Cordage

Discussion in 'Survival and Wilderness Skills' started by Strigidae, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. R Stowe

    R Stowe Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    I've been experimenting with some different natural fibers after making some dogsbane cordage with James. Here are a few I have held onto. The left is green processed yucca fibers, the center is a paiute deadfall trigger from dogsbane with a cedar tab, and the right is a piece of milkweed I made from the fibers that all came from one stalk. The milkweed is probably about 5 feet long at this point and I've since added some more to that piece.

    The milkweed was dried, then broken open, I removed the pith, and then soaked it to scrap the stalk skin away from the fibers. It almost looks like raw linen fiber when it first dries.

    The yucca is awesome because the fibers are all tapered and easily separated from the green material in the leaf. If you took your time you could make some really consistent thin diameter cordage with those. I've also used dried yucca and poplar bark for quick stuff.
     
  2. Kaw-liga

    Kaw-liga Member

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    This is a roll I made quite a while back back from cabage palm fronds. Sabal palm is the more common name, I think. Anyhow, they're abundant in my neck of the woods and are a lot easier to work with than saw palmettos (have wider fronds and are more pliable). I blistered my digits rolling this out. It's as tall as I am, which ain't saying much. I read somewhere, I can't remember where, that keeping beeswax in your kit to waterproof natural cordage is a good idea. I keep this little disc in my bag. It was a few bucks at a local sewing shop.
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  3. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    can you soak those before working them? (ie would it make it easier to plait? )
     
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  4. Kaw-liga

    Kaw-liga Member

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    I've never tried to soak them. I've done it before with dead grasses for that very reason. But I picked, seperated, and twisted these fibers while they were still green. I like your line of tought. It's certainly worth a try and the idea didn't cross mind. Thanks man.
     
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  5. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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  6. SEMO

    SEMO Member

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    Might have already posted these elsewhere in the forum.
    Each time I go out for a venture I test plants for cordage.
    Shamefully, I don’t know the plants id, but do know that they work!
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  7. R Stowe

    R Stowe Moderator Staff Member

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    James Gibson gave me some "redded" yucca fiber this weekend. Please excuse me if that's a misspelling. Essentially the leaves are soaked and stirred and it eventually removes the green layer. I haven't started working them yet but I think it'll be good stuff. He said it works even better in a moving body of water so a buddy and I are going to tie some up in a creek behind his house once the water gets a little lower.

    On another note, I ordered 350 flax seeds today and once they're in the ground it should take about 100 days for them to get prime cordage potential. From what I've seen they are super simple to process and make great cordage.
     
  8. Strigidae

    Strigidae Moderator Staff Member

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    More info and pictures of the flax cordage as you go along with it please!
     
  9. R Stowe

    R Stowe Moderator Staff Member

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    @Strigidae will do. It suggests waiting until after the last frost, which is projected for 4/21 here, so by late August/early September it should be dry enough to process.
     
  10. Kaw-liga

    Kaw-liga Member

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    I've heard of a similar method, I believe. I am excited to see this, too, when you have the time. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  11. SEMO

    SEMO Member

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    Ventured out today for a bike ride and natural cordage visit.

    Found a new plant that is prolific along the ditch bank. Have not identified it yet. However, it is great for making cord.

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  12. Caleb O

    Caleb O Member

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    Been practicing twisting some cordage from yucca for the last couple of days. Mostly was just making enough to practice the initial wrap and working in 3 to 4 splices. I was ending the cordage when I had enough length to set a Paiute deadfall. (Coincidentally it made a decent stylish bush bracelet lol) IMG_5336.JPG IMG_5338.JPG IMG_5341.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
  13. Caleb O

    Caleb O Member

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    Honestly I don't worry about a positive I.D. on stuff right away unless I'm planning on teaching/instructing with that specific plant. And generally by that time I've messed around with it enough to have found out what it is. lol I do that constantly with friction fire. I'm always trying out unknowns. Good stuff!
     
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  14. Caleb O

    Caleb O Member

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    Prepping yucca cordage for the retting process (technically rotting, further breaking down the fibers with a long soak in water, especially good for tree barks). This is honestly not necessary with yucca if you just want some quick cordage, but for something you want to last a while it seems to help. Pictured is the stuff I used C4C54ADF-F758-4C11-80B9-C46D6B28051A.jpg I cut off the pointed tips of the yucca leaves and any dead parts F9A5E88E-F09F-4486-B684-563541A55F6B.jpg then it's all about processing with your anvil and hammer stone (smooth ones are key as you don't want to cut your fibers) 1167A551-90A3-4F39-A502-65181EF76D8E.jpg 53F8A92A-4A23-4E5B-BA1B-74AB7514F01A.jpg after the non fibrous out layer has come off I keep working the fibers until they start separating 1B4B7637-ABA9-47B7-9AB7-A039EB0150F9.jpg EAC6AB48-93CA-4910-8635-7DEEC60FCB96.jpg at that point I'll continue to pull them apart by hand 63115EC3-1B68-421D-BB9F-55ED7A4DC26F.jpg F631EA9F-397C-44D5-AF6F-CDBB8C01D218.jpg honestly you can get them as small as you want, but these are ready to be retted or wrapped as is AD9D977A-C3B5-41B9-8CA3-F49C431DECB0.jpg E3BA3EF7-7BF9-4895-A5A3-C43C1D00038D.jpg retted (white) and non retted (green) yucca fibers
     
  15. Kaw-liga

    Kaw-liga Member

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    Great walkthrough and pics Caleb. Is there an approximate time for the soak or are they done retting when they're white? Being in the SE I'm never out of spitting distance from a palmetto of some type. There's yucca in our area but it's usually an ornamental. Every time I run across it I wanna snag some just to twist it up. Thanks man!
     
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  16. mtngoat

    mtngoat Member

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    @Caleb O what kind of Yucca is that, everything we have around here I super flat, that looks like it has some pulp to it.
     
  17. Caleb O

    Caleb O Member

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    I do at least 4 days when it's cold out. When it's warm like it is now I'll probably end up pulling it after a couple days. Then it's simply laying it out in the sun to dry (weighted down as once dry a breeze will blow them away). They'll whiten once dry. Generally when whet they'll retain the green color.
     
  18. Caleb O

    Caleb O Member

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    Best I can tell these are a type of banana yucca (based on flowers, young fruits, and leaves). Could be a hybrid though as it's on the edge of a nature preserve parking area, and there are a lot of folks with "exotic" yucca in the neighborhood close by (definitely lots of pollinators around when in bloom).
     
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