making nettle cordage

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Video of how to twist fibres into string: the 2 ply pygmy roll method

Making natural cordage from plant fibres is quite easy. For example nettle fibres are very strong. By harvesting them, stripping the leaves, crushing the tough nodes, splitting the stem and separating the pith from the fibres you can then be ready to twist them into cordage.

The various uses of cordage are pretty much endless. Use for lashing or tying things together, crude fishing line or snares, or use as an ornamental necklace or bracelet. The humble piece of string is one of the few things that is worthy of the survival hall of fame. Even better if you know how to make it!

Here is a step-by-step guide, plus a short video showing how to twist it into string.

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Fresh nettle

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Stripped of its leaves

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Crush the tough nodes by squeezing or bashing gently

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Using thumbnail split stem

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Slide finger and thumbnail up stem to spilt it lengthways

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Bend stem to crack pith and separate from outer fibres

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Pith and fibres separating

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Nettle fibres

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Gently pull apart into smaller lengths

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Leave to dry

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Dry fibres don’t shrink and loosen when twisted into string like fresh fibres do. However it helps to moisten the dry fibres a little to make them more flexible

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Two ply twist

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Two ply repeated into four ply

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Nettle bracelet

 

 

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