2017-03-19

BDSM from Mr. H -- Handcrafted & Customizable Bondage Gear


NOTE: This is a longer post that is broken into multiple sections. I suggest opening this on your computer browser for optimal reading. All Mr. H hyperlinks go directly to his Twitter account.

About two months ago, on a whim, I retweeted and followed Mr. H on Twitter. This was for a chance to win one of his handmade paracord BDSM pieces. When I found out that I won the raffle, I let him know that I will not only use the product, but I will write about it on this blog. I assume he got excited, because he decided to go all out and make my Wife and me a full set of gear. The picture above shows between 70 and 80 hours of labor. Those of you who know anything about knot tying, especially decorative knots, know that a simple Turks head or half-globe knot can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours a piece. 

Please note that this is a longer post than most because there are five different products to discuss (six if you include the leash that goes with the collar). From top to bottom of the above picture, I have numbered these items below. Feel free to read the entire post or scroll to the product that best represents your interest:

  1. Cuffs
  2. Collar and Leash
  3. Riding Crop
  4. Flogger
  5. Over-the-Door Cross (doubles as baton or flogger)
Before we discuss each of these items, let's talk a little bit about Mr. H, who he is, and what he does. First and foremost, Mr. H does not have an online store, like Esty, where you can just order your products. He is extremely exclusive, and he will not waste his time on people who do not appreciate BDSM or the hours of work that go into each one of his products. If you want to buy a full set of bondage gear, talk to him directly on Twitter -- click here

Mr. H has been in the BDSM scene for a very long time. For those of you who are not sure of the BDSM acronym, it stands for the following: BD = Bondage and Discipline, DS = Domination and Submission, SM = Sadism and Masochism. BDSM is not about actual torture, abuse, or inescapable control. It is a partnership and an understanding between two (or more) people who respect and trust each other enough to engage in this type of role play and behavior. At any time, a Submissive or a Dominant partner may stop the activity and go about his/her life. This is not the movie Hostel. It's more like Nicholas Sparks meets 50 Shades of Holy Shit!

Two years ago (from the time of this writing), Mr. H had a rare form of arthritis that resulted in the amputation of two fingertips. As a form of physical rehabilitation, he took up knot tying. This way, he could manipulate the small motor skills in his fingers and build back the ability to do intricate movements. 

A few months after beginning his knot-tying therapy, he had an epiphany: Most BDSM toys are either uni-taskers, cheaply made, or not made to a customer's specific desires. Then, he realized that he had the ability to make his own tools. Not only would they be beautiful, they would be functional, able to multi-task, and coveted by many. The fact that he made us a set as noobs (rookies in the practice of BDSM) was not only a shock but an olive branch from one community to another. 

Each one of Mr. H's sets is created from paracord. Paracord is the cord that makes up each line of a parachute. So, when a parachute opens up, the canopy is tied to the harness by way of paracord -- many of them. It is also known as 550-cord due to its innate properties to hold up to 550 pounds of tensile strength per single cord. Decorative cord, like the ones Mr. H uses, are likely not military grade (I'm a Naval Aircrewman with parachute experience), but they are still very very strong and durable. Anyone in the military knows what 550 or paracord is, and we all swear by it. For instance, I use it to lace my combat boots. There are 100s of uses, but we're not here to discuss that. We're here to discuss Mr. H and his kinky products.

Once I received the set, and Mr. H knowing that we're noobs, he offered some training via phone conversation. I spent nearly an hour on the phone with Mr. H to understand everything he made, how long it took, what types of knots he used, how to clean the tools, and how to use them properly. He was patient, professional, and free of judgment. For those of you looking to expand into BDSM, I can vouch for Mr. H as a true hero in the fetish and BDSM scene. 

Ok, let's get to the meat of the post and talk about what this incredible crafter made for us. In my set, you'll notice that all of the products are red and black (with blue cuffs). When you order your set, Mr. H will work with you to customize the colors to what you want.

