Tuesday, 3 January 2012

ITS Tactical Coiled Lanyard

I took a stab at the ITS Tactical coiled paracord lanyard over the Christmas holiday. I had actually tried this twice before with varying success.

On the first attempt, I used a regular-sized key coil, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get the paracord past the metal crimp. The second time through, I used a much thinner coil, but over time it really stretched out. I did not have any shrink tubing at the time, and I didn't burn the end of the paracord, so it didn't take long for it to turn into a frayed mess. Over the holiday, though, I figured I'd have some time to take another shot at the project.


I looked closely at all the coils on the rack at Canadian Tire, and noticed that some were thicker than others. After some sifting, I chose what seemed to be the thinnest one. At home, I carefully used a pair of pliers to pinch the metal crimp so that it would be about the same diameter as the coil. This time I was able to get the paracord past the metal crimp, but it got stuck about half way; it seems that part of the paracord is more narrow than the rest (for whatever reason). After some pulling, the coil separated from the crimp.

There was some cussing, but there was no way I was going to fail again. Third time's a charm right?

I slowly massaged the coil through the rest of the paracord, reset the crimp, and added the shrink tube to either end. Unfortunately the coil had spent too much time out of shape, and never went back to its original form. Not that it was entirely stretched out, but I wanted better.

Here is the third attempt. You can see the coil is slightly stretched out compared to the photo above which is the fourth attempt.
I figured I'd make another one, so that I'd have one for my work keys and one for my house keys. I went back to Crappy Tire and picked up another coil. The gear gods were smiling upon me that day: this time, the construction was a snap.

I probably had more trouble than anyone else who has tried this project. (Please do let me know if you had a rough time, as it will definitely make me feel better!) I honestly think I just got really unlucky with thick coils.

If you do want to do this project, and I think you should, take these points into consideration:
  1. Select the thinnest coil on the rack.
  2. Do not keep a flame/head on the coil too long, as it melts way faster than you would imagine.
  3. When re-shaping the metal crimp, do it slowly and carefully. Any sharp bends will get caught on the inside of the paracord.
  4. If you don't have shrink tube, burn the ends of the paracord BEFORE you slide it on.
  5. Consider the coil's use, and trim it to the length you need. The metal crimps are easy to re-attach.


4 comments:

  1. I"m going the trimmer wire route and making it from scratch. I did one up last night and it was a snap to make. The only issue was the small diameter of the trimmer line isn't the strongest but I found a 4mm line at Crappy Tire that I'm going to try out. They only carry it pre-cut at 21" lengths but for my car keys that's just fine. They also carry spools of trimmer line that's just shy of 3 mm so I may give that a try as well.

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  2. Interesting! Did you find a source for the metal crimps? Or are you just using ones that you have from old key chains?

    Also, are you keeping the wire straight or are you coiling it yourself? I had not even thought about that route.

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  3. I'm just looping the paracord and sewing it before putting on the heat shrink tubing. More work but it's one less thing for me to source out.

    I'm coiling it. I'm using an old aluminum arrow shaft to wrap it around and then place it in boiling water for 10 minutes before quenching it in cold water. The small diameter of the arrow should make for a nice tight coil.

    I'm following the instructions on this link: http://edcforums.com/showthread.php/75394-Making-a-Paracord-coated-curly-lanyard?highlight=coiled+lanyard (sorry don't know how to make it a link)

    I ended up picking up a 100' coil of 2.7 mm contractor grade trimmer line. It's pretty think and strong so should hopefully work out well. I'll let you know how it goes.

    BTW if you do end up doing GORUCK or if you just need some decent tactical/work gloves Crappy Tire has Mechanix gloves on for %40 off this week. I picked up a pair for $18.

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  4. That is an AWESOME heads up haha. I love Mechanix gloves. I wore through my last pair when I re-shingled my roof last summer. I'm going to pick up two pairs. Thanks for the heads up.

    Also, definitely keep me up to date with how your coil goes. Working with trimmer wire seems like a really cool variation. Sewing the ends is good too. I was thinking about just finishing them off with a bowline or something, but figured I'd try and stick with what the ITS tutorial had for the first few tries. In the future, when I make some more, it'd be fun to try out some different options. Cheers!

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