Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Paracord key chains

If you have read any of my posts you will quickly figure out that I am not some hardcore survivalist guy.  I don't extoll the virtues of having a bug out bag or a 10 piece kit.  I don't speak badly of those that don't have an EDC or stockpiles of toilet paper and MREs in their basement.  That being said, I'm a huge fan of paracord.  Why?  I don't know, I've always had a fascination with string and rope.  I think if you look very carefully on banisters and chair legs back home in PA where I grew up, you can still find traces of blue yarn that I tied around them.  I made pulleys and slip knots and used it to make box traps out of laundry baskets, and anything else I could think of.  I guess it stands to reason that I, after probably 30 years, still like messing around with cordage.

I've been making a few paracord bracelets lately using the cobra weave and king cobra weave.  They aren't much, but I wear one every day and so does my son.  I made him an OD Green one that he rarely takes off his wrist any more.  My brother Jim wears one that I made him and I even traded a few from posts online.  The original purpose of these bracelets was to provide an emergency supply of cordage in a survival situation, but I happen to just like they way they look.  I doubt that I will ever be in a situation where I'll have to use it to survive, but I guess you never know.

I've seen a few paracord key chains online and I figured that I would make a few.  Did you know that you can buy a whole bag of split rings in various shapes and sizes for just a few dollars?  Me either, but I know it now.  So, with my trusty bag of split rings and a few different colors of 550 paracord, I made a few key chains.  They would also be great as zipper pulls on packs as well.

they are all about 8 inches long, with the yellow one being a bit longer than the others.  I used two sizes of split rings.  The smaller one is 1/2 inch and the larger is one inch in diameter.  The thin key chains are made of a single length of paracord about 6 feet long.  The thicker ones are in the King Cobra style and have an extra 6 feet of paracord wrapped around the smaller version.

I think they came out pretty good.  They are easy to make, and cost about a dollar in materials.  I think I made all of these in about an hour or so while sitting and watching TV with my wife.  I found a few other styles that I want to try and make, but for now, I have the one pictured above attached to my car keys and it will become a permanent addition.

I'll be glad to sell you one of mine for a few bucks plus whatever shipping it costs to get it to you, but there is no need for that.  Make them yourself.  Go get some split rings and a few feet of paracord.  Need help making it?  Post a comment here and I'll help you out.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  The satisfaction of making these things yourself is worth the small amount of effort you spend in learning how to get it done.

Until next time, Happy Carving, and Happy Spring!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 7, Different name, same game

This week has really gotten me thinking.  Is this blog even about woodworking?  It depends, it has a lot or projects that are made from wood, and it takes work to make them, so maybe.  But not really.  I'm not a woodworker, at least the way I see it.  I'm a dabbler.  I mess around with all kinds of stuff.  My wife calls it ADD, and maybe that is what it is and if so, I'm fine with that.  I'm just this guy who likes to make stuff.  I like to think about things, and I enjoy learning new skills.

I renamed the blog to Woodlake Bushcraft.  First, Woodlake is where I live, and I guess bushcraft is really what I have going on here.  Spoons are a big part of it, so is green wood working, but there are other things, that I haven't even talked about that I want to explore.  I'm excited about the future and the things that I will be posting about.

I was in the garage a little while ago looking at all of these projects that I have done this week, a crazy camp spoon with a paracord lanyard, a box for my crook knife, a leather sheath, oh and this spoon, roughed out today.  I'll finish it in a week or so when I get back from my business trip.

I watched a video by Barn the Spoon and he showed these eating spoons that I liked the shape of very much.  So today I tried to make one.  It's too big to be an eating spoon, but its more of a prototype than anything else.  Maybe I'll make some smaller ones.

I like the shape of the bowl and the lack of a defined rim.  I like how it turns up at the end.  I like how the handle is just simple and round.

So there you have it, 7 days of projects.  Done.  I'm tired, mainly because of the extra hours of work I have been putting in, but also because this whole blogging thing is much harder than it appears.  I'm not very good at it, I never care for the things I write that much, I think it either sounds too simple or too wordy.  I guess it will have to be like everything else I do, a work in progress.

I'm heading to the Pacific Northwest on Sunday morning early.  I'll be out there for a week.  I have a lot of work to do, so that will be my main focus, but I have some other plans as well.  I'm taking some paracord to mess around with in the evenings.  I also plan to put together a list of things that I want to work on next.  You can be sure they will make it to this page, I can't seem to help myself.

Thanks for taking this ride with me this week.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 6, Work gets in the way, but we press on

I wish I had more to give you tonight, but the fact is, I have had very little time to work on anything other than my job.  Work has really been going crazy these last few days, I was up for a good part of the night last night dealing with issues.  It's part of the deal I guess, and a trade off that I willingly make for being able to roll out of bed, put on a sweatshirt and jeans and be at work in 10 seconds.  Not everyone is as fortunate as I am in that regard, and I am grateful for what I have.  Things are broken, things aren't working the way I want them to though, and I can tell you, I've been spending many many hours hunched over my computer screen trying to fix things.

I don't really know how many people are actually reading this every day, maybe a few are clicking on my links that I stick around here and there, but I feel the need to hold up my end of the bargain and post.  I was watching TV with my wife earlier, spending some much needed time doing not much of anything, trying to figure out what this post was going to be about.  It took me a while, but then I remembered my net needle.  I carved it a while ago and don't think I ever posted anything about it. 

So here you go, a net needle, carved from a piece of maple that I had in the garage several months ago.

It was made after watching a few videos on net making, and then brought back to the forefront of my thoughts after watching a video on tumplines.  I'll use it one day, but for now, I'm content with the knowledge that I have one and also that I can make another one if I need to. 

You know, I have been thinking about that a lot lately.  I get down on myself that my quality isn't as good as others.  I think that is part of what it means to be human, comparing yourself to others.  Maybe all of that doesn't matter so much.  Maybe the true learning is that you develop the skills.  Does it matter if your spoon or bowl, or sheath or knife is perfectly crafted?  Or is it more important to be able to carve a spoon to feed yourself?  I don't know.  I'll let others that are much smarter than I am answer that question.  I've got one last post coming tomorrow night, then I'm taking a break, but not too long, I've got more things to talk about.  Until then, happy carving everyone.