I heard that a monkey fist was hard to make and required a lot of patience. It was the patient part that worried me the most. There are photos and tutorials or instructions of them readily available. After looking at several of them it was either freehand or a jig. The instructor using a jig said it was a lot easier. So, I made a jig. I purchased a 1/4" dowel and cut four 5" pieces (6" would have been better). Four holes later with a quarter inch drill equaled fail. Another scrap piece of wood with four more holes and I figured my jig would work and it did.
Almost all the monkey fists I saw were made of 550 paracord with the purpose of a self-defense weapon in mind. I've been playing around with the DYNA X paracord. It's the same size as 550 paracord with over 2X's the strength, a much higher resistant to abrasion and more difficult to cut. If a weapon is the goal, why not make it out of something much more durable so it will last longer.
We did a stress test on the two best types of paracord against the DYNA X cord. Of course, we were highly scientific, we grabbed two pieces and rubbed them against a cement curb. I did my best to put equal pressure on both cords. We tested 550 paracord made with a nylon outer sheath and inner core as well as paracord made with a Polyester outer sheath and nylon inner core. These were tested against the DYNA X paracord.
The curb test results were very interesting. For abrasion the DYNA X paracord was vastly superior to either of the others. The polyester outer sheath seemed to hold up the best of the other two cords.
DYNA X paracord is a little firmer cord, holds its round shape very well and is slick. The polyester/nylon cord we sell (Paracordgalaxy.com) is less firm than the DYNA X cord but holds it round shape well. Our nylon/nylon cord is the softest, most pliable, and flattens a little. We sell a little more of the nylon/nylon cord. There is a preference for both. If your worried about abrasion I would do the polyester/nylon. We now know the DYNA X cord is way better for abrasion than either of the other two. We have sold the DNYA X cord for a long time. It hasn't been discovered yet and it does cost more. You do pay for the considerable extra durability.
My daughter and I made monkey fists together. I used the jig and she did the freehand method. Our first attempt was a success/fail. The one inch still balls were inside the cord, but the monkey fist knot didn't look so good. We took too much cord slack out when tightening the knot on the first round. We both succeeded on our second attempt. We tightened the knot less and took three complete rounds to get it fully tightened. She made two of the monkey fists pictured, the pink one and the white with multicolored dark blue cord. I made the white and lighter blue one. The pink monkey fist and lanyard are regular 550 paracord. The white cord on the other two is DNYA X cord. We added the regular 550 paracord into the lanyard mostly for looks and to make a larger lanyard.
The DYNA X paracord has a break or tensile strength of 1,250 lbs. compared to 550 paracord with 550 lbs. The nickname 550 paracord comes from its break strength while paracord itself is a nickname or shortened version of parachute core.
We also decided to make a loop and braid the cord back into itself. On one we braided it all the way back to the knot next to the monkey fist. We pushed the strands thru the knot and melted the ends there. This way the melted ends are not as visible, and the braiding looks nicer.
The DNYA X cord has seven inner cabled strands like the 550 cord has. It does not melt like the other paracord. To use a fid needle you cut your paracord on an angle, apply some heat to melt the end and screw it into the fid needle. DYNA X cord mushrooms more when melting and the fid needle has a hard time attaching to the sheath of the cord. This means you are pulling on the inner strands and that does not work. I found if I pulled out about an inch of the inner strands and cut them off I could then pull the sheath forward and the inner strands would be about a inch back in the sheath. Now I make my angled cut, apply just a little heat and the whole outer sheath will screw into the end of the fid needle. This same little trick can be used on regular paracord as well.
Now the disclaimer. After we got done making our monkey fists we found some states, counties or cities have made them illegal. Each place is different. Some don't even allow them to be carried. Having or using them ranges from a misdemeanor to a felony. You might want to check your state and local laws.
M. Shane Sullivan, Owner/Manager of Paracordgalaxy.com