1.  Cuffs

Of all the tools that Mr. H made, the cuffs are the only ones with minimal paracord work. They still take about two hours to complete (one hour per cuff). The actual cuff rope that he uses is soft enough to be comfortable while still being tight enough for restraining someone. I imagine this was by design. Let's face it -- not everyone wants to go to work the next day with metal cuff marks on their wrists, right? Right. BDSM is still a taboo around the world. People like to engage in the practice, but no one really talks about it in public.

There are two distinct pieces of knot work on each of the cuffs. The end cap functions as both a decorative touch, but it completely stops the rope from fraying. Those types of knots were typically used on hemp line when sailing ships. The art is not lost completely, but it is rare to find someone who can do it well. 

The second knot is a slip tie. This one is designed to slide freely up and down the core of the inner rope. It acts as a cincher to tighten down the cuffs. Because the cords are made of synthetic material, the knots cinching will be tight, but it will also be easy to remove. Remember, safety and trust are number one in any activity, and BDSM is no different. 

As a last resort, a simple pocket knife can cut the cuffs from the Submissive. No one is ever in any danger.

These cuffs, by the way, can be tied around your own devices. More specifically, however, Mr. H makes an over-the-door cross that is perfect for these restraints. When we get to that section, please pay attention to how they attach. That extra bit of line hanging off the tip of each cuff is for tying them to the over-the-door cross.

2.  Collar and Leash


Next up are the collar and leash. Let's focus on the collar first. 

The collar takes about two hours to complete. There are two heavy-duty metal rings and one easy-release connector. In addition to the beautiful Solomon Bar knots (aka Cobra knots), Mr. H incorporates decorative metal pieces per your request. In the case of this collar, he added pewter crosses and a skull. These accent pieces are strictly decorative in nature, but they add quite a bit of atmosphere to an already intimidating piece of gear.


Regarding size, Mr. H is not a stranger to the BDSM field. He knows that people vary in neck size, and he will work with you to get your collar just right. With that in mind, this is not an adjustable piece. If you have multiple Subs with whom you work, you may want to take measurements for each one.

Sure, Mr. H has the engineering skills to make an adjustable collar with knots like these, but it will likely lose all artistic value. The fitted collar not only looks sharp, but it is designed for one specific person. Having something custom made like that will provide your Submissive with more trust knowing that you have taken the time to commission (and spend money on) a fitted collar for him/her.

The leash that comes with the collar is not included in the kit unless you want it. You could use a cheaply made Chinese knock-off, or you could use your own custom leather leash that you paid an arm and a leg for. But, if you want to support your BDSM community in full, then ask Mr. H make you a leash.


The leash takes about two to three hours to complete. Like the collar, it also comes with a sturdy, easy-release connector. The entire leash is made of one long Soloman Bar (Cobra) knot. When complete, Mr. H folds the end back onto itself to make a loop. That loop is big enough for bigger hands. If you are a giant, however, let him know so he can customize it further. 

The leash measures about 18 inches long (20 if you include the connector. It's a short leash, but that fits the BDSM community quite well just based on the "short leash" idea of control. (She's got you on a short leash, huh?) 

3.  Riding Crop

Now, let's move onto the riding crop. Third down the list of my top picture, and also pictured here, this riding crop is almost so beautiful, I don't ever want to use it. But, that would be a dereliction of duty, since it begs to be used.


This particular crop takes between 10 and 12 hours to create. Remember, when you're paying for quality craftsmanship, you are not just paying for the design and beauty. Mr. H makes about $5 an hour doing this work (after materials and shipping costs). If the price is too high, Mr. H can work with you to get it down, but you will loose some of the more intricate knot work in the final product. Someone who is experienced in the BDSM scene knows exactly what quality looks like, and this is quality work. 

The inner core of the crop is two pieces. The thinner dowel (which is a plastic dowel) is designed to fit inside the larger dowel (solid wood). The plastic, thinner piece adds a degree of flexibility to the crop without fear of breaking it. With precision cuts, glue, and knot work, you never have to worry about the pieces coming apart. The paddle of the flogger is crafted from genuine leather. The leather is double-backed onto itself and glued in place with a leather cement.


In addition to the basic use of a riding crop, Mr. H injected design characteristics that make this piece a true multi-tasker. The knot design on the handle of the crop is a herringbone pattern on the thinner piece and King Solomon's knot on the wider handle. This pattern (King Solomon) not only gives more grip for the user, but it can be doubled as a clitoral stimulator.


