Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fall projects...

County Comm sent me a care package this month, including a couple of the Waterproof Stainless Steel Pico Pulls, Grab & Go First Aid Kit, a couple of 100 foot hanks of Para-tape Ultra Compact Cord in black and ACU Digital Camo, and a red/black Waterproof Delrin Pico Pull that I added to my Limited Edition VENOM Mochibag.

I used the red/black Pico Pull on a short loop of gutted red paracord(tucked/sewn together) to replace the adjustable buckle pull tab on the VENOM bag, adding a few gaucho knots, tied with black and red 0.9mm cord.  I put the cool Grab & Go First Aid Kit in the zippered pouch of the bag.

I tied a couple of zipper pull/keyfobs with the stainless Pico Pulls.  First a small gutted loop of paracord was run through the pull lanyard hole, tucked into itself and securely sewn together with needle and thread.  That left a small loop at the other end for a small split ring, then more knot work was done over the paracord, like the example shown with a long 4 bight Turk's head knot, which was done with gutted navy blue paracord, and orange 0.9mm cord added in with the pineapple knot interweave.

And did some West Country Whipping with gutted 425 licorice paracord(red/black) with ends trimmed/melted, over a fixed loop(sewn together) of gutted 550 paracord(4 inch leftover scrap), attached to the other stainless steel pico pull.  This one has a half dozen Benadryl inside.

The Para-tape is the paracord outer sheath, flattened and without any inner strands, and is still fairly strong cord on its own(250lb test).  It's good for utility uses or for knotting projects where you might have planned to gut the cord anyway and toss the remains.

If I don't end up using those hanks for a possible paracord weaving project that would require a very long length of gutted cord(on the planned to-do list), I may keep one compact hank in the truck glove box and the other in a bug-out-bag. Although I have other paracord with the inner strands intact for just-in-case, I like having the extra cord around and that it takes up less storage space.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

In the mail this week...

I received a production version of the VENOM mochi limited edition with my name/logo on it this week.  The logo is a nice size, not too large, running down alongside one side seam.

I think Mochibrand has done a great job on the bag with the stitched paracord handle and the zipper pulls, and there's potential for further modding by the customer, like adding a favorite lanyard bead, as I did with mine, a Kiko Tiki bead from Schmuckatelli Co., or maybe tying a replacement pull for the adjustable buckle latch...

The empty backpack folds up into a nice tight package, for storage or carrying clipped to a belt loop until needed, with an accessory like the Link carabiner.

Mochibrand also offers Sternum Straps, and a couple of paracord items, the New & Key Leashes.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

VENOM mochi by Stormdrane

Last year, Mochibags had a successful Kickstarter campaign on reinventing the drawstring backpack. A few months ago they contacted me about doing a collaboration on a bag, and after a lot of back and forth ideas, there's finally a Stormdrane limited edition of their Adventure series packs.

Meet the VENOM mochi, with black and red accent color scheme, black ultralight utility ropes with red tracer thread, red paracord zipper pull loop tied with an extended two-strand Matthew Walker knot, featuring a red utility cord stitched classic Solomon bar/cobra stitch/Portuguese sinnet paracord handle, and a screen printed 'Stormdrane' logo.

If you're familiar with drawstring type backpacks, these are top of the line in workmanship and materials, assembled in the U.S.A.

Mochibag demo:

Demo from mochibags on Vimeo.

How to fold a Mochibag video demonstration:

Fold from mochibags on Vimeo.

Photos from this blog post credit & © Copyright 2014 Mochibrand 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vinnie Garoon Cowboy Beads from Schmuckatelli Co.

Early last week I received some of the new Vinnie Garoon Cowboy Beads, in pewter and black oxide finishes, from Schmuckatelli Co.

I've had the chance to try them out with a variety of paracord knot work, including a standard double button knot, that my friend, Manny had sent me a video tutorial for, that he came across a couple of weeks ago.

Another knot tying friend, Knotty Notions, provided some links to Chinese and French tutorials, in the comments of the above mentioned video tutorial, including a single strand version of the knot, that has the look of an expanded Celtic Button Knot.

See knot #790 in 'The Ashley Book of Knots' for a similar, if not the same knot, as the double button, but tied with a mandrel and pins instead of in hand...

I bought a couple of variations of arrowhead bolo tie tips(may not show up in search results if out of stock), that I found on etsy, to try out with the new beads in place of a slider medallion.  I added a couple of small Gaucho knots to one, tied with 0.9mm cord, just above where the paracord fits into the tips.  These are glue in type tips, where there are other types of tips that crimp onto the cord ends.

I was thinking of braiding some leather for the bolo tie, but it would have to be really thin/flat for a loop of it to fit through the skull bead's hole.  I don't want to order some only to find out that it might not work, so I'll wait until I get a chance to look first hand at what Hobby Lobby or Michael's craft store has available and if there is something suitable.  You can buy braided leather cord in different colors for bolo ties/bracelets/necklaces, but that'd be cheating, lol...

My digital camera's memory card just up and died, so this bolo tie variation happens to be the last photo I managed to get off it that wasn't corrupted.  I still have the old SD card somewheres 'round abouts, so I'll hunt it down and hope it works...

I tied a couple of single strand inline double button knots, in place of some tie tips, for this black paracord bolo tie, with a pewter Vinnie Garoon Cowbead Bead facing forward and a black oxide bead facing back, and I think it kinda makes it look like the skull bead is wearing a shirt/bandana.

I had tried a two-bight Turk's head knot first, but decided I'd probably try that later on with gutting enough of the inner strands to do the ends with firesteels tucked inside each tip, so I could call it a 'Survival Bolo Tie', lol.

