Ok, so this is not strictly backpacking related, but it involves 550 paracord, knot tying, some creative use of wood glue, and the final result is pretty darn cool, so I thought I'd share it anyway.
A woggle, for those of you that have never heard the term, is a device used to fasten the neckerchief, or scarf, that is worn as part of the Boy Scout uniform. I can remember making these when I was in the British Cub Scouts and was reminded of them when I stumbled upon a really nice step-by-step illustration showing how they are made.
I thought that I could use up some of my paracord by making my own woggle that I could then share with all of my Tiger Cubs, now that I am a Den leader. Typically the woggle is not secured, so that the cord could be used by the scout if they needed it for something in a pinch. However, for the purpose of being able to have mine handed around and studied by a bunch of very eager Tiger Cubs, I decided to make mine somewhat more bullet-proof.
Using the step-by-step illustration previously mentioned, I began wrapping some paracord around a tube to fashion my woggle. The tube I used was actually the long part of a turkey baster - its what I had at hand! After working the paracord as tight as I could get it to form a neatly shaped Turk's Head knot, I trimmed the two loose ends of the paracord, making sure that they both ended up on the inside of the knot. In order to do that I had to slide the woggle on and off the tube a few times, but it easily retained it's shape.
This is the point at which I got a little creative. I poured a small amount of Titebond wood glue into a plastic cup and added a few teaspoons of warm water. I stirred the mixture around until I had a very thin/runny version of glue. Then, while leaving the tied woggle on the tube, I liberally painted the paracord with the watery glue mixture. Once it was well and truly soaked, I left the woggle in a warm place to dry overnight.
The next day I repeated the process, slathering on another coat of the watery glue mixture and leaving the woggle on the tube to dry overnight. When I finally removed the woggle from the tube the next day it felt like a piece of rock in my hand. The wood glue mixture had completely penetrated the paracord and as it dried it turned the paracord totally hard.
The result is a paracord woggle that won't come undone or be easily squashed when it is handled. I can tap it on a table and it sounds like it's made of wood. I can't wait to share this with my Tiger Cubs to see what they think. They'll probably just yawn!
Anyway, I thought it was a novel way to use paracord and in such a way that you can make it set hard and maintain its shape. This would be a great way to create a set of tied knots that can be used as examples without them coming undone. It was a lot of fun to make and I have some more ideas of how I might use this next.
Have you ever used glue with paracord or any other cord to make it set hard like this?
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Brian is a Charlotte based backpacker, gear junkie, runner, and CrossFit(er). Originally from Southampton, England, Brian has lived in the US for over 20 years, finally settling in North Carolina. He spends as much time backpacking as his busy work schedule and family life will allow.