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Paracord Whips

Discussion in 'Do-It-Yourself & Gear Modifications' started by FullContactGEEK, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. FullContactGEEK

    FullContactGEEK Loaded Pockets

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    What's inside?
     
  2. choubbi

    choubbi Loaded Pockets

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    I started this one a few months ago (talk about a lack of motivation), but IIRC, that's bead chain just like my other whips, same lengths (1', 2', 3', all three in uncored paracord 6" longer, and a 6' paracord strand with the inner core still in). All that wrapped in duct tape, with a black 8-plait around that, and the brown 12-plait making the outer layer.
     
  3. Weaver

    Weaver Loaded Pockets

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    Tried a sample piece of paracord core w/BBs inside. It's much heavier than the standard paracord, and my worries that the BBs would grind against each other and wear away to nothing seem to be totally unfounded; the BBs don't touch due to the paracord's tendancy to need to stretch to accomodate them. Instead of them being stacked right on top of each other, there's always a tiny gap between. This means total flexibility and great weight!

    I use a pair of scissors to cut one end, and seal off the other end. Then I use a small aluminum knitting needle to force open the unsealed end, pop a BB in, and grab the end with a pair of foreceps I bought for seven bucks at Menard's. If you lay down the paracord on a hard surface, lay the knitting needle across the cord, and use your hand and foreceps as a fulcrum and lever, you can force the BB down through the paracord with great ease. After the first inch or so, you can just slide the knitting needle while pulling the cord.

    I intend to implement the BB-loaded paracord in my next design, which should be started soon.

    NOTE: In Tony Layzell's tutorial, bead chain is suggested, as well as a tie-off at the last ball in the chain, to keep it in place. I find this to be largely unnecessary, since I found a better way of cutting the cord. I bought a nifty little soldering gun for $20 at Lowe's, which came with a rope cutting bit on it. When that sucker heats up fully, it'll knife right through the paracord. Not only that, but it also has the impressive side-effect of self-sealing when the ends cool!

    It is my theory that using this soldering gun to cut the handle end, prior to tying the heel knot, will cut out the need for using a lighter to melt the ends together. Instead you just slice it off with the rope cutting bit and let it cool. There's also a smoother you can use to treat any inconsistencies after it's all shored up. All in all, it should be neater and more efficient than the techniques I was originally taught.

    This also means that, by sealing both ends of the paracord core strands, the BBs should be adequately trapped without the need for any sort of tie-off. I'm concerned about breakage under whipping stress, but the belly and overlay should be enough to keep the BBs trapped anyway, even if they do escape the core strands.

    More on this when I've completed 5.0! ^_^
     
  4. FullContactGEEK

    FullContactGEEK Loaded Pockets

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    These are actually non-issues. Once you can braid tightly and can create a good taper, your binding and the braiding itself takes care if keeping things in place generally. Breakage will tend to happen either in the transition joint itself or in the binding and reinforcement near the transition.
     
  5. FullContactGEEK

    FullContactGEEK Loaded Pockets

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    8" nail handle?
     
  6. choubbi

    choubbi Loaded Pockets

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    7" nail handle (the nail has a 1/4" diameter).
    I could not find any bigger nail in the hardware stores around me.

    BTW, do you have a pic of the electrical wire you use for the belly (stripped so that I can see what's inside) ? If I can find something similar here, I'll probably make my next whip with that instead of ball chain.
     
  7. Weaver

    Weaver Loaded Pockets

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    Found a better technique for installing BBs in the core strands.

    I use the knitting needle to widen the end, then melt it to prevent fraying while it's still on the needle. This also stops it closing up on me, and fixes the end in its widest and most open position. Then I pop in the BB, grab the end with foreceps, and use a pair of round-nose pliers to slide it down the length of the strand.

    I chose the round-nose pliers to reduce abrasion, which is still a problem with this technique. My core strands start off nice and neat on one end, but are gradually fuzzier as you get toward the other end. I'm not certain there's any real damage being done; at least, not enough to threaten breakage or premature failure of the core material. More research is needed.

