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Message started by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:48pm

Title: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:48pm
Here's a more image-heavy adaptation of my Balearic sling tutorial from The Slinger's Guide.
The text is basically the same rough draft I sent to Dan and them, so the final product in the Slinger's Guide will likely be more polished up and such.
Enjoy


===================================
Of all the cultures throughout history known for their slinging prowess, the Balearic islanders were among the most skillfull--and to this day, remain the most famous for it. In fact, the very name of the islands comes from the word “balearides”, which translates to “stone slinger.”

A slinger's career started very young, and involved some rather spartan training during their upbringing. One notable method involved placing a child's food out of reach, which left the child with two options: knock the food down with a slingstone, or go hungry.
Later on they would graduate to sending stones through small hoops placed at various distances. The result was highly competent slingers that were in high demand throughout the ancient Mediterranean world—much like the archers of the British isles during the Late Medieval and Renaissance period. Even after the Romans managed to conquer the islands, the Balearic slingers became a well-paid asset in the Roman army.

Balearic slingers had some interesting traits when it came to war.
In addition to their normal, medium-length sling, they were known for carrying two others: a short one stowed-away as a headband, for rapid slinging at shorter ranges; and a long sling for long-range bombardment wrapped around their waist.


------------------------------------------


The slingers of the Balearic islands were [and remain] fond of rather heavy stones, sometimes as large as the slinger's fist. This is pretty huge by most other slinging culture's standards, and their slings definitely show it--they are usually much beefier than most slings. As a result, Balearic slings require more material on average than most other designs, so don't be a cheapskate and skimp on cordage. It's dirt-cheap anyways.

The most popular of the traditional materials of choice are pita, hemp, and esparto. Pita, otherwise known as "sisal", consists of the inner fibers of the agave plant that you're left with after scraping the soft flesh away. The fibers look like blond hair, but can be a little more coarse than most other fibers. However, they are rather tenacious and abrasion resistant, and make a very resilient sling. 
Esparto is a type of grassy plant native to the Balearic archipelago. It makes a more rustic sling. It's a very obscure type of fiber, so good luck finding any commercially available anywhere outside the islands.

Traditionally these slings are made from loose fiber, with additional material braided into the sling as needed. The process is much like basket-weaving. When made properly, slings braided from loose fiber tends to look nicer, and can be more seamless than bundles of pre-spun twine. Although braiding loose fiber can be more time-consuming and tedious, the good news is that you don't have to worry about cutting your strings too short!

For simplicity's sake, this tutorial will assume you are working with pre-spun cordage. However the process is largely the same if you're working with loose fiber—just add more or less fiber than usual as you braid to get the same tapering effects. (I can already hear the woeful moans from the purists ::) )



Prerequisite skills necessary:
*5-Strand braid
*splitting and rejoining braids
*splicing additional material into a braid (increasing volume and make it fatter)
*Ability to taper a release cord (removing material, slimming the braid)

Materials necessary:
*At least twice the material you would normally use. The thickness of the retention cord (The only part to remain consistent it's entire length) will be around 1.5 cm thick (1/2").
*Scissors/pocket knife to trim with.
*Clips of some kind, to keep your work from unraveling when not working on it. (Clips for potato chip bags work well)



To start with, you will want to measure your strands at 3 times the OVERALL length you want the sling to be. (from loop to tassel.)
Since this tutorial is based on the 5-strand braid, you will want your material divided into 5 groups of cordage. Naturally, the number of strands per group will vary depending on your choice of cordage. To see if you have the right amount, hold the groups together, and give it a twist. The thickness of a classic yellow pencil should be just right, although it's fine if it's a wee bit thicker. This will give you a rough idea of how thick your fingerloop's braid will be. Just add or remove strands until you're satisfied. However, I'd recommend that you keep an even number of strands in each group.

