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I have been shooting "braided" Alliance 64s for the past week. My preference is for the braided method, rather than the chain technique that Nico uses. Here is the braid:



And here is the more usual chain:



The braid has several advantages, from my point of view. The braid does not require any tie at the pouch. You just pull the band through the hole and you are done. Further, with the braid there is no loss of length in the knots used for the usual chain; the rubber in the knots is wasted as far as supplying power is concerned. Also, the braid is self-adjusting; with the normal chain, it is easy to get the rubber on one side of the knot a little longer than on the other side of the knot. In addition, it is a LOT easier to replace a broken piece on the braid than in a chain. With the normal chain, when a piece breaks, it is about as easy to make a whole new band than to try to untie those knots without damaging the rubberbands.

It is very easy to make tapered sets, just by adding extra rubberbands toward the fork.

In my experience, using Gypsy tabs and braids, the set up is about as accurate as flat bands.

Whether you use the regular chains or the braids, you will increase the life of your bands if you dust them with a bit of talcum powder ... baby powder works well. Put the rubberbands in a baggie with a bit of talcum, and shake it up well. Then take the rubberbands out and shake off the excess. Then proceed to make your chains or braids. The talc helps lubricate the bands and cuts down on wear.

Theraband gold will be faster with a lighter draw. But for availability and cheapness, it is really hard to beat office rubberbands.

Cheers ........ Charles
 

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Hey Charles,

How well do those braided bands hold up and where do they seem to wear out first?
I have fired probably 300 shots on the current set with no obvious signs of wear. I have not really kept track in the past, so it is hard for me to give you a definitive answer. And it all depends on how close to the elastic limit you stretch them. In my experience, it is usually one of the middle bands that break ... neither at the pouch nor at the Gypsy tab. With the regular chains, the break usually occurred at a knot, and my regular chains tend to break after a couple of hundred shots. Of course if you are using a "taper" arrangement, say a braid of 222111, then the break will most certainly occur at the "thinner" end of the braid.

Cheers ...... Charles
 

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I have never had the slightest interest in trying a chain configuration, until now. Charles, your explanation was simple, direct to the point, and I became involved in your comparison, and especially the up side of using the braid chain with a very available and cheap band. I will be trying it soon, I appreciate your sharing this information, thanks.

Al

PS The braid chain looks great on your frame, I think that is your mod of DH's design, isn't it?
Thanks for the kind comments. Yep ... that's a Ninja variant with Gypsy tabs. It shoots very well with the braids. For "serious" work (hunting), I would use a tapered braid, which is dead easy in that configuration. Give 'em a try ... cheap and easy ... if you don't like them, you have lost very little.

Cheers ..... Charles
 

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Do you think you might get better life from you bands, with less friction and rub, if you conditioned the bands with Armorall or some other type of popular rubber conditioner...it does provide additional UV protection, and since the bands are braided there is no problem with knots slipping...
I have never tried Armorall or anything similar. It is worth a try. Let us know how it works for you.

Cheers ........ Charles
 

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Of course I used to fly rubberband powered planes as a kid. We have a good hobby store here in Victoria. I will have a look for that stuff next time I am down there. Never heard of it before.

As for UV protection from Armorall ... I have no idea. But I am not so concerned about UV protection for my slingshot bands, as they are not exposed to the sun for long periods of time. I think the lubrication aspect would be more important.

Cheers ... Charles
 

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My reason for suggesting Armorall is that I have used it on rubber products (other than slingshot bands) along with use on monofilament fishing lines that used to age, get brittle and chalky (no longer the case)...When making up chain sets you are inadvertantly applying heat and friction as you draw the loops together (weakening th rubber) ...The added lubrication helps with this problem...Talcum powder and corn flour may also help and I`m sure less expensive....The Armorall does "slick-up" the material so be carefull with use around crucial knots!...and I should say I have treated synthetics with this stuff that are more than twenty, and some possibly over 30 years old....A good cleaning occaasionally with mild cleaners is the start...
Thanks for the information. I may yet give it a try.

