Though I believe it is always useful to know how to tie different knots for backpacking and camping, there is sometimes no substitute for the speed and convenience of these little gadgets. They weigh almost nothing, so you could easily throw a few in with your camping or hiking gear along with some tent cord, paracord, or small diameter rope. I have actually just added these to the guy lines of my backpacking tarps, hammock tents, and standard tents for easy use.
This is my first instructable, so I hope you find it useful.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
The supply list:
-Five Gallon Plastic bucket
-Saw (I feel that a table saw is really the safest and most uniform, but use whatever works for you.)
-Drill (a drill press is preferred for straight and uniform holes.)
-Small Drill Bit (13/64 is what I used, it just needs to be larger than the cord so it will slide.)
-Snips or Heavy Duty Scissors (not required, but it makes quick work of cutting these to length.)
-Cord (such as paracord or tent guy line cord.)
Step 2: Cutting the Bucket Into Pieces
The basic idea here is to cut the bucket all the way around into a uniform ring that is about 1/2 an inch wide. First cut off the top reinforcement that usually holds the handle. Then set your fence for a 1/2 inch width and raise the blade just enough to go through the wall of the bucket.
Turn on the saw and slowly rotate the bucket until you have gone all the way around, leaving a large ring. Don't worry too much if the ring isn't perfect, you can still probably make some tensioners out of some of it. I'd suggest cutting a whole bunch of these rings if you want to make a bunch of tensioners. It's always easier to make things in bulk.
Step 3: Cutting and Forming the Tensioner
Step 4: Drilling the Holes
Once you have drilled them all, it is also a good idea to spend a little time sanding off the rough parts, saw marks, etc. I also like to round over the corners a little to make them generally less sharp. I think it is worth it because this action will make it less likely that you will snag the tensioner on your cord or line.
Step 5: Rigging the Line
First lace the line through both holes, with the 'loop' following the slight curve of what was once the outside of the bucket. Now loop around and lace the line back through the same hole on the other side as shown. Tie a knot in the end of the cord and pull it tight.
Step 6: Finished!
Make tons and hand them out to your friends! They are easy to make, simple to use, and a great way to recycle some old plastic buckets that you might find laying around.