You can make this sling entirely out of off-cuts if you want, but this way is a bit quicker, easier, and you won't have to splice more strands in than you need to. For example, The last sling I made was out of 2-3mm cotton butcher's twine I found at a local hardware store. I used 4 strands per group of 5—a total of 20 strands altogether. Once the finger loop was folded over, each group doubled in thickness, and so did the rest of the sling.

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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:49pm
Take these strands, and start braiding from the middle.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:49pm
Once you have enough to make a comfortable finger loop, finish your finger loop by folding the braid over on itself.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:49pm
Match each pair of groups together, and blend each of them into larger groups.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:49pm
Match each pair of groups together, and blend each of them into larger groups.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:49pm
Now you may begin your retention cord, which will be twice as thick as your fingerloop.
At this point, I recommend hooking the finished loop onto something sturdy to keep some tension on the braid--like a peg, a doorknob, or even a toe! (Since this one's white, and intended for someone else, I'm using a little something to loop over my toe instead. It keeps any potential toe-dirt from getting on the loop. ;))
Keeping your braid taught will make it much MUCH easier to keep the braid tight and consistent.

Now that you've started braiding your retention cord, continue braiding your retention cord until you're 2-3 inches from where you want the middle of your pouch to be. That will be where your pouch will start, and it will be where we split the groups in half once again.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:49pm
Some Balearians call this part of the pouch the “knee” due to how this side of the pouch flexes to properly cradle your ammo. (And in a way, the little “X” sort of looks like a little knee-cap, but that's just me.) With a Balearic sling, this side of the pouch will be far skinnier than the thicker and stiffer release side, called the “belly.” This is done by adding more material immediately AFTER the knee is formed.

Braid to where you want the pouch to begin. Make sure you stop when the braid leaves you with two strands on the left, and three strands on the right.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:49pm
Take the group at the top-right, and split it into two. Take one of these groups, and continue the braid like you normally would, taking care to leave the other where it is.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:49pm
Now do the same with the upper-left side.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:50pm
Repeat once more with the middle group on the right.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:50pm
Here's where thing's get interesting: take the remaining unsplit group on the left (Should be the third one down), and pass it over, placing it below the upper two groups on the right. (The previously split ones.)
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:50pm
Mirror with the remaining unsplit group on the right side by passing it over so that it's the third group down on the left. The result should leave you with a most glorious “X” shape. Bow in reverence, peasant.

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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by squirrelslinger on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:51pm
Uuuuhhhh.... why are there no pics?
EDIT- my internet is bad and they werent loading. Awesome tutorial!
(now that pics have loaded....)

Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:51pm
[I said BOW I REVERENCE, PEASANT! >:(]

Take the groups on the left side, and split the two groups as shown. Make sure the two groups below the “X” strands are on one side, and the rest the other. Take the top-most group and pass it over.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:51pm
Now you may continue with a normal 5-strand braid. I'm braiding these sides further than necessary for clarity, but normally 2-4 plaits should suffice. Now clamp it off, and work on the right side.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:52pm
Mirror the last two steps on the right side. You now have a finished knee! Unlike with other common methods, the two sides of the pouch will naturally want to lay parallel when braided this way.

(Although don't braid each of the cradle's sides as far as I did just yet: that was to get stuff out of the way, and make it overall easier to see  :P)
BL09.JPG (473 KB | )

Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:52pm
Once you're about 2-4 plaits past the knee, immediately begin to add material to each of the two sides of the pouch until they are back to the same thickness of the release cord. Since we're not working with loose fibre, I recommend adding one strand to each group for every time a group is braided over. Continue until each side of the pouch once again has the same amount of strands, and is the same thickness as the retention cord. Continue braiding until your pouch is at the length you desire. (For most ammo, I recommend a 5-6 inch pouch, or 13-16 cm. It's good for anything the size of a tennis ball or smaller.)
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:53pm
By the time you reach the far side of the pouch, each side of the pouch should be just as thick—if not a wee bit more—than the release cord.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:53pm
Now rejoin the pouch.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:53pm
Now that you've rejoined both sides of the pouch, you should have a massive braid twice as thick as before, called the "belly." This helps to resist abrasion a bit better, it gives the sling a center of gravity toward the front of the pouch, and it even helps give a dandy whip-crack upon release.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:54pm
From this point, you will want to slowly and evenly taper your release cord down to the amount of strands per group that you originally started with. (i.e. as thick as the fingerloop)
Simply remove a strand every 3-5cm/inch or two, depending on the sling's length.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:57pm
Once your release cord reaches the same length as that of the retention cord, you have a couple of choices: you can finish it off with a knot/release tab... Or you can go the traditional route by continuing for another hand-width or so, then tying it off with a simple knot, leaving a tassel.
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:58pm
The knot I use is basically a single strand wrapped around the end of the release cord once...
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Title: Re: Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:58pm
...and tucked through itself before blending back into the tassel. (Although I'll often repeat the knot another one or two times, as seen in the following photos.)
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Title: Re: [UNDER CONSTRUCTION]Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 5:14pm
It not only holds surprisingly well, but it also doesn't make the tassel stick out in several directions. Although if you're using a super-slippery material, like nylon, then I recommend dabbing a very small drop of superglue onto the knot to make sure it doesn't wiggle loose.
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Title: Re: [UNDER CONSTRUCTION]Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 5:14pm
I went ahead and did the knot 3 times for the heck of it.

As you all probably know by now: with most [natural] fibers, your release cord will gradually deteriorate from the stresses of slinging. As your sling's release cord gradually disintegrates, the extra length the traditional method offers will allow you much more time before the release cord ends up too short. But even then, restoring the sling to it's original length is as simple as unbraiding 4 inches past the damaged/worn section, splicing in new cords, and re-braiding until the release cord is back to it's original length again.
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Title: Re: [UNDER CONSTRUCTION]Balearic Sling Tutorial --Image Heavy--
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 24th, 2013 at 5:14pm
There we go! A finished sling. now go break it in.


Before I go, Here's some extra tips and tricks to help you:

*Braid as tightly as you consistently can. A sling involving lots of spliced ends could potentially fall apart on you if braided loosely.

*If you keep the twist of the twine you use going in one direction, one side of your sling will be smooth, and the other will be rope-like with accentuated plaits. For a sling with pretty scalloped plaits on both sides, like in the example above, simply twist groups sticking out on the left side counter-clockwise, and the groups on the right side clockwise. No need to twist the whole length of each group when you do this: you only need to twist the inch or two that's about to be braided over in that specific move. If you want a smooth sling with partially-hidden plaits, you only need to do the opposite: Left, clockwise; right, counter-clockwise.


This marks the end of this tutorial. I hope you find it helpful!

Happy slinging!
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Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by Tomas on Oct 25th, 2013 at 12:03pm
This is great, I was always curious about the knee and you've demonstrated it very well. Thanks D!

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 25th, 2013 at 3:35pm
Thanks 8-)

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by English_Marauder on Oct 25th, 2013 at 5:41pm
very nice sling. Good detailed tutorial.

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by Tomas on Oct 28th, 2013 at 4:33pm

Donnerschlag wrote on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:53pm:
Now that you've rejoined both sides of the pouch, you should have a massive braid twice as thick as before, called the "belly." This helps to resist abrasion a bit better, it gives the sling a center of gravity toward the front of the pouch, and it even helps give a dandy whip-crack upon release.

Ok so why do we add the extra material? And what happens with the center of gravity in front of the pouch?

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by Donnerschlag on Oct 28th, 2013 at 5:30pm

Tomas wrote on Oct 28th, 2013 at 4:33pm:

Donnerschlag wrote on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:53pm:
Now that you've rejoined both sides of the pouch, you should have a massive braid twice as thick as before, called the "belly." This helps to resist abrasion a bit better, it gives the sling a center of gravity toward the front of the pouch, and it even helps give a dandy whip-crack upon release.

Ok so why do we add the extra material? And what happens with the center of gravity in front of the pouch?

