Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cordage: Back at it

Weaving paracord is good therapy. It soothes mind and soul in the same way as, say, playing golf -- either it eliminates the need for prescription medication, or it's an express trip to the pharmacy.

I don't play golf.

It's been a year or so since I first took up the paracord pastime in earnest. I braided the practical stuff into lanyards and fobs, tethers and bracelets, Incorporating clips, rings and, of course, the requisite skull beads. If I do say so myself, some of the results were pretty damned cool.

After several months, however, the creative tide ebbed and my interest waned. I found myself making useless baubles, mostly from scraps. Boxing up the remaining supplies, I stowed them in my office closet and moved on.

A length of paracord is an essential part of any survival kit or bug-out bag. A couple of 100-foot hanks live in our family emergency stores and we keep a bundle in each vehicle. A homemade bracelet is an easy way to carry 20 feet of paracord on my walks in the woods.

Its utility is endless -- I just got tired of working with it. Then yesterday, I put paracord together with another essential, a firesteel, and started weaving again.

I'm not the first to capture a firesteel within a cross-braid. Given my penchant for preparedness, though, fashioning two must-have survival items into a handy fob seemed like a great idea. A half-hour later it was finished -- one full-size firesteel (sans handle) surrounded by about ten feet of intact (not gutted) paracord, with a small split-ring on one end.

For a first attempt, it's not half bad. The next one will be better.

The Shakers, known for their simple furniture, take a great approach to design and craft:
"Do not make a thing unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, do not hesitate to make it beautiful."
The humble object I created yesterday fulfills necessary and useful quite well, I think. I'll keep working on the beautiful part.