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Old 20-02-2016, 09:28   #1
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para-cord

I just been fiddling with para-cord.

It's impressive stuff. Easy to work with, high quality (if you get the 'real' stuff), quite strong for most 'typical' applications, holds knots really well and can be spliced and inexpensive (about half or less of 'yachting' cord). Seems like it should get more visibility and use on boats (for lashings and such) than it does.

Here's a +1000lb test soft shackle:

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Here's a quite nice end to end splice:

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And you can do quite nice decorative work:

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Old 20-02-2016, 10:00   #2
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Re: para-cord

Interesting. What kind is the "real" stuff? Does it have a core, or is it hollow?


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Old 20-02-2016, 10:12   #3
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Re: para-cord

It has 7 internal near parallel strands

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I was surprised it was so easy to make soft shackles, because usually that is done with hollow core, but I guess the parallel internal strands make it easy to pierce.
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Old 20-02-2016, 13:04   #4
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Re: para-cord

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
It has 7 internal near parallel strands

Attachment 119318

I was surprised it was so easy to make soft shackles, because usually that is done with hollow core, but I guess the parallel internal strands make it easy to pierce.
I used it a lot back in my military days, but not for more years that I care to think. I've never spliced it or made soft shackles with it.

How about some guidelines/instructionals for soft shackles and splicing? . Pretty please?
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Old 20-02-2016, 13:12   #5
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Re: para-cord

Thanks Evans!


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Old 20-02-2016, 15:22   #6
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Re: para-cord

How does it stand up to UV and chafe?


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Old 20-02-2016, 23:09   #7
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Re: para-cord

There are six or seven military specs, that roughly equate to the number of internal kerns, ranging from 1 to 11.

The major issue with the stuff in marine use is that it is relatively weak (~550lbs) for class III (7 kerns) and has a minimum stretch of 30% at MBL.

The upsides is that it is solid nylon construction, and typically made from a reasonable quality of nylon, so it will have all the characteristics of the material. Reasonable uv resistance, reasonable chaff resistance. Etc.
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Old 21-02-2016, 07:38   #8
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Re: para-cord

and where would one find this para cord?
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Old 21-02-2016, 08:01   #9
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Re: para-cord

Uh.....Amazon?
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Old 21-02-2016, 08:13   #10
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Re: para-cord

A length of para cord should on the list right after duct tape. Don't all "prepared" persons have a few hanks stowed about?
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Old 21-02-2016, 09:22   #11
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Re: para-cord

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post

The major issue with the stuff in marine use is that it is relatively weak (~550lbs) for class III (7 kerns)


It is essentially the same strength (actually a bit stronger) as any other good quality 3mm (1/8") cord (nylon or dacron), and a whole lot less expensive than most 'marine' cord. Just for example, I am looking at Excel Pro, which is 440lbs test (in 3mm), and NER's 3mm Finish line, which is 500lbs test. So the paracord is 10-20% stronger than these similar sized marine cords.

So, I would say that relatively weak is not accurate.

It is of course not the ultimate in strength - go for dyneema (or one of the other high tech fibers) cord for that, but at 10x the price, and often not needed.

That para-cord soft shackle is 12100 lb test.

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Old 21-02-2016, 13:59   #12
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Re: para-cord

> That para-cord soft shackle is 12100 lb test.

Have you perchance added a digit somewhere there?



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Old 21-02-2016, 18:36   #13
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Re: para-cord

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post


It is essentially the same strength (actually a bit stronger) as any other good quality 3mm (1/8") cord (nylon or dacron), and a whole lot less expensive than most 'marine' cord. Just for example, I am looking at Excel Pro, which is 440lbs test (in 3mm), and NER's 3mm Finish line, which is 500lbs test. So the paracord is 10-20% stronger than these similar sized marine cords.

So, I would say that relatively weak is not accurate.

It is of course not the ultimate in strength - go for dyneema (or one of the other high tech fibers) cord for that, but at 10x the price, and often not needed.

That para-cord soft shackle is 12100 lb test.

Mil spec para-cord is actually not 3mm. The Mil-Spec doesn't actually have a size requirement, but it is almost always 4mm.

This may or may not be an issue in an application, but there is a reason the stuff is so cheap, besides it is sold by the ton. It's great for small junk lines to tie things off, but it isn't very good line compared to marine cordage.
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Old 21-02-2016, 19:18   #14
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Re: para-cord

You might find this interesting as well.

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Old 21-02-2016, 20:23   #15
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Re: para-cord

I haven't read all the posts, but I feel I need to chime in. I've spent quite a bit of time playing with para-cord and I've also spent quite a bit of time playing with rock climbing gear.

So you have to be very careful with para-cord as 550 lbs breaking strain is not much at all, shock loading you will only be able to handle 55 lbs and a 10 times increase is very likely. This is more true in climbing (because of gravity), I certainly would not trust para-cord anywhere critical. If your life depends on it, don't use it! I've seen a certain celebrity survivalist rappel on 550 para-cord, which is beyond stupid! One slip of your foot (it's very easy to do) and you'll shock load the para-cord and it WILL snap. Don't get me started on how easy it is to cut even climbing ropes under load, para-cord will have no chance if anything sharp touches it.

Now I realise my credibility might not be all that great since I chose to learn how to sail without an engine. But para-cord is a step to far for me on critical systems. The ONLY place I use para-cord on Taleisin is across the top of the bow roller to keep the mooring line from jumping out. It's been out in the sun for 4 months now and it's still fine - It's better than the shoe lace that was suggested. Oh another thing all our tramping boots and shoes have para-cord instead of laces as this stuff is incredibly useful in a survival situation.

I doubt it would be strong enough to handle the forced generated by the wind and the water, I've had to learn a healthy respect for these very quickly (see engineless sailing teaches you stuff).
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