Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Procedure to Accurately Measure Your Wrist for a Paracord Bracelet

When looking to buy a paracord bracelet today, one finds a host of vendors with a wide variety of bracelets, both in color and style. However, most all of these paracord bracelet vendors fail to give the potential buyer correct or adequate instructions for measuring their wrist prior to their purchase.

The simple truth is, if the bracelet you end up with is too tight, or too loose; chances are pretty good you will throw it in a drawer and never wear it. I would not like the bracelet you purchase from me to end up in that drawer because you got the wrong size. Thus, I feel it is my responsibility to inform the buyer of exactly how to measure their wrist, and in the most accurate way possible. Only then will I have a true and accurate measurement to work with, and the buyer has the best chance of getting their paracord bracelet sized correctly to their own requirements. My attention to this detail is partly why my paracord bracelets are just a little better than many of the others on the market.

A lot of paracord bracelet vendors tell you to use a piece of string or other type of cord, which is to be wrapped around your wrist, and then laid out flat and measured with a ruler. That is bad information and here is why: 

String, small cord or twine is not an entirely stable material. That is, the dimensional length can vary with the amount of tension (or non-tension) that is placed on the material. Secondly, and equally important, the thickness of the cord or string utilized will cause errors. Specifically, the thicker the material is, the greater will be the error in measurement.

For example, say you use a piece of heavy string, and wrap it around your wrist in the usual way. The string is under very little tension at all when wrapped around your wrist. Next, you un-wrap the string and lay it out in a straight line alongside a ruler in order to measure from one end to the place where the string began to overlap. The act of placing the string (or cord) alongside the ruler requires that you tension it slightly so that there are no kinks in it, and it is in line with the edge of your ruler. This causes a different amount of tension to be placed on the string, than when it was wrapped around your wrist; and will very likely result in a wrist size measurement that is not accurate. Depending on the type of string or cord and how much tension difference is involved, you could be off by half an inch or more. Then there is the problem of the string thickness, which also contributes to the overall error of measurement.

What should you use to accurately measure your wrist size? The answer is, a very dimensionally stable but flexible material and is quite thin. The first choice would be a seamstress or tailor’s tape. I realize few people have these on hand, so what would be the next best thing that would be commonly available to nearly everyone? 

Merely take an ordinary sheet of copy (or printer) paper, and along the long side, cut off a strip approximately one half inch in width. The paper exhibits dimensional stability and is also quite thin (.004 to .006") as compared to cord or string (.062 to .125").
  1.  Wrap the strip of plain paper around your wrist. It should be snug but comfortable, just touching your wrist on all surfaces.
  2. At the overlap of the paper, place a pencil mark on the paper. This may be done accurately and easily if you get someone to help you.
  3. Using a ruler, lay the paper out flat and measure from the end to the mark (in inches).
This is the measurement you need to provide when ordering your paracord bracelet. Do not add extra length to compensate for a comfortable fit. This is taken into consideration when making your paracord bracelet.

That’s all there is to it. Done correctly, you should end up with a nice comfortable fitting bracelet, and one that you can wear every day. Incidentally, to the best of my knowledge, I am the only paracord seller that will give you this kind of information.

Here are some of the technical reasons why it is important to use a flat tape measure or small strip of paper for measuring:

With paracord bracelets the actual flat length before it is curved to go around your wrist is a concern of mine. This is because the inner diameter when closed and latched around your wrist must closely match the Wrist Measurement you provided. You see the knots themselves take up space on the inside circumference. In addition, the knotting procedure tends to tighten or shrink the inner core strands. That makes the inside measurement smaller than the length when laid out flat. What is needed to actually create a comfortable fitting paracord bracelet is for the inner diameter to match the outer (measured) circumference of your wrist. That is why I utilize a fairly sophisticated mathematical formula during the fabrication of your paracord bracelet to insure an optimum fit for your personal measurement.

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