Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Sling - A Tutorial

Growing up the only material I thought slings were made of was leather. In a pinch I would use my boot laces and cut out the tongue of my boot for a pouch but by and large, they were all leather or mostly leather.

Skipping ahead well now I know slings are made from many different kinds of material, wool, plant fiber, animal hair, leather, etc. In my search for the perfect combination or type of sling, besides the Chamorro sling my personal everyday favorite sling is a combination of leather and jute.

But it's not just the material used, it is also the way the cords are attached to the pouch to provide a clean release when any stone is thrown. Here's my everyday sling on the left. I made this sling using a 4 ounce soft elk hide for the pouch with braided jute cord tapered on the release cord, again to provide a clean release. I have found that this design is the best of both worlds using strong braided cords with a soft leather pouch that holds the ammo very well.

This is how it's done. My work and cutting pad has a one inch by one inch grid to show the size of materials and components.

Cut out your pouch. The size is part personal preference but a five inch long, two inch wide pouch, give or take is what is shown here. The overall length of pouch that you will need for this sling is eight inches. Your pouch should form narrow tabs as shown here. These tabs along with the holes punched into the pouch are how you will attach your anchor and release cords. As show, you will also need to make two small tear drop shapped pieces that will act as reinforcement where the slings cords attach.

For a five strand braid begin by cutting six strands about eight feet long. You will use three eight foot strands per side. Put three of the six strands together to form a bundle. Fold your three strand bundle in half to form six strands from where you will braid your anchor and release cords. Where the six strands are folded and form three loops in the middle of the bundle; push these looped cords through the holes made in your pouch and reinforcement tabs as shown.

Next fold the ends of your leather pouch and reinforcement tab through the cord loop and pull the strands tight. Now you have six strands securely attached to each side your pouch. From here it's just a simple matter of braiding and blending your cords to form your relase and anchor cords.
Here is the finished sling made with three ounce buckskin and jute fiber. The release cord begins with a five strand braid, tapering slowly then finishing off with a thin four strand round braid. The anchor loop has a soft leather padding added for comfort. The way the cords are attached hold the stone in the pouch and keeps the cords separated at their anchor point to the sling's pouch. So far I've never had any tangles of cords or hang up with the release no matter what style I am using to throw or what kind of ammo being thrown. Tomorrow may show me something different but for today, this is the best design I've used. The only addition besides the padded finger loop has been the over-braid reinforcement of the release cord where it attaches to the pouch. I have found that this is an area that shows some minor wear on my current sling, probably because of the day I spent at the railroad tracks throwing sharp angular stones.

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