Cheers ...... Charles
 

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One of the problems with a latex T-shirt (great way to start a post, this) is getting the thing on and off without finding oneself tied up around the shoulders in a big, thick, sticky rubber band. The cure (if you don't want to go around lubed or dripping sweaty talc) is chlorination. I haven't done this myself as some of the avant-garde couturiers are set up to do it better, but I gather the process, involving things like ammonia and hydrochloric acid, essentially fills in the microscopic troughs in the latex allowing it to slide easily over itself. Certainly chlorinated T-shirts are easy to don and doff, and are comfortable in between.

Next time I send a couple of items off for chlorination I'll add a bag of office bands and let you know how it goes.
Hmmm ... Latex T shirts sound KINKY
Actually, they sound uncomfortable to me, but I have never tried one. How about cutting slingshot bands from a latex T shirt?

I will be interested to hear how the treatment you suggest affects the rubberbands. I never heard of this before.

Cheers ..... Charles
 

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Hi Charles, I've been lurking for a while now as my interest in slingshots has been rekindled from posts on another board. I have been considering my options and would have never thought to try office bands. My experience was with red rubber bands made from truck inner tubes and when they disappeared, surgical rubber tubing.

I have and old oak "board" cut slingshot frame that still has one dark brown and cracked surgical rubber tube attached and a very dried out leather pouch attached. I went to Staples today after double checking for their Alliance 107 bands. Sadly when I drove there only Staples brands were available. I bought their "84" (3.5" x 1/2") and "64" 3.5" x 1/4") bands anyway. I have just mink oiled that old pouch and am waiting to see if it softens.

I have successfully made a pouch for a sling (not a slingshot) from jean material (2 layers with a light smear of "Goop" between them) and saw a post here about using seat belt material. I was wondering if you have any thoughts about using fabric like materials for pouches?

Thanks again for the office band enlightenment!
Almost anything can be used for pouches. There are a number of concerns, however.

One concern is the extent of wear on the bands. Some materials may be harder on the bands than others. One of my concerns about melt-sealed nylon is that the melted material may be sharp and abraid the bands quickly. You just have to try things and see what works. If you are into sewing, you could probably keep the edges of nylon from raveling by sewing them ... or maybe seal them with silcon glue used for caulking around windows or tubs.

Another concern is how tough the material is. Cotton fabrics tend to be pretty soft and wear out pretty quickly. But as you suggest, maybe you could make a layer or two with Shoe Goo or silicon caulking between the layers, and strengthen it a bit without making it too stiff.

Another concern is how heavy the material is. The more your pouch weighs, the more energy the bands have to expend, so the slower your shot will be.

Some folks have used a couple of layers of duct tape for pouches and say it works well ... I have not tried it myself. One person on this forum experimented with weaving pouches on a very simple nail loom, using small diameter nylon chord, and that seemed to work well. As a kid, I tried auto inner tube for pouches, but found it tore pretty easily.

I buy old leather clothes from second hand stores and use that. The leather industry has discovered how to split hides, so most jackets and so on are very thin these days. I have been lucky enough to find older jackets (less costly anyway!) and a couple of leather skirts that were made from very heavy leather. Some on this forum have glued pieces of the thinner leather together with contact cement or similar glues, and they have reported good success. Other sources of strong leather are leather work gloves, leather boots, and welder's gloves and aprons. I find leather in belts to be too stiff.

I am sure that if you look around, check your second hand stores, you will find something that will work for you.

Cheers ..... Charles
 

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Just broken the first No. 38 band, near the pouch. Removed one from the other side so it's now 3,4,5 from pouch to fork in the folded/braided format and the thing shoots more sweetly than ever. I've not talc'd this lot cos I wanted to see how long they'd last. There's a second band on its way out now and I've only put about 50 shots through it.

Pelletor - I'd be wary of using any kind of oil or grease on the leather if it's in contact with the bands as rubber tends to dissolve in these substances. I use crust roo (tanned but otherwise untreated) for pouches instead of drum stuffed (greased) and finish forks with shellac rather than tung or linseed oil for this reason.
You have made a nice taper ... 3,4,5 . I would bet it shoots faster than 4,4,5, as long as the ammo is not too heavy. I will be interested to hear how your talced bands compare to the un-talced bands.

