The why and how on pre and post shrinking paracord / 550 cord

Posted by Stacy on 4/15/2013

Here is is a tip for both beginers and experts alike. Paracord shrinkage is something many beginers have learned about after making something and then having it shrink.


Speaker 1: Hey, it's Kevin, the paracordist. A frequently asked question on my website is why do I preshrink paracord? As I�ve mentioned in a number of my videos and blog post. Lesser asked question, but still equally important is why or when do I post-shrink paracord?

So there are two questions here, first, why? I always make it a habit to preshrink size sensitive items. Now, what I mean by size sensitive? The best example is probably a bracelet. If you're custom making a bracelet for a customer and they give you a certain wrist size and you make the bracelet to accommodate that size, if you don't preshrink the paracord, then the person will inevitably get that bracelet wet, whether intentionally or by accident and it will shrink and if it was a close fit to begin with, it will be too tight or uncomfortable after the fact, and that�s not good business. Pre-shrink paracord before making paracord bracelets. Another item and this one I learnt the hard way, I should have thought of it before hand, but I was in such a hurry to get this thing completed. This is what I call the paracord iPhone case or it's also a can cozy. This draw string case was made around a can, beer can or a soda can, but I didn�t preshrink the paracord. When I was finished and having realized that I chose not to send it to the customer, instead I made another one and I kept this for myself because once it gets wrapped even from the condensation of the can, it's going to shrink and in this case this one did and it no longer fits a can, which is what it was made on to begin with. It still fits my phone, so it makes a good phone case, pouch or whatever, but that was the lesson learned.

Another item that I typically preshrink are my PSK lanyards, it's a custom knife lanyard that I designed, the reason I preshrink it is because the measurements and loops are sized to the customers hand, wrist and hatchet or knife. If the cord wasn�t preshrunk and the item is made up and delivered it would soon find itself an improper fit due to shrinkage of the paracord. That�s a couple of examples of preshrink.

Now, I think the factor, or the fact that paracord shrinks is a very powerful piece of knowledge to have in your tool kit. The reason being, you can get certain paracord creations tighter than otherwise humanly possible, by shrinking the cord after you've made the project. Now, I take this knowledge and I put it to use in knife wraps, hatchet wraps, using the long Turks, head knot, as you see here, that I�ve done my fiskars hatchet with, rather than kill your ligaments and joints working a knot like this tight you get snug, using a comfortable amount of effort, and then you can very carefully pour boiling water over the work after the fact in getting a significant shrink out of it that tightens the knot, really immovable these strands, it feels hard as a rock and you could never accomplish that level of tightness without post-shrinking the project. I also do the same on these Turks heads on this hiking staff, my hiking stick here. Good examples of, reasons to post shrink paracord. Others are the monkey's fist creations. These aren�t size sensitive items, a monkey's fist is made and you really want it to be as tight as possible. So, I make something like this monkey self defense key chain and I shrink it after the fact, drop the whole thing in boiling water, I�ll show you how to do that in a few moments.

Another item, the steel saints lanyard. This monkey's fist here is a large, eight pass monkey's fist on an inch and a half still bearing. It's something that you want to be very, very tight, after making the monkeys fist, I would shrink the cord and I would create the rest of the lanyard. This particular lanyard, if you haven't seen it before, has a sliding manrope knot, this lanyard is adjustable length. Shrinking the manrope knot after it's tied will help give you the tightness you want so you get resistance to that slide.

And then the last I guess it's just another example, something I threw together recently, it doesn�t even have a name yet, it's basically a self defense keychain, but post-shrinking it tightened up this monkey's fist and made this king cobra a little bit stiffer, very much like a black jack would be.

So hopefully that helps. Next I�ll show you this specifics on how I preshrink my paracord. I have ten feet of black paracord and a pot of water that has reached a rolling boil. I�m simply going to grab the paracord, drop it in the water, make sure it gets fully submerged, you only need to leave it in there for a few seconds 10, 15 seconds at the most, all the shrinking will pretty much occur in that time and they can pull it off, pull it out, shake off the excess water.

Now the majority of the shrinking in my experience is just happened. We�re going to take this apart and measure it, it was 10 feet to start with, we�ll see when I end up with, then I'll put it next to a heat source to completely dry and measure it again, see if I get any extra shrink out of it. Here it is, I don't know if you can see it very well the light, but we�re at nine foot six inches, six inches of shrinking, the ten foot piece of cord, that�s a 5% reduction in the overall length.
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