Monday, September 04, 2006

Bark Cordage

This weekend I met some friends in West Virginia to go white water rafting. One of the best parts of the trip was the camping. We camped two nights at a camp ground close to the rafting place. The forest was really cool. It was pretty damp and there were lots of fern plants. To me it felt like the forest planet Endor where the Ewoks lived in Return of the Jedi.

I built a fire each night we were there. The first night I was able to light it with my bow drill kit. I got a coal in less than a minute. Unfortunately no one was there to see it, because when I tried it the second night in front of the whole crowd, I couldn't get one after four tries.

Anyway, when I was gathering firewood the bark just fell off of the branches since they were so damp. I was able to get 6-7 foot long strips. Long strips are nice because when you make cordage you don't have to splice in new material as often. So far I've made about 17 ft. of rope and I've used less than 1/10th of the material.

This is some of the original material I pulled from the tree branches. From this I peeled the inner bark to make cordage.


Here is the 17 ft. of rope I've made so far. On the bottom you can see the strips of inner bark that I twist together to make the finished product.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

what kind of tree?

Sassmouth said...

I was afraid someone would as that. I don't really know. I didn't ID it at the time. The area I was in was full of Tulip trees so tha would be a decent guess. Someone really knowledgable might be able to ID it based on the bark in the first picture.

fooiemcgoo said...

I have nothing to say about your bark cordage.

fooiemcgoo said...

I have nothing to say about your bark cordage.

Anonymous said...

Poplar sucka

Blackpacker said...

What do you find is the best weave for making cord? I really want to get started on my skills work with rope and knots, any advice?

Sassmouth said...

blackpacker, I'm no expert at cordage, so I've only really tried a few different ways. One of the easiest types is the reverse wrap. You can do it with pretty much any number of strands, but I've only tried two or three strands. For knots, I'd look on Amazon.com for a book. I bought "The Morrow Guide to Knots". It's a good book with nice pictures.

jason said...

I know this a really late post but from the pictures of the outside of that bark and your location of procurement, I would say that it is a red maple species.

wa-ya said...

Yes I live in that area and it is from the tulip poplar, or tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera). I have used it for tinder and it works very well.


~Wa-ya