Cheers ....... Charles
 

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Those look like stone pouches to me ... that is, made for shooting stones. People usually select stones that are a bit on the large size, and the pouch needs to be larger to avoid foul shooting ... foul shooting occurs when the pouch slips from around the ammo, and the ammo flies off in a weird direction. If you are shooting steel or lead balls, you can probably get by with a smaller pouch ... by smaller, I mean narrower and perhaps shorter too. I shoot both stones and steel and lead balls, so I use a pouch that is larger than most of the guys here. My pouches are usually one inch wide (2.54 cm) and 3 to 4 inches long (7.5 to 10 cm). There is quite a bit of variation in pouch sizes on this forum. But it is perhaps wise to "go with what you know" and make changes slowly. As you get back into shooting, do not be afraid to experiment a bit, but try to change only one thing at a time so you can see what works for you. There are no really hard and fast rules!

Cheers ...... Charles
 

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Well, I had my session with the 10 year old lad yesterday. I provided him with a Ninja variant, cut from HDPE, with a bycycle innertube covering for the handle, and a lanyard. I had it set up with gypsy tabs held in place by screws and acorn nuts. I let him try a braided 111111 set up with Staples 64s. They were too heavy for him to draw comfrotably. Then I had him try a braided 333333 set up with Office Depot 33s. But he found that to be too strong for him as well. So he and I talced some more Office Depot 33s and made braided 222222 bands, which were much more to his liking. I had him begin with aluminum foil balls as ammo before moving to 3/8 inch steel.

I sent him home with the slingshot, a bunch of extra rubber bands, some talc, an extra pouch, a pvc backstop, and some leather targets of varying sizes. I had a report that he was quite excited when he got home ... he was assembling the backstop and showing his dad how everything worked. Hopefully he will get a lot of joy out of the whole package.

Those braided bands were pretty easy for him to assemble, and he had no trouble changing bands with those Gypsy tabs. And it was certainly advantageous that the draw weight was easily adjustable to suit him. In case of breakage, he can find those 33s or 32s most anywhere and make up new band sets himself.

Those braided office rubberbands certainly worked well in this situation.

Cheers ....... Charles
 

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Hey .... another Canuck. Welcome to the forum. Yep, talc is what they put inside bike innertubes to keep them from sticking together while folded. The nice thing about talk is that you can buy it anywhere.

Cheers ...... Charles
 

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I am just getting into shooting now. The internet is certainly a great resource. That's how I found this site. I have ordered in 5 different slingshots from ebay. All metal variations to start with. Got in the first one last week and it had the surgical bands. Way to strong. My hand was shaking. So I went to Staples and got some #64's. Saw the way they are tied on this forum. Great way to adjust for strength. I have 3 sons and we do a lot of camping. This will be a very enjoyable hobby for target shooting. At least it's still legal here! I like simple. Not interested in going over board. Just like when we were kids. Oh, I got an elastic band eye injury when I was 15. When stretching a band another guy hit my hand and it hit me in the white of my eye. I have my grade 9 photo to prove it. Eye protection for me!
Sounds like you are off to a good start. It is a lot of fun, regardless of your age. I think you will find those 64s a good place to start. You can adjust the draw weight to suit you and your kids, all from the same meterial. They are not the fastest bands on the planet, but they are a great way to get started. I am glad to hear your comments about eye protection ... we always think it will not happen to us, but then it does.

Cheers .... Charles
 

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Yep ... that is an excellent demonstration! Thanks for posting that. My only addition would be to suggest lubricating the bands with talc first. Just put a bit of talc based baby powder in a baggie, throw in the bands, and shake it all up. Then shake off the excess from the bands and proceed as above.

Cheers ...... Charles
 

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Check out Sparco 107 bands from Office Depot. The batch I tried shot a bit faster (5 fps) than the Alliance brand. I suspect they are made in the same place ... just a different label. I checked their US website, and they seem to carry Alliance; their Canadian website carries Sparco. Amazon ain't the only on-line store!

