Spoon carving.

Spoon carving with Jon Mac.
A blog following my journey into the world of bushcraft, spoon carving and kuksa carving.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Nettle cordage...

 A couple of summers ago we cleared some of the stinging nettles from the bottom field. I used them to make cord for us to use in the garden. I will have to do it again this year as I have run out. Sarah and I took some photographs at the time and posted the article on our other blog. I thought it would be a good idea to transfer the information to this blog for the new season fast approaching ...

  First I strip the leaves by pulling the nettle through my clenched fist. Leather gloves are a boon at this stage. I gently bashed the stems on a flat board to open them out and make them easier to work.

I use my thumb nail to open the fibre bundle, revealing the pith inside that needs removing.

Then I carefully separated the fibres from the pith. This is easier to do when the nettles are fresh. And then split each fibre bundle into four strands.

I hang the fibres up to dry. I leave them for a day or so. The tough pith can go in the compost.

I then start by tying together four strands, holding the knot in my left hand. With my fingers I twist two strands together and then the other two strands get twisted together all in the same direction. This leaves me with two partially twisted bundles. I now want the two bundles to twist together into one cord.

  Twist the two bundles simultaneously, close to the hand holding the knotted end, as if you were a cowboy rolling a cigarette, and when tight, release the knotted end. The bundle should spin together. Hold the cord at the junction of the newly made cord to stop it from undoing, and repeat the process...

Before you run out of the initial fibres, add new ones by simply laying them along side the originals, they will twist in as you go. I had to pay attention to the thickness of the cord as it was made. Add more fibres if you need stronger cord.

 After a bit of experimenting I managed to make cord strong enough to use on a bow for friction fire lighting. But thats another story...


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