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Thread: Fine Cordage

  1. #1
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    Default Fine Cordage

    I have been playing with cattails to make fine cordage. I can get it down to four strands with a breaking point somewhare over 15 lbs (lifted two gallens of water). But it averages .060" in diameter and I want it thinner so I can line a tipuo with it this winter. Does anyone know how to get the chaff off the fibers without dammaging the fibers? I think if I could get the chaff off I could make a much thinner line that is just as strong or stronger because the chaff wouldn't be rubbing on the fibers as I twist it.


  2. #2
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I haven't worked with cattails, but maybe the yucca method I use will help.

    When working with fresh yucca leaves, I lay a flat board either on my lap, or on a stump, lay out my leaf on top, and take a hammerstone and lightly pound the leaf breaking up the thick waxy layer on the outside. It makes scraping sooo much easier. then just scrape it with a good edged stone, or you might prefer a knife, held at about a 90 degree angle and clean it down to the fibers. dry them out, then after a day or two, soak them in water for 15-20 minutes to reconstitute the fibers so they wont be brittle when twisting.
    When using dried leaves, I just roll them around in my hand to break up the chaff, but do it in the wind. the dust makes me sneeze lol.
    like I said, I haven't done cattails, YET, so let me know how it goes.
    maybe that will help.
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  3. #3
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    I can not remove the chaff from the fibers by scraping or rolling because it just sticks to the fibers so well that rolling doesn't do anything and scraping causes the fibers to rip. I have not tried punding yet. What I have done so far is cut with a knife between each and every fiber once the leaf is dry then soak in warm water for a few minutes before twisting(it's not as bad as it sounds, one leaf takes only a couple minutes to slice and will give me about twenty feet of finished string). Have you tried anyother ways to remove the chaff? Like I said the string I am making is already fairley fine but I feel that if I could remove the chaff I could get it down to .030

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pict's Avatar
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    You could try soaking them in water for a week or so and let the chaff dissolve. Mac
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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    good call. retting is commonly used to remove extraneous plant material for fiber production.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retting
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  6. #6
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    Will retting work with cattails? Will it weaken the fibers?

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