For wider/bigger sides in the pouch. The idea is that the added surface area makes loading a little less precarious and such.

As for the center of gravity, all I can say for certain is that it changes the feel of the release. Some say that it actively aids in the release, or that less material on the retention end allows more flexibility in the knee, to compensate for a slightly stiffer release side (I assume they meant that it depends on the material.)
Since any possible advantage/s haven't exactly been proven as of yet, I'm sticking with the default slinger's assumption, and leaving it up to a matter of opinion.  ;)
I figured it was worth mentioning, since I've heard it mentioned by a couple different people. :)

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by paleryder on Apr 3rd, 2017 at 5:30pm
I've been working through Donnerschlag's tutorial. Just and FYI. I think there may be an error in Reply #10, Oct 24th, 2013 at 3:50pm. It says that the unsplit group is  "third down". I think it's the second down. It also seems to state in the written portion that you move the entire bundle from the left to the right but the photo appears to show that bundle being split.

In Reply #11, it references the the unsplit section on the right but I'm not sure the picture matches. Somewhere along the line, it appears the bottom right group got split.

I may be in error so please correct me if I'm wrong. It caused me some confusion and I went with the picture with respect to Reply 10 and everything seemingly fell into place.

Thanks for putting up this tutorial. I've made this style in the past but without knowing anything about the   braiding relating to the "knee". Great job.

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by vetryan15 on Oct 13th, 2017 at 8:04am
IGreat tutorial,  I am gonna have to.practice the 5 strabf braid before I tackle this

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by kicktheotter on Oct 13th, 2017 at 10:52am
I've made two slings in this way now (roughly the same way anyway). I really like the way this one particularly came out though it isn't nearly as nice as the example shown. I still need a lot of practice :D
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Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by vetryan15 on Oct 13th, 2017 at 11:45am
I.just have alot of issues braiding more then 3 strands at a time. I have a bunch of cheap material I try to practice with.

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by TheArchaicPeltast on Jun 30th, 2018 at 12:15pm

Donnerschlag wrote on Oct 24th, 2013 at 4:48pm:
Prerequisite skills necessary:
*5-Strand braid
*splitting and rejoining braids
*splicing additional material into a braid (increasing volume and make it fatter)
*Ability to taper a release cord (removing material, slimming the braid)

How and where does one learn and practice these prerequisite skills? Especially the splicing.

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by CrazyBrave333 on Sep 1st, 2021 at 9:30pm
This is a fantastic tutorial - thanks so much man!

I just need to know how to splice thread into the pouch to make it thicker? it looks so neat in the pictures!

Also splicing out when tapering release cord - is that just leaving out a thread bit by bit? what do you do with the thread hanging out?

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by JudoP on Sep 2nd, 2021 at 5:41am

CrazyBrave333 wrote on Sep 1st, 2021 at 9:30pm:
This is a fantastic tutorial - thanks so much man!

I just need to know how to splice thread into the pouch to make it thicker? it looks so neat in the pictures!

Also splicing out when tapering release cord - is that just leaving out a thread bit by bit? what do you do with the thread hanging out?


This is how I do it:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HazSOCpyjgg

Though this is for fibre rather than twine, but the principle is similar.

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by CrazyBrave333 on Sep 2nd, 2021 at 6:40pm
You ROCK!!! Thanks so much!!! Exactly what I needed!!!!

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by Kick on Sep 5th, 2021 at 2:47pm

Kick wrote on Oct 13th, 2017 at 10:52am:
I've made two slings in this way now (roughly the same way anyway). I really like the way this one particularly came out though it isn't nearly as nice as the example shown. I still need a lot of practice :D

Ooof. Did we need to resurrect this thread particularly? Ok so I didn't make the worst sling but... hmmm.

Title: Re: Tutorial: Balearic Sling
Post by Morphy on Sep 7th, 2021 at 2:36pm
Naw they all look good man. Shoot at least youve made a good looking balearic sling...  ;D

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