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Pictorial: How I 550 Haft Warp

550 paracord has been called the "duct tape of the rope world" and is widely recognized within the survival and preparedness community for its adaptive usefulness. But have you ever needed some cord and found you didn't have any around? For this reason many construct paracord bracelets, lanyards, and hat wraps so that -- when the need arises -- it can be unwound and utilized as required. This pictorial demonstrates a method for wrapping tomahawk or axe handles (commonly called "hafts"), however, the technique demonstrated in this pictorial can be adapted for a wide variety of tools and knives. So sit back and enjoy the show and, if you have any questions, please visit us at www.PreparedToLive.org!

By Q

The first order of business is to find a man friendly area and for this particular project I choose the basement: the most woman unfriendly area available. They will only criticize the enormous waste of time you are about to undertake, thereby distracting you from your mission: haft-wrapping perfection! Next, put on a good show, preferably one with guns, blades, explosions...and men dying for noble principals. This show was perfect, except that Tom Cruise lived.

First I'll drill a lanyard hole, which will come in handy when I cord wrap. This haft is 1.25 inches wide, so I will drill 10/16's of an inch up from the bottom. I'll press a pilot hole in the haft because I don't have a drill press so I'll have to drill by hand.

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Pictorial: How I 550 Haft Warp

Next I'll drill by hand with my haft secured in a vice to ensure there is no slippage as I drill.

By Q

Some of my lanyard holes are straighter than others. Sometimes I get lucky. This one came out ok.

I'll clean up the lanyard hole buy rounding out and smoothing the edges a bit with a razor blade and some sand paper. I can't find that rat-tail file! Use it...put it back where it belongs. Use it...put it back where it belongs. Use it...put it back where it belongs. Done and not too bad this time!

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Pictorial: How I 550 Haft Warp

Now I'm ready to begin wrapping, but I need to protect myself from the edge. I didn't used to do this, until I cut my palm a haft or two ago. If you don't have one of these fancy do-dads, tape a rag or something onto the edge. Better safe then sorry, eh?

By Q

Now I measure out the length of 550 cord I want for my wrap. Wind cord (dry run it) around the haft until the wrap is as high on the haft as desired, then cut the cord. In this case I'm using an eighteen (18) foot length of cord. Next, pass the cord through the lanyard hole and tie a knot in the end of the 550 cord. Note: Soak your paracord in water for half an hour before wrapping. I've read that soaking the cord before wrapping causes the cord to shrink as it dries on the haft, resulting in a tighter wrap. I don't know if this is true, but I always soak before I wrap. In this pictorial I did not soak, because I'm lazy...and because this haft is not yet finished.

Now I'll build my "head rig" which is a very simple -- and immensely helpful -- method for keeping tension on the paracord as I wrap it around the haft. In addition, the head rig helps keep the "vertical loop" straight and tensely drawn/taut while wrapping paracord around the haft.

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Pictorial: How I 550 Haft Warp

Now I create my vertical loop by passing the cord up from the lanyard hole, through the head rig and back down the haft.

By Q

I'm ready to begin my wrap! The key to a good wrap is tension. The more tension the better my finished wrap will be. Although I didn't keep much tension on the wrap for this pictorial, you'll want to try to keep your cord as tight and tense as possible. Work slow. Your hands and fingers will cramp, but keep that tension strong!

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Pictorial: How I 550 Haft Warp

If you're sloppy like me you'll notice your wrap turns aren't tight and that there are spaces between your turns, like this...

By Q

Stop wrapping, maintain tension, and tighten/pull your turns together to remove the spaces, as shown here. Tightening your turns is hard, so it's better to make sure you wrap your turns tight in the first place.

Then keep wrapping, wrappin', wrappin'...keep that cord a wrappin'! And make sure that you keep the tension on the paracord strong!

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Pictorial: How I 550 Haft Warp

When you reach the end of your cord, pass it through the vertical loop on the head end of your haft.

By Q

Time to stop and wipe a tear from my eye. I hope I die with dignity, not cryin' for my mama and begging to be saved. Wait a freakin' second! What am I gettin' so choked up about? This is a $100,000,000 Hollywood blockbuster...and I detest Tom Cruise. Back to wrappin' sucker!

That's better. Untie and remove your head rig to release the vertical loop. Yo!!! Slacker!!! I told you to keep that tension tight!!!

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Pictorial: How I 550 Haft Warp

By Q

Next, untie your lanyard hole knot and pull the cord through the lanyard hole.

Grab the cord on the lanyard hole end with a pair of pliers and pull it hard: this will tighten the vertical loop on the head end causing the vertical loop to clamp down tight on the head end paracord you previously tucked under the vertical loop.

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Pictorial: How I 550 Haft Warp

Cut and melt the cord on the head end.

By Q

Cut and melt the cord on the lanyard hole end.

Let it dry and you're done!

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Pictorial: How I 550 Haft Warp

By Q

A special thank you, credit, and tribute belongs to Ranger Rick from whom I first learned this technique. You can visit Ranger Rick's web pages at http://www.therangerdigest.com. Here is an image from Ranger Rick's page which demonstrates his paracord wrapping technique for knives.

Subsequent Follow-up: A member of an online community I belong to advised that the technique demonstrated in this pictorial is termed "Whipping." This from Wikipedia: "The common whipping is the simplest type of whipping knot, a series of knots intended to stop a rope from unraveling. As it can slip off of the rope easily, the common whipping should not be used for rope ends that will be handled. This whipping knot is also called 'wolf' whipping in some parts of the world. The 'Hangman's knot' is a variation of this whipping knot." Learn more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_whipping

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Microsoft Word - Pictorial - How I 550 Haft Warp.doc