Because paracord is a porous material (we'll talk more about cleaning later), you should use a condom on the handle if you are going to engage the genitals. The condom will act in two ways. One, it will protect the Submissive from the transference of bacteria or disease. Two, it creates a smoother texture to the handle while still maintaining bumps and ridges built into it. The flatter side of the herringbone pattern could be used as a tease, whereas the hitch (connector) point of the pattern provides an incredibly bumpy texture.

4.  Flogger

I think the most popular piece for new fetlife (fetish life) people is the flogger. In this set, it is our personal favorite. Combined with design, practicality, ease of use, and even post-production customization options, it is by far Mr. H's most intricate piece.


First, let's talk about design. You'll notice the checker board-like pattern that runs both around and up the entire shaft. This is called a pineapple design. There are variations on how to build this type of decorative knotting, but a simple YouTube search will show you just how long it takes to do only a small amount of crafting. This handle alone (not counting the Turks head knots on each end) took Mr. H about 20 hours to complete! That's half of your work week to complete less than 12 inches of design.  (Unless you're Italian. Then 20 hours is more like three weeks of work.)


The flails that come out of the dowel (the handle) can be as few or as numerous as you would prefer (within reason, of course). Typically, Mr. H will create floggers with 20, 30, 40, and even 50 flails. The one you see here is 30. By using 7/8” and 7/16” dowels, Mr. H is able to glue each flail onto the smaller dowel in a circular ring, wrap it in tape, and then craft a decorative Turks head knot over the top of it. The whole piece becomes one seamless composition of BDSM functional art.


One of the other customization features Mr. H offers his customers is the amount of "sting" you want to get from this flogger. I'm kind of a wimp with a low pain tolerance, so I asked him to make it with minimal sting -- a softer set of flails. For that, he did some paracord magic -- by pushing the inner "guts" of the paracord inside the shell, he then cuts a small portion of the colored shell. When that was done, the inner strands pop out about 1/2 to 1 inch from the shell, and it creates a softer sensation during spanking. 

Other forms of more aggressive customization include melting the tips of the flails. Mr. H can also add knots to the tips. He will tie the knots and then melt the cut end back into the knots. This will become quite an aggressive piece.

When I mentioned earlier about the flogger being post-manufactured customizable, I meant that you can alter the tips yourself if you want to go more aggressively. Just keep in mind that if you melt any portion of the paracord, you can't undo do it. I truly suggestion talking to Mr. H about what you should do BEFORE you do it. He's the expert, and his customer service is amazing.

To use the flogger, you have quite a few options. From tickling to spanking to beating, the only limits you have are your imagination and the pain tolerance of your Submissive. Remember, if you're new to this, TRUST AND SAFETY ARE THE BIGGEST PARTS OF BDSM PLAY! If you are abusive in mind and action, you need to rethink why you're doing this and go get some professional help. This is supposed to be fun and enjoyable for all parties involved. 

Now, since you have a number of flails, you can use them all at once, or you can hold some of them back on the handle. Remember that the fewer you use, the more sting it will have at a certain place. Think of it like pulling one strand of hair from your head or five. Which one stings more? Same goes for the flails. That said, the more flails you use, the more overall pain you will incur upon your Sub. Remember that stinging is just that, stinging...but using all the flails will be more of a smack! Those sensations are very different. Again, think about that hair-pulling analogy. Pulling five hairs at once no longer stings, it produces a very different feeling.

In addition to using the flails, some Submissives might desire a "beating" on his/her derriere. If this is the case, just make sure you are extra careful when administering blows, and stay completely on the flesh of the buttocks. If you move too close to bones, joints, or the spine, you run the risk of severely injuring a person. Frankly, I would save this practice until you become better educated and trained in BDSM.

5.  Over-the-Door Cross

The final product to present to you is Mr. H's Over-the-Door Cross. Combined with the cuffs that we discussed above, this is a powerful piece of bondage gear with incredible versatility.


