Thursday, February 15, 2007

This is a tutorial on a variation of one of the lanyards I've learned to make. It will allow you to carry 10 feet of paracord with you, using a couple of decorative knots for the lanyard, and having a loop on one end and a swivel clip, snap hook, keyring, carabiner, whatever you choose to use on the other end.  You can vary the length and use more or less cord if desired.

You can get the basic idea of what's being done from my photos. You'll need to know how to tie a lanyard knot and a Solomon bar(also called a cobra stitch, square knotting, or a Portuguese sinnet, which are the same type commonly used for making a paracord bracelet) and the king cobra stitch(just overlapping the previous cobra stitch).

I've added a YouTube video, that I made, to this tutorial, showing how to make a lanyard knot with a loop.

Supplies needed will be 10.5 feet of paracord. It's best to have the extra few inches so that when you finish and cut the remainder of the cord(if you get it finished up just right), you still have 10 feet used in the completed lanyard. I'm using 550 mil-spec paracord with 7 inner strands, but you can use other types of paracord, utility cord, line, or rope that is a similar size to paracord.

Also needed are scissors, a tape measure, a lighter(torch lighter works best for a neat burn in finishing the ends, but a regular lighter will work, or you could use a soldering iron, and even a good weatherproof glue may be used), a snap hook, swivel clip, carabiner, or a keyring will work if you don't have the other type attachments to use, and a twist tie or clothespin which will be used to hold/mark the center of the cord you'll be using.

Find the center of the length of cord and attach the twist tie or clothespin. Now you'll tie a lanyard knot keeping the twist tie in the center of a 2 inch long loop above the knot.

*Note* You can skip the lanyard knot if it seems too difficult and instead use the twist tie to tie off a 2 or 3 inch long loop at the center of the length of cord. The finished lanyard will have a slightly longer loop if you skip the lanyard knot.

Once you've finished the lanyard knot or tied off a loop, you should find that the free ends of the cord are of equal length. If not, adjust the knot/loop to even the lengths.

Now you can loop the free ends over your swivel clip/snap hook/or keyring a couple of times and tighten that up so there's a 5 inch space between the lanyard knot/loop and the base of the clip/hook/keyring.

Once you have the 5 inch length and have looped the cord onto your chosen attachment, you'll start your cobra stitches working down toward the lanyard knot. Don't make the knots too tight or too loose.

Make each knot with the same amount of tension keeping them even as you go. You're going to make 11 stitches total between the attachment and the lanyard knot. If you're doing them right, it should easily fill the 5 inch length.

Once you have those 11 stitchs, you'll turn it around and start making your king cobra stitches over the first layer working your way back toward your attachment.

Make sure that the king cobra knots evenly overlap the knots below. You'll be pulling these knots tighter(not too tight, just a firm tug on each knot) than you did with the first set on stitches. Take the time to make sure they stay neat over the underlying knots.

If you do this right, you'll come out with just the extra amount you started with over the 10 feet. I mess up sometimes and have too much or too little cord left. Just untie it as far as you think you have to, and tie it again a little tighter if you came up short or looser if you had too much left over.

Don't expect to get it right the first time. Every time I try a variation, it's a learning experience for me.
Now for finishing up. Pull the remaining cords to tighten up the last knot and closely trim off one side of the excess cord.

Use the lighter to melt the end you just cut. I wait a couple of seconds then use my thumb to press the melted end so that it securely attaches to the surrounding cord. *Be very careful, you can get a nasty burn from the melted cord. You may use a the scissors or a knife to flatten out the melted end if you want to be on the safe side. Just make sure it's a good melt so it holds like a weld. You can now tighten up the other extra end and cut/melt and press it to finish up.

If you get a good melt it'll hold up under everyday use. If you want to untie the lanyard to use the cord, you can break the weld by hard twisting or use a pen to push it from the opposite side to break it. If you just want to avoid using a flame, you might try using a soldering iron or wood burning tool, or even a weatherproof/waterproof glue can be used instead. Or tie an overhand knot and work it close up to the last knot and then trim the excess. It won't look as neat, but it'll hold.

And another finishing option is to tuck the ends into/under the last couple of knots. You can use a pair of hemostats to pull the cord ends(one at a time as it's a tight fit) up under the knots, then trim any excess and tuck to hide the cord ends.

When you're done, you can loop the end onto a keychain, knife, multi-tool, flashlight, etc...

I use the swivel clip to clip onto my belt loop and let the lanyard hang down inside my pocket.

Give it a try and have fun with it.