It occured to me that we modify, pimp or create so much stuff but that we take for granted one thing used for so many outdoor and other projects / instructables - PARACORD. Ok, there is the Survivorcord from Titan that comes with copper wire and tinder (jute) but it costs a fortune (about 25Ct. per Feet) compared to other paracord (I buy it at about 4Ct. per Feet). And you have only limited options what colur to choose, compared to the wide range of what is available of normal paracord (colours, reflective or glow in the dark ...).
So why not take your preferred paracord and tailor it to your and your projects specific needs?
Step 1: Materials
What do you need?
- Well, of course PARACORD :-) - any type, colour and length you want
- a lighter, some clamps, knife or scissor - what you usually need when dealing with paracord
- everything you want to pimp your paracord with - I started with a braided, multifiliamant fishing line, a braided, nylon-coated multifiliament stainless-steel fishing line / wire and a waxed, natural fibre cord (usually used for gardening purposes)
- you may, however, also use any other stuff that will fit into the outer sheath of your paracord, for example small cables, a wire saw (I will try this next time), fuze - Please feel free to post other ideas in the comments below!
Step 2: What to Do
- Cut the length of paracord you need (or at least a bit more). I used about 5 ft. of black paracord for a wristband for my watch.
- Cut the same length of what you want to pimp your paracord with. You can also double the length in this step, if you use thin stuff (as the fising line / wire) - I used the same length of steel wire and waxed tinder cord and two lengths of braided fishing line.
- Make a knot at one end of the paracord (as to not acidentially pull out the inner strands)
- Pull the inner strands out a bit at the other end, separate one strand and secure it with a clamp.
- Open the knot made in step 3 before and entirely pull out all inner strands at once (except the one strand separated in step 4 that is secured with a clamp). The strands may/will be somehow interwoven. Take care not to separate them from each other, as being intwerwoven may add to the strength of the final product.
- Lay the bundle of pulled out inner strands and all the stuff you want to add to your paracord side by side (at least the first inches).
- Use the remaining inner strand (the one that could not be pulled throgh because of the clamp at the other end) to bind together all the stuff laid out in step six. If possible (meaning that what you want to put in is not too thick) bend it over (as shown in the photos) to secure it and make it easier to pull through the other sheath. If bending over is not possible, one could instead secure the knot and facilitate the pulling by first slip a short piece of heat-shrink tube over the inner strand, than use this inner strand to bind together the bundle, slip the heat-shrink tube back over the knot and the tips (for example if you want to pull through wire that may puncture the outer sheath of the paracord) and heat it (take care not to melt your paracord!).
- Remove the clamp from the other side of the paracord and use the remaining inner strand to pull everything through.
- Then cut/remove the knot(s) (and the heat-shrink tube, if used) and stretch/allign the inner strands and the outer sheath of your paracord.
Voila - you have made your very own, individual pimped paracord.
Step 3: Securing the Ends
In case you have just inserted some nylon (braided or unbraided) fishing line, you could just melt the ends of your pimped paracord as usual.
In case you used something that could/should not be melted (as the natural fibre cord or steel wire I used), you have different options how to close and secure the ends:
- dipping them in glue
- pulling the outer sheath of the paracord over the ends of all the inner stuff and melt only the outer sheath (that's what I did as shown in the photos)
- Put a heat-shrink tube over the end of the pimped paracord and heat-shink it.
- ... Feel free to add further ideas in the comment section below!
Step 4: What to Do With Your Pimped Paracord
Well, I pimped my paracord to use it for a wristband for my watch and you could use it for almost everything you usually use paracord for. However, there may be some pros and cons depending on what you pimped your paracord with, so here are some thoughts about it:
- Adding any kind of steel wire or unbraided line makes the pimped paracord less flexible. Although the steel fishing line I added is only about 0.1mm (plus coating), I clearly notice the difference. So pay extra attantion when making knots as they may accidentially open easier than when using normal paracord.
- Adding special fishing line may not be of much value if you use 2-3ft. pieces of pimped paracord as shoelaces, but adding natural fibre of such lenght may be of value as tinder when starting fire in emergency situations (consider adding a small ferro rod with two holes!) as well as wire of the same length may be used for snares). On the contrary, you may not need 100ft. of tinder in your belt ...
- Adding one of these emergency steel wire saws probably makes it impossible to make knots but could be great as necklace for a neck-knife or as strap for a baggage.
- You may add some cable eithe as back-up/storage or as really strong charging/connection cable (you could probably use it to carry your camera or whatever). That's just a rough idea - try out and make an instructable out of it!
- It may be possible to fit a thin set of cables with small LED-lights in, resulting in an illuminated paracord (as before, just a very first idea ...).
Whatever comes to YOUR mind - add ideas in the comment section below!