Paracord (originally: parachute cord) – a line made of nylon twine – is an extremely handy utensil used extensively in survival, bushcraft as well as during most outdoor excursions. Because having some with you during these activities may prove useful, we’ve decided to prepare a series of short tutorials illustrating some of the versatile ways of applying and weaving paracord.
In regard to the fact that paracord is extremely durable, it was originally used in the production of military parachutes. A standard 4 millimetre thick paracord line can withstand nearly 249 kilos of payload. It’s core – or kern – is usually made of seven yarns of nylon twine (that may be used for example for fishing) surrounded by an outer sheath. Recently more and more variations of paracord have been introduced: i.e. firecord (with a flammable core used as kindling), paracord with Kevlar fibers, or glow-in-the-dark paracord.
Firstly we’ll focus on one the easiest braids that allows one to “hide” approximately 3,6 metres of paracord in a small bracelet that may be worn on the wrist. This standard COBRA pattern type is presented below.
WHAT YOU WILL REQUIRE
To begin with, you’ll need… paracord. Around 3,6 metres will be required to complete this bracelet, but you should prepare a bit more than that, just in case. In our tutorial we’ll present how to weave a thick braid using two different-coloured cords. This way it will be clearer to demonstrate the process step-by-step.
Apart from the paracord line you should also acquire a buckle that will make it easier for you to put the bracelet on and to take it off. The simplest buckle models are available at auction sites for less than a buck, but if you want more advanced types i.e. with a whistle or flint you’ll have to invest a bit more. Here we’ve used a simple Fastex buckle from an old backpack, but you may use practically everything else: a shackle or carabineer.
You will also need a lighter (we recommend flameless lighters or small gas heaters) to splice the paracords together and to finish off the endings.
Other essential tools include scissors (pros will use a sharp knife) and a tape measure.
PREPARING THE ENDINGS
Before you begin weaving you should prepare the cord endings – so as to prevent them from getting untangled and thus complicating the task. It will also ease the process of splicing the two pieces of cord together. To do this, cut the line evenly with a pair of scissors and melt the sheath and core with the lighter (Pic. 2).
MAKING ENDS MEET
We used two different-coloured paracords in our tutorial to make the whole weaving process easier to understand. By doing so we also obtained an interesting pattern. If however you are using just one piece of paracord, you may omit this step.
In order to connect the pieces of cord you have to heat the endings with a lighter, and once they soften up – press them together firmly and wait until they cool down (Pic. 3).
PREPARING THE BASE AND DETERMINING LENGTH
Before you start weaving, pull the cord through the openings of the two parts of the buckle, so as to form four parallel lines (Pic. 4). In order to determine the size of the bracelet just put it on your wrist and fasten the buckle. Keep in mind that the internal circumference will eventually get smaller once the bracelet has been woven, so try to stick your middle finger underneath the line to see if it’s loose enough. If not – tighten the cord. You may instead use the tape to measure your wrist’s circumference and add a few centimetres of loose cord to the result.
Once you’ve prepared the base, you may finally begin start weaving. Place one end of the cord (in this case the green one) under the base to form a loop (Pic. 5).
Next, place the orange cord under the green one (Pic. 6).Weave the orange cord in an upward direction through the green loop formed on the left side of the bracelet’s base (Pic. 7).Pull the excess cord and tighten the knot (Pic. 8).Now repeat the above mentioned steps, but this time make the loop on the other side of the bracelet. Pay attention to the fact the loop is always going to formed using the cord you first began to weave the braid (in this case: the green cord). Perform these steps accordingly, until you reach the opposite part of the buckle (Pic. 14). Next, cut off the excess cord leaving approximately two millimetres sticking out from the braid (Pic. 15).In order to finish off your bracelet, heat up the cord endings (Pic. 16) and flatten them with a lighter (Pic. 17) to prevent them from retreating back into the braid (Pic. 18). Once completed, you can enjoy wearing your hand-made bracelet (Pic. 19).
The COBRA braid may be of course used for many other applications and projects i.e. watches, keychains, or handles. You are only limited by your own imagination. Here a few of our ideas that may provide some inspiration:
A COBRA paracord “cross-bar” attached to a MFT Battlelink Minimalist Stock.
A KING COBRA braid used as a transport handle on the Direct Action Dragon Egg backpack.
/TactiGal/ & /Roger/
Tranlation by /Siemion/