Monday, December 26, 2011

Rawhide Cordage

The boys are making new bows, and we set out to make new bowstrings and cordage from the recent batch of rawhide.

We took a 10" x 17" piece of rawhide, and using a strip cutter we quickly cut the hide into 1/2" strips.

The strip cutter was invaluable to cut quickly and uniformly.

Wrinkles in the hide made us slow down, but not much.

Round and around, the hide quickly reduced to a pile of strip.

The end.

From that small piece, we cut a strip 21.5 feet long!

We soaked the dry rawhide strip in some rainwater and salt for about a half hour to make it easier to work.

We tied off one end of the strip, and stretched it out while twisting it.

It was easy work and went quick. Careful, though, because a couple of the 'wrinkles' in the strip broke easily.

It worked well to tie the pieces together and stretch it out - in fact after it dried we could hardly feel the bumps.

We stretched and twisted, then tied the hide outside to dry.

It has been really dry this December, so we didn't go out and restretch it.

After a week, we checked the cord, then worked it over a branch to make it more supple and smooth.

Working it back and forth on a wire fence was better - and easier.

After the final workout, the total cord length had grown to almost 30 feet long!

Very cool. It is strong and easy to use. Fun!