Introduction: Paracord Wrap
For this Instructable gonna wrap a handle on a custom camp axe that I made. This form of wrap could be used on any type of handle. A nice thing about this type of handle is that if needed you have however many feet of rope with your tool. Last summer I actually unwrapped a handle for rope (that I forgot) to hang my food in a tree. Sorry bears!
Paracord short for Parachute Cord is a lightweight nylon rope used during World War II for yeah you guessed it parachute suspension lines. Today paracord is used widely through out all branches of the military and civilian use. The Mil spec paracord has six different grades ranging in strength from 95lb to 750lb. I use Type-III which has a minimum breaking strength of 550lbs. although I have personally tested it up to 1,000lbs. It consists of a sheath that contains seven two strand yarns. One of the nifty things about this rope is that it can be easily gutted of its inner yarns for more delicate jobs like sewing. The cord when gutted of the core yarns is considered Type-IIa which becomes much less elastic (good or bad thing depends) and retains a breaking strength of 225lbs.
OK so I use this stuff for everything $7 for 100' is hard to beat.
Things needed for this:
A tool to wrap (I used one of my custom made axes check out www.ooakforge.com)
Paracord don't be intimidated by buying 100 feet you will use it ;)
Sharp knife or scissors
Lighter or Soldering Iron
Something to hold your tool firmly in place
This project was done at the community workshop in Portland, OR !Shop People! Paracord was purchased across the street at Andy and Bax.
Step 1: Set Up
So here we have everything we need all ready to go. The steel was oiled and buffed with beeswax to help prevent rust. I used a clean piece of leather inside the vise to protect the finish on the axe. A stool or something to sit on is a great thing to have ready also.
Cutting the right amount of cord for a new project is a guessing game that I have become good at . I have no calculation just leave more than you think you'll need and cut off the excess later. To give you an idea this axe handle was nine inches long one inch deep and one quarter inch thick. I started with 20ft and ended up cutting off about two ft.
Step 2: Get Comfortable and Wrap!
Describing how to do this wrap in words is rather difficult. The pictures hopefully do the job for you.
First find the middle of the cord and lay it across one side of the tool.
Next take both ends and head to the other side of the tool with them.
Then wrap each end of the cord around each other one time.
Immediately send the two ends towards the other side to repeat the process.
To get a clean looking product consistency is important. Keep track of which end of the cord goes over the top of the other and repeat that order as you keep wrapping.
Step 3: Keep It Up!
The real trick to the whole process is keeping a good amount of tension on the cord at all times. At every inch or so of wrap I check my progress to make sure its all consistent and packed up tight. Better to go back and fix now than once your done;)
Step 4: Take a Break.
Years of working with your hands can make jobs like these kill. The constant tension on the cord strains the hands. A clamp comes in handy for short breaks to stretch your muscles.
I really love the Pony spring clamps they are life savers and last a long time.
Step 5: Tying the Knot.
The clamp comes in handy again to hold the string while you prep for the knot. This is the point at which I melt the ends of the cord. Because at this point determining the final length is more practical. You can use a lighter to do this. I used a soldering gun because it was on the table already. You can quickly form a point with the molten nylon by rolling it on a solid cool surface like a piece of steel. I use my fingers because i'm hardcore like that haha and well it's easier. I have never blistered from this, but be careful it could potentially hurt.
I used a reef knot / square knot to secure the wrap onto the handle.
I then take a rather blunt homemade needle and jab it into the end of the cord to poke it through the hole in the handle. The melted end keeps the needle from punching through the cord. I have found by sending the ends of the knot through a hole like this further secures the knot. Also in this case keeps the wrap from wanting to slide down and off the end of the handle.
Step 6: End of the Line!
You now have a lightweight handle that doubles as in this case 18' of emergency rope. There are many styles of cord wrap this one being one of my favorites as it is simple and provides good indexing of the tool in your hand. This type of handle also provides a great grip wet or dry, it will not slip out of your hand.
Other things you can try: If you wanted more rope on your tool you could start by doing one or more layers of basic wrapping underneath this style wrap. Gutting the cord will give you a lower profile/flatter wrap. Some people prefer to coat the cord in epoxy to provide a harder surface and more permanent handle. Endless potential with the cord wrap.
Have fun be creative!