Author Topic: Cedar bark cordage  (Read 1421 times)

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Offline CherokeeKC

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Cedar bark cordage
« on: April 20, 2013, 02:31:18 pm »
I have tried a couple of times to get the bark off of cedar and use it for rope.  It seems to break really easy.  Am I using the wrong part of the bark?  I know your supposed to use the "inner bark" but I dont know if I am actually using that or not.  I also find it difficult to peel the bark off of the tree without it breaking.  If anyone has any pointers or pictures that would be great.

Thanks
KC
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Offline PrimitiveTim

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Re: Cedar bark cordage
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2013, 03:13:30 pm »
 Yeah, the outer bark is really weak.  No reason to use it unless it's for a wick or something.  Only use the softer part of the bark.  Try to get rid of the parts that are rigid.  Also what you do have break up into smaller pieces and work it until it feels softer.  As you're making it be gentle with it so it doesn't break.

What is the purpose of this cordage?

I've never used the inner bark I don't think
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Offline TRACY

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Re: Cedar bark cordage
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2013, 04:30:02 am »
I cut and peeled a 2 inch sapling the other day and the barked slipped right off with the sap being up. I agree, the cambium layer doesn't seem strong for good cordage.

Tracy
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Offline nclonghunter

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Re: Cedar bark cordage
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2013, 07:54:49 am »
Not certain about making rope, but I have pulled outer cedar bark off to make fire tinder. I would roll it in my hands and that would separate the lose stuff leaving the string like fibers. Those are like a birds nest bundle and can then be twisted into cordage. The fibers are not long but long enough to be twisted.
Get a piece of sisal cordage and untwist it looking at the fibers. Very similar to cedar. Take 10-15 lengths of cedar strings and twist them together to make a rope.

This may be what you are doing already, just adding this to help out...Good Luck
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Offline CherokeeKC

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Re: Cedar bark cordage
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2013, 05:03:23 pm »
It is Eastern Red Cedar.  I just wanted to make some rope to see how soft and strong it was.  Thanks for all the tips guys.
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Offline madcrow

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Re: Cedar bark cordage
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2013, 08:56:07 pm »
I have used the inner bark of eastern and western red cedar.  It is soft, but not as strong as dogbane or milkweed.  What I twisted up seemed to get weaker over time.

Offline TatankaOhitika

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Re: Cedar bark cordage
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 06:42:38 pm »
You need to seperate the outer bark from the inner bark as soon as you remove it . My favorite method is taking the back of a hatchet and using that to peel away the outer bark while you place tension on the inner bark , almost a pull and push effect . And soaking the inner bark in a boiled wood ash lye solution helps to loosen it up . Cedar bark isn't great for anything but general lashing and small trap parts ( think deadfalls like the pauite ) . Iv'e had luck with long branches as knot free as possible
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Offline swamp monkey

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Re: Cedar bark cordage
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2013, 07:21:35 pm »
I have had similar experiences with red cedar inner bark.  you can make cords but they can't be excessively twisted or the fibers break.  Light binding work, baskets or wicks are its best uses.  Prehistorically Natives use the cedar cordage to make sandals and slippers.  I could see that being soft and comfortable! 

BTW the inner bark of cypress trees makes a comparable cordage to red cedar.  give it a shot.