Introduction: Paracord Belt W/ Carabiner Buckle
disclaimer: the belt was made following the instructions in this link: http://www.m4040.com/Survival/Projects/Rescue%20Belt/RescueBelt.htm
5ft - 2x4 or another object with sufficient length for the belt you're assembling
C-clamps (minimum 1.5in)
wire hanger bent to hold non-buckle end of belt
550 Paracord (minimum length of 50ft is required but is dependent on size of belt to be made,plan for an addtional 4-6in in length)
belt buckle (I used 2 carabiners from the hardware store as a proof of concept design, I intend to substitute these with real climbing carabiners)
Nails, rod or other object (3in. or longer) to use as a reed and tighten the weave
1. tie off one end of the paracord onto the buckle
2. create several loops between the buckle and the non-buckle end of the belt to create the warp cords
3. begin the weave by passing the loose end of the cord (the weft) through the warp cords in an alternating over\under pattern
4. tighten the weave using the nail\rod (reed) to batten and secure the newly woven cord against the fell.
5. repeat weaving process to the end of the belt
6. cut and tie off the warp cord in a simple knot after the final pass through and...
7. you're done!
Finishing touches - I used a lighter to melt the cut ends of the cord to prevent fraying.
Some notes\lessons learned:
the belt ended up being too short for me as it seemed to shrink during the weaving process. I originally set up the rig to add 4in hangover to the belt for 36in overall length. When I do it again I'll probably add another 4-6in (to the 4 I added already) to the weave.
I decided on carabiners for the belt buckle figuring they would be useful in survival scenario, but may consider using a traditional buckle in the future as the carabiners may prove to be uncomfortable.
I decided on a bent hanger hook to hold the far end of the belt but as the weave progressed it was bending due to the belt shrinking. I simply drilled a wood screw to support the hanger, but eventually had to adjust the clamps as the belt became too taut. For a future build, I'll probably choose a different material to hold the non-buckle end during the weave.
At times it was difficult to determine where I was in the weaving process because the warp cords seemed to bunch up\overlap. For future builds, I'm considering adding a comb-like structure to the rig (e.g. scrap wood with nails passed through or something else) as an aid.
I was experiencing some insomnia and started this build at 2:30AM and finished 4.5hrs later, so some of my difficulties may have been a result of exhaustion.