Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bishop, Jun 14, 2017.
This is a very good skill to have not just in shtf but in every day uses.
I always thought cordage was wet down prior to weaving. I think if it is wet or damp when braiding then it shrinks as it dries making it stronger.
I imagine wetting would make the fibers easier to work with. I'm less sure that strength would be greatly affected. Back in the early days of real rope built up from hemp fibers, there was some oiling involved, not wetting, but of that I know little. After produced and put in service, the rope was treated with tars as a water repellent and rot deterrent
Knowing how to make rope is a valuable skill, knowing how to harvest and process the materials to make rope is an invaluable skill. My grand father raised hemp for the government in WW I and up into at least the late 1940's there were volunteer plants still growing in some areas on the farm. We made some hemp rope when I was about 6 years old. Took the stalks, broke them between 3 pieces of wood, let them rot in a pond, stripped them over a sharp edge to get rid of the outer shell, dried and combed the fibers and spun them into a cord on an old flax spinning wheel, took the yarn and made a small rope of about 6 strands using a hand built rope spinner, Lehman's also sells them now and then reversed the spin and made a second rope of about 3 strands. They were twisted, not braided as shown above. The work required and the resulting rope convinced me even at the age of 6, that rope was a good thing to have in storage. It was strong, flexible, would run through a pulley, and didn't unravel, but it took an awful lot of work to make, including the raising of the hemp it took months to make, was rough and irregular in shape and sure didn't look pretty. The modern ropes made out of oil based products take an infrastructure that is very complex, oil wells, refineries, plastic factories, rope production plants, etc, and are available for pennies, will store for 30 years at least, my experience, and take up little space. My personal biases are towards heavy sewing thread, used in a hand stitcher for leather and canvas, mason's cord, used in fishing rigs, tying things down, supporting plants, etc, and any rope made by Samson for boating etc, from 1/8 in to 1/2 in. Often available at the end of boating season for pennies on the dollar as stores get rid of anchor lines, dock lines, camping cords, etc. Parachute cord is a great thing to have in a survival bag, but of limited use on a homestead. You can't easily use it to tie off a tree to control the fall, to hoist things into storage, to tether animals, to tow things, for trot lines, etc, as those thing usually require strength, bulk, and the ability to knot and untie. When I die and they have the yard sale to get rid of the old man's junk, there will be a couple thousand feet of different sizes of cord and rope, from thread, fish line, etc up to 1/2 in. I only hope that someone else will buy and use what I did not get around to using..
After posting the above, I started to think about timing and priorities in survival situations. The ability to make a usable cordage out of grass could save your bacon in a Bear Gillis situation, but if farming, fishing, logging, etc situation, you will have to go back to the next level and develop some heavy duty cordage, BtPost would probably be willing to trade some dried fish for a usable anchor line that would not fail in the first bad blow and allow his boat to drift into the rocks. Others may be catching animals, towing boats, hoisting sails, dragging out logs, etc. One of the least understood statements found most modern ropes and chains, is "not suitable for overhead lifting", which means it hasn't been tested or "proofed" and if it breaks and kills you, we covered our butts.
You are right about wetting the fibers it make the fibers easy to bend with out breaking when plying together some can even be plyed green
Spanish moss make a really good cordage but you have to kill it first and when it turns black it's ready to use
Nice post! I had the same thought about nails and safety pins.....
I am of the opinion that the ability to make cordage is a fundamental survival skill.
Here's a post about Spanish moss--I was surprised to learn that blankets can be made from it, and moss blankets were used by the Confederacy during the Civil War. Unfortunately, the video with this article is dead, and none of the links are still live.
She spins Spanish moss into beautiful blankets
Youtube has some great videos on making cordage from just about anything, including moss, dogbane, and cattail.
Also, here a neat trick for making cordage with two people.
Spanish moss was also used for clothing and works good as a Gillie for hunting
Palmetto works well for cordage, all of the old house places around here has some growing there, one of the most use's was to hang meat in the smoke house.
Saw palmetto works very good like Aeason said you can also eat it make arrows from it and fire
Just reading thru a few older post. I enjoy hearing of our older generations. I enjoyed hearing of your Dads teachings as well. I read in a genealogy book on my family tree years ago ,,it had a copy of a family members will from the 17 or 1800 hundreds,,, it was interesting to read what he was willing away,,,,,a few pounds of feathers , a fishing line with a weight and a couple hooks . There may have been a few other things in there , but these are what stuck in my brain. It just goes to show how we have changed , and what we actually put value to these days. Thanks , I didn't mean to change the subject of the post.
You know how somethings back fire when you least expect it.?
I remember a time grampaw was visiting and he an dad spent some time on the porch working rope . evidently Grampaw had made his own rope twisting machine and they made a lot of their own ropes in the past . I was only 5-6 years old at the time so being curious I asked how, and they assumed I hadn't the intellect to pick it up so I was dismissed the idea. I dropped interest being dismissed but never took an interest till I saw a rope spinner 30 years later my self and wondered about the process.
I must admit though having worked all kinds of rope I much prefer modern ropes, especially for handling and knot removal. .
The standards for climbing rope are critical, bends or knots diminish it's life and being kept clean is important.
Working on boats I worked rope day and night good weather and bad above and below water .
made slings for flying boats on a hoist for dry storage in an up stairs loft.
Due to some of the situations in life, I know the value of having something far more significant than para cord. but I don't dismiss it each tool has it's place .
Imagine some one very near and dear to you has fallen down a cravas , due to an earth quake ,how are you getting them back up?
in search and rescue stuff like this really happens , and being poorly prepared options for recovery diminish with time .
We have all seen movies where some one stretches a rope across a revene and climb across on the make shift rope.
Trouble is that can only be done in movies the tension on real rope this way is exponential, literally .
Know what your ropes can do having used them .
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