    The core strands are HEAVY. I didn't get this kind of weight from the phone cord I used in my first whip! They're also much more flexible than phone cord, which makes it -in my estimation- vastly superior.

    I'm starting the first belly today.
     
  8. FullContactGEEK

    FullContactGEEK Loaded Pockets

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    It's just standard 3 wire extension cord, 14 or 16 gauge. Buy the stuff with 3 prongs and it will have 3 wires.
     
  9. FullContactGEEK

    FullContactGEEK Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah, this is pretty much exactly how most people do it. If the sheathing you use is large enough and the shot small enough, some use a narrow tip plastic condiment bottle to pour them in. I've used a scoop and a paper funnel. With the narrow sheathing, I've used the pliers method too. But melting the end open is key.

    Yeah, this is also a common revelation amongst the new makers. But once you make a lot of different whips you will come to see how different cores get you different results based on what you want out of the whip. Shot and BB cores have some initial flexibility compared to a wire core, but it's temporary as a wire core will break in just fine after a bit (although your original choice of wire may not have been ideal). And a heavier whip CAN often be easier to crack for a novice, but after a while it can be tiresome or it might be too slow for rapid multicracking sequences. It depends on what you want. Also, one eventually gets over the need to make as loud a crack as possible and your technique improves to the point where the lighter whips make sense. Honestly, all my early whips were heavy cored. They were way fun. But I can see now that it was totally not necessary unless there was a specific reason for it.
     
  10. Weaver

    Weaver Loaded Pockets

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    Actually, that's a confession on my part. I am not in it just for the cracking. I want my whips to be capable of self-defense, or defense of home and hearth, should the need arise.

    Truth be told, I want to explore as much of the craft as I can, and that means going into all possible applications of the tool, including combat. I hope I never need to use it for that, but if I'm going to make whips at all, I need to be able to do it all the way.

    Besides, custom orders are going to happen; that's just an inevitable reality of any craft intended for eventual sale. Somebody is going to want one for some heavy duty applications.

    ~shrug~ At the end of the day, I'm learning more about whips with every new design I try. The more I learn about them, the more I learn about my own personal preferences in relation to them. I don't get as much satisfaction out of my lighter whips as I'd like. I'll try the heavy one and see if I can balance it out in later designs. Who knows? I could stumble across a perfect weight-length ratio.

    Next time, I think I'll try punched-link foxtail chain from the local hardware store. Since the links are individually punched, not butted or welded together, then bent around each other to form a chain, breakage under anything less than the chain's rated load limit is nearly impossible. It should be idea for a whip core.

    But you're right: I should experiment with all kinds of core materials, and all kinds of whip designs. How can I say I like it heavy if I haven't tried it light?

    I'll let you know how 5.0 turns out. Until then, keep on crackin'!
     
  11. FullContactGEEK

    FullContactGEEK Loaded Pockets

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    I totally understand where you are coming from. I make mine more for martial interest than sport cracking or any of that. Yes, a heavier whip is more useful as a combative whip, in my estimation, at least, but it can't be too heavy nor too long (although there appears to be some Filipino whip systems that would beg to differ). I made a short 4' fighting bullwhip that was moderately heavy with a wire core that went almost all the way to the point so that no matter how you hit with it, it would sting in a major way, yet be plenty flexible for wraps and binding if needed. And a bit of lead in the butt end to make a nice impact should that end come to bear. :) Having said that, i'd much prefer a blade over a whip for most kinds of defense. I think the whip is an excellent tool for line familiarization and movement flow and timing; a developmental tool rather than the actual defensive tool.

    The twisted chain is pretty nice. I've used that for core material along side bead chain to get a nice weight balance. I think there is a picture of it early in this thread. I suspect also that the breakage issue is also not as bad as you imagine.
     
  12. Weaver

    Weaver Loaded Pockets

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    I'm concerned that, during a strike, the impact load would exceed the rated impact load for the chain and snap it like a twig. Sash and Plumber's chain is constructed just like Foxtail in that it is a solid ring, with no seams, folded back on itself and linked through others in the same way. For its size and material, it is much stronger than any butted or welded chain.

    I think the shock limit was something like 130 lbs on the sash chain I saw online.

