Post Your Cordage Photos (Natural Cordage, Lashings, Improvised Cordage etc..)

Discussion in 'Other Skills' started by NWPrimate, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I tried making fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium) cordage for the first time today.

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    The process of removing the outer fibers was a litle more difficult than working with stinging nettles but not bad. It was surprisingly slimy though.

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    While removing the fibers was a little bit more tedious than working with nettles, it yielded some really nice material. It split down along the entire length with ease and twisted together very nicely after drying for about an hour in the breeze. I didn't trim it at all and it still came out looking pretty. This is eight feet of two strand twist.

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    Doubled over again into 4-ply.

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    I put it through the bow drill test.

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    It's only showing a little bit of wear. Thanks again @Pict for showing me the superiority of 4-ply cordage for bow drill.

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    I really like this stuff. You don't need gloves to harvest it and it really twists together nicely. I wanted to try it on the fly today, but I'm going to experiment with giving more drying time and breaking down the fibers further.

    It looks like this plant is fairly widespread, so some of you might have it in your area.

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    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  2. melbolt65

    melbolt65 Scout Bushclass I

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    Nicely done @NWPrimate , that looks like some really good stuff and we'll made. I see at one end of the bow you used a knot through a split to hold the cord, what is going on at the other end out of curiosity?
     
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  3. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks @melbolt65 . With natural cordage, wrapping it around my fingers works best for me. It lets me adjust the tension as needed, just by flexing my fingers.

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  4. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I had to sit in on a conference call yesterday and ended up twisting up some cordage out of strips of printer paper.

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    It was a lot stronger than I was expecting and I couldn't break it with my hands. Of course I had to try it with a bow drill set and for a while it looked like it was working.

    Unfortunately, once the friction started to build, it slipped a little and I felt it get loose. I tightened it up again and it snapped.



    I think making a bit more and clove hitching it or twisting it into 4-ply would have been enough to make this work.
     
  5. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    @NWPrimate : nice use of conference call time! :)
    Did you like the wide of the strips shown in the picture, or if you did it again, would you change the width? I'm trying to build a sense for the benefits of starting wider or narrow for cordage materials. I think there's been previous discussion in this thread about the ease of twisting up narrower material, but I imagine the wider material has better breaking strength when it's twisted up.
     
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  6. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That's a good question @rsnurkle and one that I often wonder about too. From my limited experience it almost seems like finer fibers are better at gripping each other in the twist and so kind of make up for the reduced individual strength by combining forces. The limitation I usually run into with natural fibers is that I can only break them down so far before I start losing so much length that it feels like I'm working against myself.

    The paper might be a little different though since it's kind of a unique material. Thinner stripes would probably result in an overall smoother cordage which could make it less prone to tearing itself, but I do get the feeling that going much thinner than I did would have resulted in weaker cordage. I wasn't putting much thought into it at the time, my fingers just started twisting a strip that I twisted off of my note sheet, and before I knew it I was heading inside for more paper. :)

    If I was trying to make the strongest printer paper cordage possible, I would probably pay extra attention to making uniform strips around the same size that I used last time; cutting instead of tearing them and tapering the ends to facilitate smoother splicing.
     
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  7. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    basswood done by @Pict method. thanks for sharing and so fast!
    20170714_125454.jpg
     
  8. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  9. Pict

    Pict Qualified to attempt things at home Supporter

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    Basswood is good stuff. It's one of my favorite carving woods, feels like soap.

    Back in the day I used to cut grass for the Township, public parks and right of ways all over the place. We used a John Deere farm tractor with a sidebar cutter, and I spent four days a week just cutting grass to keep ahead of it all. One property, Oakbourne Park, took a full eight hours. The rough ground constantly tripped the breakaway of the sidebar so it was two steps forward and one step backing up to reset the bar all day.

    Halfway through the summer we added a John Deere 760. I left for the park at 8:00 AM. When I showed up at the shop at @10:30 my boss came over all worried.

    "What's the matter?"

    "Nothing's the matter. I'm done." His face lost all color.

    "Don't you tell ANYONE how fast you can cut grass now! If the commissioners know we can get it all done in two days they'll load us up with all kinds of $#!# to do!"
     
  10. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    practising cordage wrappimg. jute and hemp with some 4ply

    sounds familiar, i used to work maintenance at our regional airport and my boss gave me something to do and i came back a few hours later and he was suprised saying it was supposed to take me the rest day! opps
     
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  11. Pict

    Pict Qualified to attempt things at home Supporter

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    Making enough cordage for a project isn't supposed to take all day.
     
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  12. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    More fun with nettles today.

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    I broke them down into a handful of fibers as usual.

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    It's amazing how much they shrink after hanging in the breeze for an hour.

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    Once they dried out completely, I soaked them in the creek to get them flexible again. After having success with braiding strips of maple bark, I wanted to see if I could make a bow drill cord by braiding nettles instead of twisting them. I separated out about ten to twenty percent of the fibers and hung them up in case I needed to supplement thickness along the way and tied a knot in the rest.

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    To keep the three strands separated, I gave them each a loose twist. This helped, but I was still fighting the ends through the process.

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    I hitched the knot to a tree with a piece of grass and started braiding. I actually twisted the fibers the same way as you would with a two-strand twist for each time I folded a strand over the middle.

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    The extra fibers I set aside came in handy in keeping the strands consistent, and when it tapered out at the end, I switched over to two strand twist, thinking that this thin section would work great for wrapping around my fingers.

    I eneded up with three feet of proper braid, and another eight inches of twisted twine at the end.

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    It passed the bow drill test.

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    Almost no damage.

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    Aside from keeping the ends from tangling, I was impressed at how quickly I could braid this up. Despite not having the muscle memory in place, it seemed faster than two-strand twisting, and because it held up well to the bow drill test, it has me wondering what the pros and cons are of twist vs. braid.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017 at 11:38 PM
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