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This article details the making of traditional cordage/rope. Although commonly made from synthetic materials or specific plants such as manila hemp, hemp, linen, cotton, coir, jute, and sisal, it is possible to make cordage from a variety of plants. Self-made cordage is useful for low important tasks/tasks that require little tensile strength (ie espaliering, bowstrings, fishing lines, trap triggers, snares, lashings, ...) The techniques described herein require no special tool (ie ring spinning frame, ...).
Obtaining source material
A variety of plants can be used, as well as tree bark (more specifically the cambium layer within it). Depending on the plant, different techniques are used to obtain the fibres to make the rope. See SSRI, Survivalblog, PrimitiveWays ,... for a list of plants that can be used and the way to obtain the fibres. Sometimes, retting is necessary
Method 1: simple wrap
Images: see http://www.wildwoodsurvival.com/survival/cordage/men79/index.html The first method discussed creates a wrap that is relatively fast to execute yet is less strong than the reverse wrap. To create it, hold onto the ends of the fibers and roll the whole bundle against your pants leg in one direction. By making repeated strokes along the entire length, you should be able to twist the fibers into a strand of makeshift cordage that's many times the strength of the original strands of material. Then, to secure the twist, take the middle of the strand in your teeth (make sure, of course, that it's from a nonpoisonous plant!) and bring the two ends together. When you let go with your teeth, the doubled cord will twist around itself naturally.
Method 2: reverse wrap
This second method allows for a much stronger wrap. To create it, start by twisting the fiber bundle in the middle until it kinks . . . then hold the kink between the thumb and index finger of one hand. With the fingers of the second hand, twist the bottom strand toward you and wrap it once around the other. Now, hold this wrap with the first hand and twist the new bottom strand toward you and wrap it around the other. Repeat the process along the entire length of your cord. If you need only a short section, tie a knot at the end of the double-wrapped piece and use it as is.
For more detail see the Nativetech website
- Animal sinew; a cord that is twice as strong as vegetable cord, yet which requires the presence of a (dead)