    My other concern is that it may not live up to the break strength of the nylon itself. I want a core material as strong as the material the whip is made from. Realizing that decored paracord does NOT hold its rated weight, it is still stronger than most any other material I've played with. I would want a core of equal strength.

    The only way I could see it being a non-issue is if the chain is never fully extended or stressed during a strike. The paracord sheathing would take the brunt of that force instead, leaving the chain inside it room to extend, thus expending the intertial forces before reaching its break strength.

    As I'm so fond of saying: More research is needed.
     
  13. FullContactGEEK

    FullContactGEEK Loaded Pockets

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    With respect, I think you are forgetting one crucial thing...when a whip is cored with shot or BBs, the pellets are not attached to each other and that doesn't impair the whip's functioning at all. The core itself is encased in the nylon braiding and it makes little to no difference if the core is one long chain or multiple sections as long as the weight distribution is good and that the binding is tight enough that the weight can't shift.
     
  14. FullContactGEEK

    FullContactGEEK Loaded Pockets

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    Also I think the physics of the strike made with a whip is different than you might think. Unless the whip is entirely made of chain (there are whips made out of chainmail, for example), the fact that it is sheathed in so many layers of nylon makes a big difference.
     
  15. Nc527

    Nc527 Empty Pockets

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    Well people, it is done, my first whip!





    [img width=640 height=481]http://survivalconcepts.webs.com/dons%2050th%20004.JPG[/img]


    Close up of the cracker, made from all purpose nylon thread




    [img width=640 height=481]http://survivalconcepts.webs.com/dons%2050th%20005.JPG[/img]




    A pic showing the pattern in the braid



    [img width=640 height=481]http://survivalconcepts.webs.com/dons%2050th%20006.JPG[/img]




    It took me almost 11 hours to build, and I can say I am very proud of my first whip. I cannot do the volley with the whip for some reason. What do you guys think of my first whip? FYI: I could never sell whips, they take to long to make lol.
     
  16. choubbi

    choubbi Loaded Pockets

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    Very nice first whip, Nc527 ! My first whip was way less good looking.
     
  17. FullContactGEEK

    FullContactGEEK Loaded Pockets

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    I agree. Not bad. The plaiting looks like it spirals so that usually means your pulls weren't quite equal on either side and the transition point is too thick, but these are things that everyone doesn't quite get right early on. I say bravo.
     
  18. Weaver

    Weaver Loaded Pockets

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    Having difficulty with my transitions from 8-6 and from 6-4. There's a dip in the weave that makes it look like somebody sliced off a small portion of the whip with a knife. I'll try to get a picture later today.

    Any idea what causes this? All of my other transitions are smooth as a baby's bottom, and I have done nothing different for these two drops. Is there something about the nature of the weave that causes it to misbehave in 6 and 4?
     
  19. FullContactGEEK

    FullContactGEEK Loaded Pockets

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    All drops need to take the core diameter into consideration as well as the change in diameter with the addition of the dropped strands. This is especially true when you get down to the narrower parts of the whip as lumps and gaps can easily form as you have discovered. There are a few ways of adjusting the drop method to try and keep the changes clean but it requires experimentation. Often the problems occur when you drop too early.
     
  20. Weaver

    Weaver Loaded Pockets

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    Tried Bernie's (YouTube) method of cracker construction and fitting, and with astonishing success. I tried Jute twine first, which failed on the integrity test; it kept losing enough material in the fray that it would eventually slip the hitch I put into place to keep the fray from spreading. After my failure wtih the Jute, I tried cotton string, which worked a bit better, and produced a sharper crack, but it still lost material.

    Finally I settled on some polypropylene twine I bought on the cheap from a local retailler. This stuff is dynamite. It frays well, holds a knot, and absolutely will not budge. Once I got it firmly hitched (a not-too-well-known website suggested making a small loop in the end of the fall, then fitting the loop of the cracker over it, and taking the working end of the cracker through the fall loop, then tightening), the poly twine made a tremendous and very satisfying crack.

    It's tough, it's thick, it's durable, and it performs. I like to melt the hitch a little, to prevent it moving around. Will post pictures when able.