The way it is used is very simple. Remember those extra bits of cord on the cuffs? Those are going to be tied around the loops of the cross. I'll admit, I used this wrong when first going at it. I thought I had to hook the loops over the corners of the door and do some weird thing with the cuffs to get it to work. Mr. H was patient and corrected my form. Here are pictures on how to set this beauty up properly:



Pictured above, on whatever side of the door you will not be engaging your Submissive, that is where you want the bar to hang. In this case, the bar is on the hallway side of our bedroom door. The cuffs are already tied onto the loops of the cross. Because no one is attached to them, the cross hangs down slightly. When someone is attached to the cuffs, it will draw the bar up to the top of the door and hold your Submissive in place.


Once you have the loops and bar hanging over the door (hence over-the-door cross), you can insert your Submissive's hands and tighten down the cuffs. There are several types of knots you can use to cinch the excess cord, make things tighter, or make them looser. YouTube, Google, Wikipedia...and if all else fails, maybe Mr. H will give you some pointers. From his experience, even a simple shoelace knot will work to tie the cuffs to the cross.

With 20 hours of work in the over-the-door cross, Mr. H did not want it to be a uni-tasker. The cross can be used for thumping play (light to heavy tapping on your Sub). The benefit of his tight knot work makes it ideal for massage as well. Rolling the bar up and down the muscles of your Sub (or on my own legs before I go out for a run) is much the same as some of the expensive Physical Therapy tools I have used. 

Again, you are only limited by your imagination.

Cleaning Your Paracord Bondage Gear

Almost everything you see on my site is body-safe. That means the products I have reviewed are non-porous and safe for insertion. They can be cleaned with soap and water, and you have little to worry about.

Paracord, however, is not a body-safe material. You need to take extra care of these products to minimize bacterial growth. These are not products that you should introduce to any orifice on your body. They are made solely for external use. Here is how to clean them:
  • Get yourself a high concentration bottle of rubbing alcohol. Up in Canada, where Mr. H makes these, I think all isopropyl alcohol comes in 90% or 100% solutions. Not so in the USA. We have 40%, 70%, and I think I saw a 90% at the store. Get the highest you can find.
  • Also, get a quality spray bottle. You can even find these at the dollar store. Just make sure it produces a good amount of spray when you squeeze the trigger.
  • Mr. H suggests using a 10 to 1 (water to alcohol) ratio as the cleaning mix. So, make that mixture (even a little stronger if you want) and shake it up.
  • For most of the static gear, a simple spray-down will work. Spray the entire tool and let it air dry.
  • For the flails on the flogger, you need to spray and spin the flails at the same time. It will take a little getting used to it, but you'll get the hang of it. 
  • Do not over-immerse your gear in solution. The dowels are all wood (save one), and the paracord has a habit of not giving up moisture. You're not trying to penetrate the inner core of the paracord. You're trying to ensure the surfaces are fully coated in bacteria-killing alcohol. Paracord will not rot, because it's made of petroleum products. It will harbor bacteria if left wet.
For storage, wait until everything is completely dry. Mr. H's products are beautiful and should be stored in an open forum (if your lifestyle allows for it). If not, a simple storage bin is suitable. These products will last you for years if you take care of them. They are not cheap, but then again, they are not cheaply made. Believe me when I tell you that you will get what you pay for. I have high doubts that you will find anything comparable to Mr. H's BDSM gear for the prices he offers. 

Conclusion

Mr. H does this more as a hobby than for an income. He promotes his BDSM lifestyle, but he is also an advocate of sex-positivity. His vanilla lifestyle outside of his dungeon is juxtaposed to his true nature. Unfortunately, we still live in a world where people shame those who enjoy kink. People like Mr. H are changing this one person at a time and one bondage set at a time. 

I want to personally thank Mr. H for spending over 70 hours of his off-duty time creating this entire set for us. I only hope this review can do justice for what he has done for us.

If you haven't clicked any of the hyperlinks, CLICK HERE to add Mr. H on Twitter so you can order yourself a set. 

Thank you again for visiting my blog. Feel free to contact me directly with any comments, questions, or suggestions. Subscribe to Sexually Secure, so you know when I post new content, or you can follow me on Twitter.
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