Winter Bow Drill Cordage

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Dugs

Member
May 28, 2016
14
1
North west
Hi, long time no post,

I recently succeeded in making fire from a bow drill set I put together whilst out in the woods, which has been a long term goal for me. I used nettle cordage which worked well without having to dry it out.

This got me thinking about what would be a good cordage for repeating this in winter? Think freezing temperatures and snow covered ground.

Any ideas?

Thanks

Louis
 
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Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,625
1,722
S. Lanarkshire
Bast fibres like lime or willow bark, spruce roots, and the like. Hard to get the roots up sometimes when it's frozen ground though. Bark comes off and it warms up and seperates with a fair bit of work. Beating it helps.
That said, in drier areas nettles stand over winter, and when the leaves have fallen the stems can be stripped of their sheathing and that is a kind of natural retting process that leaves the fine fibers available for spinning into beautiful cordage :)
If you can find decent condition rushes, they can be stripped out and shredded into fine lengths. Those twist and ply up very well. They won't take dogs abuse, but they will work at a pinch. Tried it and it's not multi use stuff, but it did the job.

There's another one that will sound totally off the wall, but garden lobelia, if left in situ, quietly rots down to a cluster of stems. Those stems are rich in fibre though, because the lobelia is a member of the flax family and it'll twist up into good cordage too. Clematis (pick the right kind though) also works. Fiona managed it with ivy, and I managed it using fleece gathered from a barbed wire fence.

Bound to be folks know a lot more than I do though.

Nice interesting topic :cool: fun to play around with :)
 
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Dugs

Member
May 28, 2016
14
1
North west
Many Thanks,

I shall give the bark a go. hopefully it won't be too difficult to get off the tree. I imagine it will be easier to separate from dead wood.

Cheers
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,377
1,449
McBride, BC
I disagree, Dugs. To separate the long fiber from the rest of the different cell types in the bark,
try to go with fresh bark first, if you can. Harvest nettle for mid-winter efforts. Lots and lots of it.

Many big western red cedars here on the west coast have long, wide grooves where bark has been pulled.
It has to be boiled to soften it and split it into thin strips for weaving capes and hats.