CUPPED SLING TUTORIAL

This tutorial is by no means totally original. It has been influenced by many people, but the exact design is my own. I would still like to credit many people on the internet and around my neighborhood for bits of wisdom on sling construction.

Disclaimer: Slings are dangerous! Use them only in safe areas, and be careful of your surroundings. I accept no responsibility for any injuries or damage that may occur, for any reason. Sling at your own risk!

Materials:

  • Leather. I used suede, but it can be anything reasonably strong.
  • Cord. Parachute cord is excellent, but for this sling I used thick bootlaces. You can also braid thinner cords, or plait them.
  • Thin string. This must also be strong, but thin enough to pass through tiny holes in the pouch. I recommend something synthetic, so the ends can be fused. This makes threading with a needle much easier. Do not use fishing line.
  • Electrician’s Tape. Not much more to be said, except that duct tape is okay too.
  • *Saddle Soap, Neatsfoot Oil or Mineral Oil. Basically, something to help your pouch shed water.

*optional

Tools:

  • Scissors. These must be heavy enough to cut leather, as well as cordage.
  • Leather Punch. You’ll want the rotating type that actually cuts out a hole, instead of just separating the leather. You can use an awl, but it will be irritating and take longer.
  • Fid. You can use a carpet needle too. This is not essential, but can speed up the process a bit.
  • Pencil. Or a pen. It needs to draw on the leather.
  • Graph paper. I use ¼ stuff.
  • Paper Towels.

Construction:

Out of your graph paper, cut a rectangle that is 5″ x 3″. Fold it in half twice, once each way, like so.

Draw a curve on one side. I won’t give exact geometric formulae, because that’s not the way I work. It should be approximately like this.

Cut along the curve.

This is your pouch pattern. If you aren’t entirely happy with it, make a new one. Graph paper is cheaper than leather!

Trace the pattern onto your leather. Make sure it doesn’t shift!

Cut the outline of your pouch from the leather. Fold it in half, to make sure the sides are symmetrical. They don’t have to be perfect, but close.

Now that you have your pouch, the hard part comes. Place the pouch onto another sheet of graph paper, and make little marks at ¼” intervals. Do this all the way around the pouch, making sure they align on opposite edges.

Now, take your leather punch and begin to punch tiny holes at all the marks. I can’t give you an exact hole size, but you want them as small as possible. Your thin string should fit snugly through them. Make sure they are far enough into the pouch so as not to tear out, but don’t monopolize the space inside.

Now, punch a slightly larger hole on either end of the pouch. This should be centered the long way, and will connect the cords to the pouch. it should fit your cords snugly.

Now, get your thin string and start threading it through the tiny holes on one side of the pouch. Up and down…

Once you have threaded one side, begin the other. Make sure that the string enters and exits the same way on each side.

Now comes the optional part. I usually oil my pouches (even the suede ones), because I often sling snowballs, or am out in inclement weather. Therefore, I like my slings to shed as much water as possible. Get your paper towels and oil, and rub a liberal amount into the pouch on both sides.

Allow the pouch to sit for a few minutes, to let the oil sink in. Follow directions on the container if it is specifically for leather, such as Saddle Soap.

Now, thread the cords through their respective holes and double them back. Tie the string in between the cord end and the rest of it with a square knot. Tape the cord ends back with the square knot in between them.

On one of the cords, tie a solid loop knot (I recommend a bowline), and put it around the middle finger of your dominant hand. Hold the sling so the pouch is even, and tie a knot (I use a figure-eight) on the other cord, for grip.

Enjoy your new sling!

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