Some Cordage Questions

Discussion in 'Other Skills' started by Wyanokie, May 8, 2019.

  1. Wyanokie

    Wyanokie Supporter Supporter

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    Lately I've been practicing making cordage from plant fibers, and am really enjoying the projects! I have a few questions that came up that I'm hoping you all could help with?

    First question: I've got some basswood bark retting, it's been going for about 5 weeks. The bark is from smaller branches, so the outer bark is thinner, but it is not yet slipping off easily. The inner bark layers are starting to slip apart at this point. Should I continue to let it ret, or take some loss with the outermost layer of the bast and focus on getting the innermost layers now? I don't want to let it ret for too long and damage the inner bark.

    Also, once I get the inner bark off, should I fluff it or just peel into very thin strips and twist from there? I didn't know which would hold the cord up better in the long run.

    Second question: have any of you processed cattail leaves while still green? I tried to make a two-strand twist with them but they were gummy and broke easily, so I'm assuming they have to be processed in some way. Any advice?

    Thanks for any help that you can offer!

    -W
     
  2. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I have no advice. My natural cordage experiences are limited to vines.
    Hopefully someone will come along to answe your questions.
     
  3. halo2

    halo2 Curmudgeon in Training Supporter

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    I've not retted basswood nor made cattail cordage either. Looking forward to your experiments!
     
  4. Wyanokie

    Wyanokie Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks @MrFixIt and @halo2 ! So last night I checked the batch again. The outer bark peeled off easily, and the inner bark started to come apart more easily so we (my sons and I) processed the inner bark into strips to be made into cordage later. This is about 2/3rds of the batch. The rest seems to need another few days. At some point I'm going to use this cordage to try with a bowdrill set. First I have to learn how to do the Egyptian wrap or at least learn to use multiple winds on the spindle properly before going forward. I might have to hit up @NWPrimate for some advice :D

    Cordage 2-Basswood .jpg

    Thanks again!

    -W
     
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  5. ozarkbushman

    ozarkbushman Scout

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    I have used cordage from hickory bark and elm to do the bow drill. I just twisted it right up green without retting it. It works great. I always used the reverse twist. I have only tried cattail when it is dry so idk about green cattail. It seemed alot weaker than other fibers to me.
     
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  6. Wyanokie

    Wyanokie Supporter Supporter

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    Hey @ozarkbushman , thank you for the info. I've abandoned cattail for now. I tried it both green and dry and I agree with you about its weakness. Maybe down the road I'll give it another try. When you applied the bowdrill, how did you do the wrap, was it multiple wraps, or did you snap the spindle in like you do with artificial cord?

    Thanks,

    -Wyanokie
     
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  7. ozarkbushman

    ozarkbushman Scout

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    I just used a normal wrap like you would with Paracord.
    Just wrapped once around the spindle
     
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  8. buckfynn

    buckfynn Old Geezer Lifetime Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    The reverse twist is your best friend making natural cordage IMO.
     
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  9. Wyanokie

    Wyanokie Supporter Supporter

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    Thank you both!
     
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  10. NORKALNIMROD

    NORKALNIMROD Tracker

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    Two of my favorites are willow and sage. Both work with the reverse twist method.

    NORKAL
     
  11. Jim L.

    Jim L. Guide

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    Scrub palmetto stems work we too. Some one (please forgive me, I can't remember whom) did a great tutorial on using dew/black berry vines. Stuff looked like it could be used as tow cable.
     
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  12. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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