After a few weeks of soaking I thought it was time to check on how the bark was doing in the stream. When I got there I was glad to see it was still under water despite all the hot dry weather. It was now very soft and supple but not yet breaking down in to the layers of thin material.
Here is a quick guide to making cordage from the inner bark of a Lime tree.
It is best done in spring when there is a lot of sap rising, it makes getting the bark off easier. I went out last weekend, although late I was still able to remove the bark without too much trouble.
I found a young tree that had fallen over, which was ideal. I then cut it into lengths of about 2 to 3 meters and removed the side shoots. Next I made a deep cut into the bark the whole length of the cut section.
I then from the corner of the cut started to peel the whole layer of bark up from the wood. It is then ready to peel. I made a wooden spud to help me with this. The spud is a tool to aid you in peeling bark. Once I had the bark lifting I then used the spud to ease it away bit by bit.
I slowly worked my way down the wood easing the bark away. I worked both edges away until I could finally remove the whole bark from the wood, hopefully in one long piece.
It is not long before I had a pile of bark all stripped from the wood. Next I lay the bark out on the bed of a stream. It will need to stay under water for 4 to 6 weeks, where it will slowly separate into lengths of fibres. I will check it at times to keep an eye on its progress. When it is ready I will collect all the lengths of fibres and give them a good rinse as they will smell really bad. Once dried they are ready to turn into cordage.
BUSHCRAFT COURSES IN SOMERSET, Bristol and DEVON
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It does us good.
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