Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DIY Paracord Fid or Paracord needle

With my renewed interest in all things paracord, I have been looking at Turks Head knots, specifically the long versions that are used for wrapping things like tool handles.  I've found several tutorials online for making them, but almost all of them say that having a paracord fid or needle would be a tremendous help.  A fid is essentially a needle that you attach to the working end of your paracord and use it to thread the paracord through tight spaces, small loops, and knots that you can't just push the cord through with your fingers.  For example, when you are tying the shark jawbone bracelet and you get down near the end it becomes quite difficult to get the cord through the middle two strands.  A paracord needle makes it an easy job.  You can buy them online from a variety of vendors, they aren't even that expensive.  You can make them yourself, though, with just a little effort and a few dollars.

I found a tutorial online on how to make them, and after a quick trip to the local Home Improvement Warehouse I was back at home with the materials I needed for this simple project.  Click on the pictures to see a larger size.

Total cost was about $2.00.  The extension isn't required and cost me 80 cents, so in reality I could have made the 2 inch fid for about a dollar.  I found these in the specialty fasteners section at Lowes.  They are called threaded posts.  It is a two piece product the post itself and then a cap or end that gets threaded on to complete the fastener.  You don't need the cap.  You just need the post.  First step is to remove the flat head.  There are several ways to do this, but I just used my rotary tool with a cut off wheel attached.

I wrapped the post in an old piece of cloth and held it with a pair of pliers while removing the end.  Make sure to put on a pair of safety goggles.  You don't want aluminum shavings in your eye!  Now you just need to round over the cut end of the post.  You don't want too fine a point, but you want it to be sharp enough to fit through small holes in your paracord projects.  I just wrapped the end in electrical tape and chucked it in my drill.  I clamped an old file to my bench and slowly filed the cut end into a point.

Again, just keep your safety glasses on.  Take your time, and keep stopping to check your progress.  I had to turn the file around to even out the tip, but it only took a few minutes to get it close enough.  I then used the 220 grit sanding block in the picture to make the point smooth and even.  That's it!  I think the whole process took about 15 minutes maybe?  That included me looking for my safety glasses and the cut off wheel for my rotary tool.

Attaching your paracord to the needle is a little tricky but not really that big of a deal.  I cut the end of my cord at an angle and then melt it with a lighter.  I found that having a nice bit of melted plastic in a pointed knob shape at the end of the cord makes for a really tight fit.  Fit the melted end into the end of the needle and screw it on.  The threads will catch the cord and hold it tight.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any comments or questions post them here and I'll do my best to answer.  Go make something with your hands!  I promise you, its a wonderful feeling.