Making Cordage from Natural Materials

When you're caught in a bind — or at the end of your rope — making cordage is a skill that could come in handy.

making cordage - prepare twist
You can make a simple wrap by twisting the fibers into a strand. Then, to secure the twist, take the middle in your teeth and bring the two ends together. When you let go, the strand will twist around itself naturally.
Tom Brown
making cordage - reverse wrap kink
For a reverse wrap, twist the fiber bundle in the middle until it kinks.
Tom Brown
making cordage - bottom strand toward you
Bring the bottom strand toward you.
Tom Brown
making cordage - wrap second strand
Wrap the bottom strand once around the second strand.
Tom Brown
making cordage - wrap first strand
Then do the same with the second strand, wrapping it around the first, and keep repeating this procedure.
Tom Brown
making cordage - finished
When knotted on the end to keep it from unraveling, the result will be strong cordage that you can use like machine-made rope or twine.
Tom Brown
making cordage - tree bark cambium layer
One good source of natural cordage is the bark from dead trees. Just strip off long sections of the fibrous cambium layer between the wood and the outer bark, and wrap them together.
Tom Brown
making cordage - roll bark
In order to break down this material a little more, damper your skin and roll the fibers between your palms or against your leg.
Tom Brown
making cordage - finished twine
String, twine, and rope is useful stuff, and knowing the knack of making cordage can be a useful skill.
Photo by Tom Brown Jr.

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