This past weekend I took a long cruise on my motorcycle and ended up in La Crosse, Wisconsin which is around 100 miles from my home. The purpose of the drive was to get a few more miles on my bike since the weather was good and also to see one of my favorite scenic spots in La Crosse called Grandads Bluff. This is a small park that sits on top of a high peak which overlooks the city. It is quite spectacular to see and if you every get to La Crosse it is worth the time to check it out.
I had the forethought to remember my binoculars and so I pulled them out of my closet and opened the case they were in only to find that the neck strap for them was missing. I looked all over my house for the strap and simple gave up on finding them. Probably they were lost when I moved to my home a few years ago. So to put it simply I used the binoculars without the neck strap which worked out ok and set this project in motion today to make what I needed for next time.
I did a little research online to figure out how to make the binocular neck strap using parachute cord or paracord as it is mainly called. I had some of this cord in one of my drawers next to my work table so I knew what the stuff was and where to get more. After searching online for a little while I found what I was looking for in how to make a nice looking strap. I just needed a few little items and a small jig to get started with this rather simple project. The picture above is of just a small scrap of wood with another small block glued to both ends if it. Sitting next to this little jig are two metal flag clips.
The flag clips are held in place using P-clamps on both ends of the jig. I figured out that the total length of the neck strap for the binoculars needed to be 24 inches long. The jig was 32 inches long and with the flag clips on both ends of the jig I would get the length I was looking for.
Here's what the jig looked like once both flag clip were mounted on to the P-clamps. The eyelet on the ends of the P-clamps were where I needed to tie the paracord to.
On one end of the jig I looped the paracord through the end ring of the flag clip as shown in the photo above. You can also see that the paracord is blue as well as black in color. I took the two colored cords and pushed them together and then put a lighter to them to join them. This fused the two lines together. It will make more sense why I did this as you follow along in this post.
On the opposite end of the paracord jig I looped and tied one end of the blue cord as shown above to the ring end of the other flag clip. Then I did the same for the black end of the paracord as you can see in the last photo above.
Now the looping or weaving of the paracord to actually make the neck strap begins. I turned the jig around to make it simpler for me to shoot this next sequence of photos.
The first step was to take the outer black cord and come over the inner black cord then slide it under the blue cord. Simple and easy as are the following steps.
Next take the outer blue cord and go over the inner blue cord and the first black cord then underneath the outer black cord.
Then continue with the blue cord from the last step and go over the out black cord and then again under the blue cord just as I did with the first black cord. Then you start again with the black cord as I did in the first step. The easiest way I could remember this process was to think to move the left most outer cord over two cords, under the right most outer cord, around the right most outer cord and then under the inner cord once again. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Here's what it looked like after I had done these steps over and over again about eight times or so. I had to keep everything as tight as I possibly could and had figured out the starting length of the paracord that was needed before I started weaving it together. For a two foot strap I need two pieces of paracord nine feet long. Luckily paracord is pretty inexpensive. $3.50 for fifty feet. I had the black already I just needed the blue to give it a good look.
Once I had finished weaving the strap and had come to the opposite end where the flag clip was at I had to finish it out. I tied a half knot at the end to hold the two ends of the paracord in place for starters.
To finish things off I took a paper clip and fed one end of the black paracord through it like a needle. With this then I used the paperclip to slide under four or five loops that had been already tied to feed the end under them to keep everything nice and tight and neat looking.
Here's another look at the process. It looks a bit messy in this shot but you'll have to see how it all turned out in the next photos.
In order to get the new neck strap attached to the binoculars I simply attached two key rings to the mounts that were already on it. The flag clips would then be able to be attached or detached from these rings when needed.
Here's the end result. A rather spiffy looking neck strap that clips on to my binoculars. I like the black and blue color scheme and the fact that the strap is just the right length and is comfortable around my neck. Also the strap is very strong and should hold up well for years to come. It even fits into the carrying case the binoculars are stored in! A win-win in my book for sure. The strap could also be used for a DSLR camera too. Something I will have to make again when I do spring for new photo equipment some time in the future. For now this will be an excellent replacement for the original strap that has gone missing.