (so that the slotted bar will sit flush to the base).
Step 8: Remove Sharp Edges From Wood
I recommend all of the sharp edges of wood be “dulled” using sandpaper. Since I transport mine a lot I decided to round over the edges even more using a trim router with a round-over bit.
Use the ¼” screw protector cap on whichever bolt doesn’t have the wing nut – swap bolts when tying or storing. The cap protects your fingers while tying a knot and will prevent snagging by the other bolt when storing or transporting.
Step 9: Create Sizing Table
Using a 3/8” bracelet as an example, measure the length around a person’s wrist – for this example I’ll use 8 inches. When making a bracelet a popular “rule-of-thumb” is to add an additional inch for the extra bulk due to knotting – so our modified length will be 9 inches.
Because the bracelet will be inserted into the buckles of the fixture, we need to adjust the slotted bar until there is 9 inches between the female end and the ‘rim’ of the male end.
Step 10: Record Initial Marks For Buckles
Record the marking on the slotted bar - in this case 57. In the future, each time we want to make an 8-inch bracelet using a 3/8” standard buckle by this vendor we will use the same setting. Using the same procedure for a 5/8” by this vendor, I found that the setting is 59.
Step 11: Determine Remaining Marks
Knowing the reference marks for both buckle sizes enables us to create a table of the bracelet sizes for these buckles. Simply lay a measuring tape beside the slotted bar and align the respective reference mark with the 8 on the measurinng tape (original size of the wrist). The example in the photo is setup for the 3/8 inch buckle (57 on the slotted bar).
Next, find the values for the wrist lengths you want from the measuring tape and read the corresponding marks on the slotted bar. Do this for both buckle sizes and you should get something like the next step.
Step 12: Finish Sizing Table
This is a table of sizes and markings for 3/8 and 5/8 buckles in our example. I then attached the chart to the fixture so it is always available.