Another knot tying friend made a bracelet for me and mailed it to me during their visit to Yellowstone last week.  Here's a couple of quotes of the bracelet description from an email they sent me.

"So when playing around with C├ęsar’s NxN checkered patterns using the tool you made me aware of (Gridmaker) I mixed a 3x3 checker with a 3 pass Gaucho and I don’t know why but it just struck me that you’d like it (or at least I hope you do)."

"A 3x3 Checkered at either end, complete with O2 Gaucho bights, that transitions to a 3Pass Gaucho in the middle. It took great care in the design and start point to ensure that the Gaucho centre section is perfectly centralised on the leather blank.  Built from a base 54Px5B standard TH (green), then all of the pattern transition ‘magic’ is done with the navy interweave, so the final knot is 162Px15B. I get my leather blanks and unassembled press-studs/snaps from Tandy Leather because most pre-made ones are too small once the knot is added. So I also cut and assembled the leather blank & skull snap to provide to fit you – I normally aim for slightly loose because slightly tight is a disaster. "

 Thank you, Phil, much appreciated! :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

A single strand button knot...

This single strand button knot is #647 in, 'The Ashley Book of Knots', page 111.

About 18" to 24" of paracord is usually long enough to tie the button knot and have enough extra to work with for adding a few two-strand wall knots or a lanyard knot, to use as a short keyring or pocket knife fob or a zipper pull.

A Victorinox Waiter is the Swiss Army Knife shown, and a titanium bead was added to the lanyard/fob.

And a collage of knot #646 that I tied, which Ashley mentions in his book that the rim parts resemble the Matthew Walker knot, and that you have to carefully tighten this one to get it right.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pocket Screwdrivers need knots too...

County Comm recently sent me a couple of their new 1x4 Deluxe Technician's Pocket Screwdrivers.

Using black 0.9mm cord, I tied a Turk's head knot on one of the screwdrivers, starting with a 5 lead 4 bight knot, raised/expanded that into a 7 lead 6 bight knot, then doubled it before tightening.  With the other I started off the same, but after trying pineapple, herringbone, and Hansen variations, and thinking about using a headhunter or ginfer knot, I finally went with a Gaucho knot interweave.

The knurling on the screwdriver bodies is not aggressive, more on the smooth side, good in that it won't tear up a shirt/pant pocket, so I actually grip the knots when rotating the screwdriver in hand.  I got them plenty tight, so they don't move or slide around from where I centered them.  I trimmed and tucked the strand ends and may use a tiny dab of super/krazy glue to further secure them.

The first thing I used one for was putting the smaller phillips driver to work, removing the screw holding the battery cover on my Dungeons & Dragons electronic game, that I've had since 1982, and installed a fresh set of batteries.

The neodymium magnet in the top of the cap of the screwdriver comes in handy for holding on to any screws so they don't get lost.  A nice piece of EDC gear to have around or give as a gift for a tool nut. :)

Playing with the old school handheld game has me wondering where my Football game is.  They were popular 30+ years ago.  It was a favorite, but I haven't seen mine in a long time, probably lost in a move or maybe still hiding in a box somewhere, not good if a battery was in it...

Saturday, August 09, 2014

The Two-strand Footrope Knot

The two-strand footrope knot is #783 (pg 141) in 'The Ashley Book of Knots'.  It can make for a quick and easy to tie paracord zipper pull, pocket knife/flashlight/keyring fob or lanyard for EDC.

A couple of examples are shown with my favorite Kiko Tiki beads provided by Schmuckatelli Co.

Here's a short video tutorial that I uploaded for tying the knot.

The two-strand footrope knot paracord cross was tied with two strands of gutted paracord.  The top strand with split ring was tied first and put aside, then with the second strand, three of the knots were tied and worked close together.  The top and bottom sections are brought together and the strands from each are paired off to tie the arms out to the side, ends trimmed and melted to finish.

I used leftover paracord scraps for the cross, probably a foot and a half for the top piece and maybe two feet for the bottom, which was more than was needed.
A tightened knot of ungutted paracord uses about 4 inches of cord, so whatever your project, use that figure for how many knots you intend to tie, plus cord length of your loop, and one or two more inches for the end strands to tighten up the knot.

As an example with the neck knife, I used about a 9 inch length of paracord for the finger lanyard/fob with a 2 inch long loop(that's 4 inches of cord in the loop), one footrope knot(4 inches of cord), and end strands coming out of the knot at 1/2 inch long each(1 inch of cord).

Other examples show the knot used as a flashlight fob with titanium lanyard bead and zipper pull on a BDU pocket organizer.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Some paracord work on a Skinny Mini...

I added some navy blue paracord to a Colt Skinny Mini boot knife, doing some lattice lacing on the sheath and West Country whipping around the handle.

I ended up using just under six feet of a single strand of gutted paracord to wrap the knife handle with the West Country whipping, #3458 in 'The Ashley Book of Knots', which is fairly simple with centering your length of cord to start and then tying half knots on each side of the hand as you work from one end to the other.

The textured G10 scales offered enough friction/grip to keep the paracord from sliding off, otherwise I would have first added some silicone tape before going over it with the cord.

For the lacing on the sheath, I used a three foot length of un-gutted paracord, having to run it through the top pair of lacing grommets twice, since there were just five pairs of eyelets instead of six.

The sheath does have a belt clip on the back, which holds to MOLLE straps/pals webbing on a bag/backpack/shoulder strap/vest well enough, but the cord could be used to further secure it in place if carried in that manner.

The rivet holding the belt clip sits up inside the sheath and rubs against the center of the blade when inserting/removing it, but you can't expect too much with lower end of the spectrum imported cutting tools and accessories.  A custom kydex sheath would certainly be an improvement, and is on my 'to do' list for working with one of these days...