Nettle cordage Improving Technique

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P@ul

Forager
Jan 30, 2006
175
5
56
East Sussex
philaw said:
I've just had a second go at producing nettle cordage, and I'm finding it difficult to get long fibres off the plant. They often peter-out or break when I go past a knot. I used fairly big ones, but not the biggest. Does that matter? Was Inot pounding it enough?

cheers
How did you break down the fibres? I got better results by rolling the stem flat, rather than beating which seemed to weken the knot area.
P@ul
 

dommyracer

New Member
May 26, 2006
1,312
7
42
London
I find that rolling or pounding can destroy the fibres too much.
You can just squeeze the stems between thumb and finger till they flatten out. then run your thumbnail up the one side, open the whole lot out then separate the inside flesh from the outer.
 

philaw

Settler
Nov 27, 2004
539
1
39
Hull, East Yorkshire, UK.
All I did was try to split the nettle down one side, but it wouldn't split straight and I ended up with pieces all tapering towards the ends. I pounded the fibres with a baton on a concrete floor to loosen the fibres from the inner part.

Maybe I just need practice!
 

jdlenton

Full Member
Dec 14, 2004
3,002
7
46
Northampton
Wow not seen this thread for a while.

I have tried many new materials for cordage making since this thread and my technique has most definitely improved any questions please ask away

J*
 

Toadflax

Native
Mar 26, 2007
1,783
0
60
Oxfordshire
After seeing a very good tutorial at the Wilderness Gathering this year, I finally got around to trying my own nettle cordage this weekend. Techniques I was shown look very similar to posts 1 and 14 in this thread and the result wasn't too bad, thought I suspect it is a bit late in the season for getting good raw material.

I gathered some nettles last weekend but they are all pretty woody by now and I didn't get around to doing anything with them until this weekend, so they had dried out rather a lot. Still, it was good to get some experience in stripping out the fibres from the stems and to lose the fear of being stung. For getting at the fibres, I was shown (and found it worked well for me) the method of simply running a thumbnail up one of the sides of the stem to split it, then flattening out the stem before breaking out the waste material.

As other people on the thread have commented, the basic technique of twisting is relatively straightforward, the skills that needs to be learned (and will come with practice) are keeping a consistent thickness and bringing new fibres in neatly.



Geoff
 

spiritofold

Banned
May 7, 2004
701
1
48
Winchester
www.spiritofold.co.uk
Anyone got more pics of their nettle cordage?

Im busy collecting and stripping nettles at the moment to try and make a fishing kit. I'd be gratefull for any pics showing how you join or splice the fibres together to make it all longer. I think of all the topics on here this has to be my favourite.

Any help appreciated folks!

Andy >>>>>------------------------------<>
 

spiritofold

Banned
May 7, 2004
701
1
48
Winchester
www.spiritofold.co.uk
Blimey, didnt know you were still around!! :)
Hope all is well? Are you still on that other forum i used to frequent?

Cheers for the info, it just what i need. Need lots of practice cos i can see the trout round here breaking it easy.

Andy >>>>>------------------<>
 
Aug 27, 2006
457
10
Kent
Have you tried asking over on PaleoPlanet?

My inclination is to damp the threads and treat them in the same way as flax - damping helps the ends of each blended & overlapped bundle to join and 'stick' till twisted. Mind you, that's when using a spinning wheel or drop spindle, but I think the principle would be the same.
 

spiritofold

Banned
May 7, 2004
701
1
48
Winchester
www.spiritofold.co.uk
Looks like i'll have to ask elsewhere :rolleyes: I just thought there would still be people on here that were in the know.

Damping the fibres does seem to work better, makes it far more pliable. Through trial and error i've managed to make what i need. Leaving long tails for the splice seems to help,
as well as starting off with the longest possible nettle fibre.

Also, its killed my legs rolling the stuff, i now have neolithic knees, nettle rashes and no hair on my thighs.....

Thankyou for your input chickenofthewoods :You_Rock_

Andy >>>>>-----------------------------------<>
 

sandbender

Mod
Mod
Nov 29, 2004
7,808
7
Scotland
This book...

Indian Fishing: Early Methods on the Northwest Coast
Hilary Stewart
ISBN 0295958030

http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-m...ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_all/103-5927211-2320630

http://www.yukoninfo.com/images/fishinhtools.gif

Is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in making cordage, hooks and other fishing equipment. The book is illustrated with hundreds of drawings and photographs, detailing the construction of hooks, lines, sinkers, lures, floats, clubs, spears, harpoons, nets, traps, rakes and gaffs etc.

At $19 from Amazon US it's a bargain

:)