I recently got interested in the paracord items you can create. So many cool ones on this site you can make. But it is much easier when you have a clamp to hold it. You can make one or buy one. I looked at the ones you could buy and was quite astonished at how expensive they were. I started thinking about doing one for real cheap and looked at various web pages to get some ideas. There are some good ones on Instructables as well. As I looked at the expensive ones to buy I thought if I were going to pay a lot of money for one I want it to be well built with quality materials. So I went overboard with my version complete with some beautiful wood. I've already made a few bracelets and 2 belts with this. Here is my version of a paracord jig.
Step 1: Parts
I got the wood in the clearance bin at WoodCraft wood working store. 3 Dollars for what I believe is padauk. It wasn't labeled but I couldn't pass it up. I knew I would find a project for it so I got it. I had some scrap walnut laying around so that would become the top part. I went back to WoodCraft and bought 2 cam action hold downs and a Kreg 1/4" T-track 48" long. The jig itself is 2 feet long so you'll need to cut the T-track it in half. Of course you can make this jig any length you wish.
Next you'll need 2 toggle clamps and you can get them at Harbor Freight. It was the cheapest place I have found for them for and they are nice quality. Toggle clamps link.
Also you can get bigger footpads for them. FootPads and toggle clamps
The next item is white plastic to mount the toggle clamps on top of. It makes it look nice. You can do without it.
You will need a pad of some sort to protect the wood and to prevent any slipping. I used some thick pads that are liners for kitchen drawers. Then 8 flathead machine screws and 8 lock nuts to mount the toggle clamps.
Now we need some small wood screws to mount the t-track. Then we need to mount some feet to the bottom to protect the wood and the surface it sits on. Last would be the measuring tape that fits in the t-track.
Parts and price I paid
- 2 pieces of wood. I choose walnut and padauk. ($3)
1/4" T-track ($17)
2 cam action hold downs ($16)
- 8 flathead screws (1/4-20 x 1 1/2) and lock nuts ($6)
- Pads ($8 for roll)
- White plastic (scraps)
- 6 small wood screws
- feet ($7)
- Kreg metal measuring tape no adhesive($10)
Step 2: Preparing the Wood
Now we need to cut the Padauk wood to 2 feet long and then create a channel on one side for the T-track to fit in. Using a 3/4" router bit you only need 1/8" depth for the track to fit in. You need the track to only be in almost halfway because the other top half fits the same kind of channel in the smaller walnut wood. The channel is about 1/4 inch from the edge of the wood. Be sure and keep it the same width for the top piece (walnut).
You can see from the picture that there are 2 channels. Only because I goofed when I routed it and flipped the wood the wrong direction on the router table. My great uncle always said if you make a mistake know one has to know. Just inlay it with another piece of wood. So now it actually looks even better with oak as a good contrast.
Now go ahead and put your favorite kind of finish for the wood. I went with a semi-gloss lacquer finish.
Step 3: Walnut and White Plastic
I like walnut. It machines well and looks great. I chose to use a scrap piece of plastic to put on top of the walnut. I think it looks good but you don't have to do it. Use the clamp's 4 holes to mark where to drill. I just eyeballed it. Once you get it the way you want and you test fit the screws then find a good placement for the cam lock T-bolt. Drill a hole for that screw and then put a finish on that wood.
Step 4: Camlock
I found that the camlock (WoodRiver cam action hold down) works much more efficient if it has some kind of spring back so I made a washer from the leftover drawer liner. An X-acto blade works real well for this. One of the pictures shows a small gap between the walnut and the bottom Padauk wood. I didn't want too much friction when sliding it across. I then applied some plastic tape to the bottom of the walnut. This will make for easy sliding and no scratching of the wood. This is Slip Tape used for skateboarding but you should be able to get a similar type at most any woodworking store. UHMW Slick Tape
Now cut a small square of pad to place on top of the walnut. Double sided tape will not work. Use hot glue. The adhesive from double sided tape will move all over the place when you put pressure on it. I even tried 3M and it didn't work too well. The pad still came off. This completes the top section of the parachord jig.
Step 5: Last Part.
Now to finish up the jig.
The tape I used is metal from Kreg. I didn't want it permanent. I want to slide it depending on what I might be making. Be sure and round the corners of each end otherwise you might poke yourself when you are moving it around.
Bend the tape just slightly somewhere in the tape. This helps keep it from sliding unintentionally.
Now all you got to do is attach some feet if you want to.
If you need to have a longer version you could make 2 of these and like you see in the photo. I chose a clear piece of clear acrylic. I think I need to get a much thicker acrylic. This one is a bit to flexible. Just drill 2 holes and use 2 short T-bolts.
The last photo shows pine. You could easily use cheap pine to do this and use wingnuts in the place of the plastic knobs to keep the cost down.
I hope you enjoyed this project.