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My First Sling - Chris Harrison

I made my first sling 3 years ago. I scrounged up what little materials I had in my house and went to work on what I thought a sling was, although I’ve since learned that proper slings are quite different in design. The pouch consisted of a square piece of jeans about 2 inches wide and 4 inches long. Initially, I made a hole at either end, right in the center and about a half-inch from the edge. I used twine as cords and quickly tied it all together. I marched out the back of my house, and started slinging.

I found it hard to load rocks at first. Whenever I put a rock in, the pouch would twist and it would fall out. Eventually, I got the hand of it by folding the jeans a bit to cradle the rock better, although it still wasn’t great. A bit later, I got rocks to fly!….. Straight up into the sky or into my house behind me. In retrospect, it was quite funny. I determined that the two cords during the “twirl” were having the same problem as loading the rocks. The pouch would flip over. Two cords in conjunction with flimsy jean fabric was not a stable pouch.

I went back and modified my design. I made four holes for cords, two at each end. I thought that if I split the cords into an upside-down ‘Y’-shape, it would increase stability, and it did. The added complexity and my terrible knots soon caught up with me, and the forks in the cord were sliding around or getting tangled. However, I did get to do my first true slinging. The sling was about 2 foot long and I was getting maybe 100 foot with gold-ball-sized objects.

I should note that I was confused about how the cords should be designed. I had read articles online, but didn’t understand how you held them. After some screwing around, like releasing the retention cord with my thumb, I finally figured it out. Currently, I put the loop on my middle finger, palms up, with the cord dangling down. The release cord I hold (very gently) between the side of my pointer finger and my thumb. A knot at the end of the release cord helps significantly and helps you load faster, as you can slide down the cord until the knot stops it.

I then purchased a sling off, recently deceased, for $5. After examining the design and thinking about my own experiences, I soon was producing excellent slings. A garbage bag full of leather scrap and a spool of parachute cord was my savior. I had enough time to make all sorts of slings and I’ve advanced my designs considerably.

- Chris Harrison

© 2007