Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cord Locks for Paracord

Our third installment on Paracord Hardware is here! This time it's all about the Cord Lock.

This particular piece of paracord paraphenalia is lesser known and used in the paracording world, but is no less useful.

Ball Cord Locks come in various sizes.
These Cord Locks can come in all sorts of styles, sizes and colors...they can even come in custom shapes like grenades or teddy bears!

The styles most commonly seen are barrel cord locks (long and thin), ball cord locks (self-explanatory), button cord locks (short and stout) and zipper pull cord ends (all kinds!). Each of these cord locks can have either one or two holes for the insertion of cord. These cord locks have a specific look, feel and use, so you get to decide what you are going for depending on the project or craft that you are constructing.


The size of a cord lock is
generally measure by the
hole size where you would
be inserting the cord, such as
with this Barrel Cord Lock.
Size-wise, it's no surprise that cord locks can range from small to large. The size of the entire cord lock is relative to the type of cord lock that you are using, some being thinner or fatter, long or short. That being said, the size of the hole for the cord varies only slightly, allowing you to fit one to three strands of cord depending on if the cord is ungutted or not. For example, take a look at this picture with the 6mm and 8mm Ball Cord Lock. While the hole size increases only slightly from 6mm to 8mm, the entirety of the Ball Cord Lock is significantly bulkier.

Color... not much to say here, besides the fact that they come in every color you can imagine. Makes things a lot easier to coordinate! As you would expect, black, white and clear the most common of the bunch.

Zipper Pulls can also be considered cord locks,
and are very functional.

From what I've seen, cord locks are used for very specific crafts. These include knife/flashlight/whatever lanyards, necklaces and neck lanyards, zipper pulls, game calls, pouch cinches, keeping items threaded onto paracord, and a few other possibilities.

What do you use Cord Locks for? Anything not listed here? What are your favorite types of Cord Locks? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Stainless Steel Shackles for Paracord

Whoa, where have I been? Life happens, I suppose. But, as promised, here's the second installment of short & sweet posts about Paracord Hardware: Stainless Steel Shackles!

SS Shackles come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, colors and adjustable varieties.

Stainless Shackles generally come in two styles:
D-shaped and Bow-Shaped
The two most common sizes available are the 4mm and 5mm SS shackles, for smaller and larger projects, respectively. The size indicates the diameter of the steel; the larger the size, the beefier it looks. The threaded pins of either size can accommodate 2 strands of Type III 550 Paracord. These shackles can hold thousands of pounds, so be ridiculously careful when wearing these with your paracord bracelet. You get your wrist caught up in something and you might have a dislocated shoulder or a missing hand at the end of the day.

"D" and Bow shaped shackles are the most familiar to the Paracording Community. The Bow shackle has a much larger loop, allowing it to take loads from all directions. However, it's overall strength is reduced because of this. The "D" shackle is shaped like the loop of a chain, allowing it to take heavy loads in line with itself. Heavy side loads would cause the shackle to twist or bend. (credit to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shackle) Each has its own merits, but many people seem to favor the shape of the "D" shackles.

Paracord shackles can come in whatever color your little creative heart desires... especially if you can make a custom order with the manufacturer of said shackles. However, market availability may be a little more limited. The most common colors available are chrome/silver and black; the lesser common are gunmetal, red, blue, green and pink.

5mm Shackles can come with an adjustable bit
with an oval-shaped hole to fit 2 strands of 550 paracord.
The unique aspect about these shackles is that they have an optional adjustable bit, meaning you can change the size/tightness of your paracord bracelets. 4mm shackles have an adjustable bit with two extra sizing holes, and the 5mm shackles have three. Exclusive to the 5mm shackle is another adjustor bit that has 3 sizing holes with the last hole being a wide oval, instead of circular. The round sizing holes can fit one strand of Type III 550 Paracord, and the oval sizing hole can hold two strands.

One final thing that you might notice about the paracord shackles on the market is their different threaded pins. Some pins have a flattened head with a small hole, and others have a knurled end. Honestly, it's all a matter of preference at this point. You can thread a little hanging charm through the "holed" pin (or just leave it alone altogether), or you can go with a cleaner look and opt for the knurled pin, which enables you to grip the pin a little better. Totally up to you.

Well, that about sums up the Paracord shackle. What style do you prefer? Do you even like the SS shackle at all? More of a plastic buckle person? Let me know in the comments below!