CORDAGE*

Physical Development, Science (Anthropology, Botany)

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Separating the inner fibers for making the cordage.

Materials

Natural twigs from plants such as dogbane (Apocynum sp.
) and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).
NOTE: DOGBANE IS POISONOUS.

Methods


  • A dry stalk is cracked open and the exterior parts are slowly cracked away downward, leaving the inner fibers used to make the cordage.

  • Cordage is used for anything you would use rope or string for.

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Our fearless leader, Dino Labiste, enters the marsh to collect dry stinging nettle stalks.


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The fibers are now ready to make cordage. As you can see, Dino's glasses strap and bracelet are made from cordage.


  • It is probably easiest to learn this technique in a hands-on manner. Basically, the inner fibers are divided into two strands, which are then each rolled in the same direction. Those two strands are then rolled together in the opposite direction to stay together.
  • Cordage can be lengthened by splicing more fiber end-over-end.

by Heather Taylor, heather@teachoutside.org


* I learned this technique from Dino Labiste, a Naturalist with the East Bay Regional Parks District, during a class entitled, "Ohlone Tools and Games for Your Classroom."