Using Cordage: The One-String Sling
(As featured in the September 2010 issue of Practically Seeking)
The ability to improvise and adapt is paramount to a successful survival strategy.
Used for centuries by many different cultures, the Sling has proven it's worth as a simple but highly-effective weapon for gathering food or smiting foes.
The One String Sling can be fabricated
from a single piece of cordage in minutes, and the technique can be adapted
to many other uses, such as a tumpline for carrying burdens. While this
sling can be made out of any type of reasonably strong cordage, in the
photos below we are using hardware store nylon string, as it is easiet
to see details.
Now let's get started!
Step-by-step Instructions on How to make a One-String Sling
- Cut a length of cordage that is twice the length as from the tip of your index finger to the outside edge of your opposite shoulder.
- Hold the cordage at one end and measure in from the tip of your index
finger to the center of that arm's shoulder joint and place a mark at
- Lay your marked cordage down on a flat surface, and working from that mark toward the opposite end, place the palm of your hand right on the edge of the mark and mark the cordage again on the other side of your hand. Working down the length of the cordage, do this 6 more times, making each mark a full hand-width apart, for a total of 8 marks. This will make a pouch for a projectile about the size of a golf or tennis ball.
- Beginning at the second mark and stopping at the second-to-last mark, fold the string on each of the marks so they lay parallel to each other in an multi-curved "S" shape, with long ends running out straight in opposite directions. You should have three curved sections of your cordage at each end with a long "tail" running off in both directions.
- Beginning with either end of your "S", carefully pick up the curved section that is closest to the "tail" and place it on top of the center loop. Next, take the other curve and stack it on top of the other two loops. (Be sure to keep the opposite end secured and those "S-curves" flat.)
- Secure the other end of your "S", where the strands should still be in their curves, with a finger or weight so they cannot move while you tie your knot in the opposite end.
- Going back to the end with your stacked loops, take the long "tail" of
cordage from that end and wrap it OVER the top of the loops, then around
and under the bottom of the loops, fully encircling your still-stacked
- Take the end of your "tail" and place it under the wrap that
crosses over the top of the strands and poke it through the loops to create
your knot. Snug this knot down carefully, making sure it encompasses all
the strands. Essentially you have created an overhand knot with the
main cord running through the loops, which will prevent the knot from slipping.
- Repeat steps 5-8 for the opposite side.
- Tie a retaining loop on the longer end of your cordage, and a small "grip knot" on the opposite, shorter end. Thread the grip knot end through the retaining loop to provide a perfect-fit loop for your thumb to secure your hold.
- Your pouch should be centered between your thumb loop and your grip knot. If it is off-center, adjust the placement of your knots until you find that perfect center position.
You are now ready to "sling away"!
This technique can be used to make a 3, 5,
7, or 9 strand pouch.
All will work, but 7 strands is my favorite as it seems to offer the best security for the projectile.
A sling is a DEADLY WEAPON!
use your sling WELL away from other people or property.
Practicing with tennis balls can reduce the risk of property damage or
Until next time, Sling Away and Have Fun!
Special Thanks to our good friend Doug
Meyer for sharing this cool technique with us.
See our October workshop schedule for Doug's Blowguns & Thistle Darts and River Cane Tools, Toys & Gadgets workshops.
His first time offering these in New Jersey, they are not to be missed!