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Lashing and Cordage
Lashing is needed for almost every type of equipment from tents, to backpacks, to beds, to snowshoes. If man-made cord is not available, cordage can easily be produced from plant fibers or tree bark. Cordage is made from two or more plant fibers twisted together. Every plant must be prepared in a specific way in order to obtain the most efficient lashing. Specific instructions for preparation of several plants are included on this page followed by general instructions for making cordage.

Instructions for Plant Fibers or Bark Preparation

Steps for Making Cordage

Instructions for Plant Fibers or Bark Preparation:
Bull Thistle

twist together the tough fibers of the stalk
Cattail

cut and dry leaves; shred into long strips
Cedar

pull strips of bark off trunk
Cottonwood

shred inner bark
Elm

strip long pieces of the inner bark
Hickory

shred inner bark
Juniper

roots and inner bark
Linden

shred inner bark
Milkweed

soak stem and pound until the stem fibers separate
Mulberry

shred inner bark
Oak

shred inner bark of white oak
Willow

soak bark and pound until fibers separate
Yucca

harvest green plant, soak and pound until fibers separate
Steps for Making Cordage:
  1. Once you have suitable plant fibers you can begin to make cordage. Tie several fibers together and group into two bundles. Make the two bundles different lengths so they do not run out at the same time. Take each group in one hand and twist the fibers to the right to form tight bundles.
  2. Once each group of fibers is twisted, begin to twist the two bundles together, always passing the right bundle over the left bundle.
  3. Keep twisting until you are a few inches above your shortest fiber. Splice new fibers in by laying a new twisted bundle where the two bundles meet and twist the new fibers into the cord leaving a short end protruding. The excess fibers can be trimmed when the cord is finished.
  4. Make sure that new bundles are the same thickness as the original bundles to maintain the same thickness through your cord. Continue twisting and adding bundles until you have the desired length of cord.

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