What's your favorite natural cordage?

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by modernwoodsman, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. Daylily leaves

    1 vote(s)
  2. Willow bark

    4 vote(s)
  3. Dogbane

    1 vote(s)
  4. Stinging Nettles

    1 vote(s)
  5. Yucca leaves

    3 vote(s)
  6. other?

    10 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. I make various natural cordages from grass, canna leaves, mulberry bark, daylily leaves, iris leaves, vinca vines, and various root barks, etc. My favorite for light use is daylily cordage and mulberry bark cordage for heavier use.
    What's yours?

    chelloveck and Zimmy like this.
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I so completely suck at making cordage it's quite hilarious to watch. I always make certain I have 550 on me, but I can fashion some rope if I needed to...I usually use the vines hanging from trees up where I live and braid them. Some call this cheating, but I, being a free market capitalist see it as maximizing available time and resources. Plus, I have nimble fingers, they tire easily.
  3. PAGUY

    PAGUY Monkey

    Elephant grass works great but, will cut you to shreds if your not careful.

    Improvise, Adapt, Modify, and Overcome. FTM/PTB
    Zimmy and modernwoodsman like this.
  4. I believe in using what you have. You can use stuff like jute twine and practice doubling it by reverse twisting it on itself to make a thicker version. In this way, you can have fire tinder and whatever strength rope that you may need.
    chelloveck and Zimmy like this.
  5. Never tried Elephant grass. Is that similar to wire grass found in marshy areas?
  6. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I know that I can use wood coals and soak it in hot water with the vine/bark material and steep it in this to make it more durable to keep it from cracking when dried.
    chelloveck and Zimmy like this.
  7. How much ash do you use and how long do you soak the vines/bark for?
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  8. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Bumping because I am interested to know if any monkeys make their own cordage and what do they use. I think this would be a useful skill to have. I wonder what I can find in urban areas to make cordage.
    chelloveck likes this.
  9. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    rough cordage is grape vines soaked in water over night and then woven/braided into usable lengths... ( I have loads of grapevines.).. back up is Virginia creeper.... same process...
    chelloveck, Brokor, Ganado and 2 others like this.
  10. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Entrails from one's enemies?
  11. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready!

    I've never tried with anything but yucca and Spanish bayonet.

    I did take a few weeks and learned to make crappy cordage, fair sewing materials, a few baskets, and an ugly but loved hat. (I'd aggravate my daughter with threats to wear it to school to pick her up...ect.)

    I could see the leaves of Texas river cane possibly being cordage material.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  12. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    soaking? to make it more pliable?

    Is is tougher when it dries out after you braid it?

    My grandfather had one of these, and we used stripped cane and horse hair

    Motomom34 likes this.
  13. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    I braid and use it wet... it's more pliable and limits breakage... once dry it seems to hold well .... I've only used it on temp shelters and the like... so I can't specify how long it lasts....
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  14. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    Made it with cypress bark, palmetto leafs, palmetto stems, basic grass if it's tall enough. and thistle stem, probably a few others. Bark cordage is the "best" to my eyes, but that is largely because it is stronger, thinner than most of the others, and easier to twist and carry. Got a technique, so I'm sort of indifferent unless I have a specific project I an concerned about.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  15. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey Site Supporter++

    Heck, I'm just interested in seeing how it's done.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  16. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    So am I. I found some daylily plants in a public right away. I was thinking of getting some browned leaves and trying to make some cordage. I read up and saw that the dead leaves are perfect.
  17. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Even though I won't accept his silly hippy barefoot antics, Cody Lundin uses a basic technique that works well, as demonstrated here:

    My man, Ray Mears shows you how to do it with nettles:

    Cord from cedar bark how-to:

    And of course, cord from roots:

    There are lots of ways to make natural cordage and a plethora of materials can be utilized.
  18. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yep, making rope is not heavy duty science, but it IS time consuming, and practical lengths take some open space to work and sort strands. That said, I keep a spool of paracord around that will do for most applications.

    The best I did with the cub scout rope maker was (IIRC) about 3 feet using cotton twine as the base stock. Took way too long, but if my home built machine had not been quite as balky, well -----
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
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  19. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Back in the days of wooden ships and iron men, rope of all sizes was made of hemp, in all sizes, in what is called a "rope walk". Nothing more than a long building with some mechanisms that did the twisting. It was called a "walk" because the men that did the work had to walk from end to end many times until the cordage was finished. A square rigged ship had many miles of ropes in use and in stores, each of which was spliced together from whatever lengths came out of the walks. One walk I know of in the Charlestown (Boston) Navy Yard is something like 400 yards long, it's been out of commission for a long time, well, they don't use hemp (or sisal) these days, and the synthetics are made somehow and somewhere else.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
    oldawg and DuxDawg like this.
  20. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    i was messing around with plastic for makin icicles... we dont have thim in the SW so im doing some fake ones for the holidays and if was looking for an easy way to do strips from plastic bottles. And this guy has a unique and simple way of making cordage out of plastic bottles.
    DKR likes this.
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