Cheers ..... Charles
 

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Oh! So -that's- how braiding works. The only thing I'm not thrilled about is the attachment method to the forks. Looks like you need Gypsy tabs or a set-up designed for chains. I suppose I could do the braid then just tie them to the forks like normal.

Thanks for the topic!

-Bob
Absolutely correct. You can just tie the bands to the fork in the usual way, if you prefer.

Cheers ..... Charles
 

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Well, I've just had my cattying world turned on its head by Mr. Henry's dissertation on 1842 tubing. 2 days playing around with it and totting up the cost (about 40p a set) and I've just unloaded all my office bands and talc onto a friend's two young sons. So far the tubes are lasting very well - longer than an office band set - and are way faster for much less draw weight.
I do not doubt your observations about tubes vs office bands. I believe there is still a place for office bands.

The tubes are generally much harder to come by than office bands. If I am on the road somewhere and need bands, I can bet on finding office bands just about anywhere. Knowing how to use them effectively means I can keep shooting. I can walk into a store most anywhere and buy office rubber bands ... sure can't do that with tubes.

It is very easy to teach kids (or novices) how to make bands with office rubber, and they can do the entire procedure with no measuring or cutting.

Generally, it is a lot easier and cheaper to experiment with the effects of tapering by playing around with office bands. No cutting, no weird tieing, etc.

Office bands work very well with quite heavy ammo ... they are not as fast with lighter weight stuff as tubes, but their velocity does not drop off so much with heavier ammo.

So, in general, I think office rubber bands are a good place to start ... and they are sort of a "survivalist" alternative.

Having said all that, my current preferred shooter is set up with a pseudo taper (half doubled) arrangement of 1745 tubes. And I have ordered some 1842.

Cheers ...... Charles
 

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Well, I had my session with the 10 year old lad yesterday. I provided him with a Ninja variant, cut from HDPE, with a bycycle innertube covering for the handle, and a lanyard. I had it set up with gypsy tabs held in place by screws and acorn nuts. I let him try a braided 111111 set up with Staples 64s. They were too heavy for him to draw comfrotably. Then I had him try a braided 333333 set up with Office Depot 33s. But he found that to be too strong for him as well. So he and I talced some more Office Depot 33s and made braided 222222 bands, which were much more to his liking. I had him begin with aluminum foil balls as ammo before moving to 3/8 inch steel.

I sent him home with the slingshot, a bunch of extra rubber bands, some talc, an extra pouch, a pvc backstop, and some leather targets of varying sizes. I had a report that he was quite excited when he got home ... he was assembling the backstop and showing his dad how everything worked. Hopefully he will get a lot of joy out of the whole package.

Those braided bands were pretty easy for him to assemble, and he had no trouble changing bands with those Gypsy tabs. And it was certainly advantageous that the draw weight was easily adjustable to suit him. In case of breakage, he can find those 33s or 32s most anywhere and make up new band sets himself.

Those braided office rubberbands certainly worked well in this situation.

Cheers ....... Charles
cool charles! that was sure nice of you!! : ) the boy still enjoying his shooter?
[/quote]

The kid is still shooting ... has not destroyed anything serious yet. He even went out to the woods with his mother and showed her how to aim and shoot. I feel pretty good about that one.

Cheers ... Charles
 

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I did find the tinfoil to be almost useless for target shooting. I really just use it so the newbies get a feel for how to hold and shoot the slingshot. Once they are comfortable with it, have the right position, and do not flinch when they release, I move them on to other ammo so they can develop accuracy. The tinfoil is so light that it is hard to do any damage with it ... but then it scoots all over the place in the air.

Cheers ... Charles
 

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A Gypsy tab is just a loop, generally of leather, that is attached to the fork. The band is then attached to the loop. Here is an example with office rubber bands.



Here the loop is attached with a nut and bolt, but it can be tied on in the same way you would tie on a band.

Cheers ....... Charles
 
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