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Friday, September 7, 2007

Dogbane Cordage

This first photo shows a few hanks of rendered dogbane fiber. The red is from plants harvested in late September. The white fibers are from plants harvested in mid December after the first frost. The light red colored (hanks bottom middle and bottom left) was harvested in between these months. The large hank shown represents more than 200 plants. It weighs about 1/4 pound. These were harvested in 2004 along an outlet that flows into the Colorado river in Grand Junction, Colorado. Some believe that the longer the plant is exposed to the harshness of winter, the weaker the fibers. This is true in most cases. However, the white fibers (hank at lower right), when twisted into cordage has as much strength as the red, fresher, fibers. I figure that one or two frosts won't damage the fibers that much,but they should be harvested as soon as possible to prevent further damage. I harvested some plants the following spring and the fiber was so weak that a heavy piece of cordage would break very easily. Also, the fibers didn't come off the plant in long sections like the fall harvest.



Here is a photo of some finished cordage. All of them are z twist, two ply. The top cords are around five feet long. The rolled ones at lower left are a foot or so long and I made these for Paiute figure four traps.The two at lower right are the thinest I made and I used these for strength tests, planning to make a fishing line in the future.



Heres a link to an in depth article I did on cordage for Survival Blog and Primitive Ways.

Heres the link to Primitive Ways:

www.primitiveways.com/cordage_in_North_America.html

Thanks for reading my blog and I enjoy and post all your comments. Take care....Ron

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