Picture of 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
Spring Clamp

This project was done at the community workshop in Portland, OR !Shop People! Paracord was purchased across the street at Andy and Bax.

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Step 1: Set Up

Picture of Set Up
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  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!

Picture of Get Comfortable and Wrap!
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 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!

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 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.

Picture of 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!

Picture of End of the line!
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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!
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TheTutor112 months ago
Do you know of any other websites like this one?
TheTutor112 months ago
This is very nice indeed, I love your wrapping method!
عالی بود دم شما گرم :)
JustenDang5 months ago
Awesome instructions! Wrapped my gunstock war ax in about 30 mins! Thanks for the help!
Roessboss5 months ago
Used this technique on seat belt extender for my mom... Works great!
Lake Speed8 months ago
Nice. I haven't tried this yet but hope to soon. Nice instructions.
ehudwill11 months ago

Awesome job. Thanks for sharing!

pargo1 year ago
How did you make the camp axe
KC0GRN made it!1 year ago

Here is my first experiment with your technique on a pretty cheap ($20) katana's tsuba. I think it turned out well considering I haven't had much practice with tsuba wrapping or Paracord in general. It does provide a nice grip, but as I also don't know much about swords in general, it might be too slippery in practical use. Visually, it looks cool (and would look better given more time and attention to detail). In any instance, given the cheapness of the sword and all, the paracord was definitely an upgrade from the crappy nylon tsuba wrap originally on it.

KC0GRN1 year ago
lately I've been toying with making (or customizing at least) a katana, but without strictly adhering to Japanese rules. I thought about wrapping the handle in paracord (never worked with the stuff). I think this wrap would look cool that way, so I have a cheap katana I am going to try it out on. I'll post my results when I'm done.
dbafundo1 year ago
Great taste I. Choice of beer ??

Love there IPA and lucky13
ezarate made it!1 year ago

My blank Damascus knife got here today so I used this to make the handle, it came out solid, thanks!

I thought this looked cool and I tried it, but I wasn't very successful. I think the easiest wrap is the Paracord Lighter Wrap. Yours is cooler, but if anyone has a hard time, I would suggest that. Great job!
mhgarten1 year ago
how did you get the curls on the knives you showed at the end?
bakdrft1 year ago
Nice Work!
What are this little knives at the last slide called
stephenf1 year ago
OK, this will definitely be the way I wrap my ninjato's handle!
please make a website to sell these on and then comment so i know what it is. here is a website to make a website: webs.com. its free
Done finally. Thanks for the support.
Harlan Whitman (author)  Harlan Whitman2 years ago
www.harlanwhitman.com shopping cart soon to come. Until that is done will post pics of what is available and price. Sales will be made via email/paypal.
If you're doing it yourself, you should check out Wordpress's eCommerce plugins. I just built my girlfriend's website, and it was incredibly easy and pretty customizable (if you want to that is. The themes they have these days are pretty amazing). Here's her website if you're interested in going that way: http://brokenrevolt.com/ (I also told her about your stuff, she's really into the style).
Tv one52 years ago
Hey offtopic here but how did you make the axe? i am pondering making one out of a leaf spring from a car truck etc any thoughts reccomendations?
spacecat72 years ago
So when you unwrap the handle in an emergency situation then what do you use as a handle?
in this design you could just use half the para cord and slide the other down or you could in preparation before you unravel the handle you could make a wooden one and glue it on with pine resin resin
iguytheguy2 years ago
I used this instructable to make a handle for a cheap throwing knife I had laying around.
Thanks for the instructable.
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zgrav2 years ago
very neatly done. I would also consider using the through-holes in the handle for some of the wrasp to go through, since that will help keep everything in place.
bigdwinn2 years ago
Great job, man. Inspired me. My machete handle. Needed something to keep my hands busy during a "Lost" marathon. :)
Harlan Whitman (author) 2 years ago
Confession time! I'm terrible at the interwebs. My new years resolution is to get better at posting more ibles and responding to ya'll. The new website is another big step which will be updated with a new item weekly at least.

Thanks for all the support!
atmooney3 years ago
This is cool! Is that a stout? Can I substitute a pale ale, or regular ale? Keep it up, thanks!
Harlan Whitman (author)  atmooney2 years ago
Of course. I would still recommend a pint or so.
esoland2 years ago
I like that hawk. What's it go for? Great styling in your blade work! D2?
Harlan Whitman (author)  esoland2 years ago
That Hawk with the ti accent pins, para handle, made from O1 went for $275. D2 a great material for small skinners would be much to brittle for a hard working axe or any big chopper (In my opinion).
gwoodside2 years ago
Do you sell these Tomahawks ?? if so do you have a website ??
Harlan Whitman (author)  gwoodside2 years ago
Yes a website exists finally! www.harlanwhitman.com although at this time it is fresh and does not have a shopping cart orders are to be done via email at this time.

Thanks, for the interest.
this is mine. i love it!
nice i have that knife (which i also have paracord wrapped) where did you get yours with out the black coating on it
I got it for my birthday but I have seen it at Cabela's.
x3n0c1dal ad8953 years ago
That "black coating" is called BLUE.
ad895 x3n0c1dal3 years ago
i know what a blued knife looks like this knife is more of a power coat
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