As a few mates and I sat around talking in the sun today, I had remembered reading the instructable on how to make rope out of dead plants .
At his house there is a small ( 2.5 meter ), wide leaf palm-tree of some sort growing in his garden. Around the trunk, there is a growth of brown stringy, almost coconut husk looking hair at the node of each leaf to it's base. After a little 'gentle' removal and inspection of the material, I could see that it was dry, wire-like, and with a very slight tendency to grip to itself like velcro. This seemed perfect for testing out the instructable I had read earlier, so I ripped out a handful and gathered the other couple of materials needed on my way back to where I was sitting, and decided quickly that I would make a survival style saw.
This is not exactly a useful saw for anything hard, as the rock breaks easily, but I am sure that uses are there for it, such as scaling fish, or combing your eyebrows.. More to the point, this was an experiment making rope, not a knife / saw.
Ok, enough jibber jabba, let's get to work, and I will show you how I put this dry plant 'hair' rope into use, for strength, testing and durability at a very small scale.
Step 1: Searching for the Main Material
If this was not my friends tree, I would have obviously expressed a bit more love into the removal of more material, possibly even with a blade, but careful not to damage the palm. The strings I had removed were only about 3" long, thin as dental floss, and I had thought I would have an issue with it breaking and falling apart, but after 'spinning', it seemed to hold fine.
Step 2: Gather
Along your travels, pick up two rocks; one that has a significant shape to a saw / knife blade ( like a triangle ), and the other needs to have a nice pointy edge along one side, and it should fit comfortably in your fingers. You want a good grip on this, as you will be using it to grind channels out of the other rock.
Also pickup a straight-ish dry stick of hardwood, about 30cm in length
Step 3: Rock On
In this step, I decided which edge to use for my saw teeth, and began to grind back and forth with the sharp edge of the other rock to make the grooves. Finer detail, more time, and a sharper, finer rock will result in sharper teeth in the final saw. If you are after some more edge to your rock, you can grind the sides of the teeth down on an angle. To do this, just use a smooth rock surface, and grind in a motion as if you are using a sharpening block for a kitchen / hunting knife to give a fine edge. You should end up with teeth running down one edge
I did this step on my right knee. It made a bit of chalky dust on my pants but I swept it off later. As you can see though, mine is not too ferocious, but it was sharp and rough enough to split my skin.
. This can take patience, and you can get hurt in this step if you are not careful. I suggest that you:
* Hold both rocks with a jig, or even use cloth to protect your fingers while grinding
* Don't breath in the dust that comes off the rocks
* Be careful once the saw edge is made, even though it may be blunt, it is still a saw-like object that can cut things
* Protect your eyes - rock / dust can chip off and go in your eyes
Step 4: Splinters!
Step 5: Rough Ropin'
Start by getting a handful of material and start to stretch out and twist to make a loose bound string. I then spun enough of the string together to make at least 20cm length using my fingers. rolling the strands around tightly in the same direction, and splicing the strands with a twist to make it longer each time as well.
You should have a half-way rope that can be used to bind things, but it can frey, fall apart, and really should be a temporary solution if used at any time.
Step 6: Tai Up the Handle
Step 7: Makin' a Rope
Step 8: Loop It
Using the loop we made previously on our rope, we place it over our rock and stick setup like a lasoo and twist the rope until it tightens the loop to hold it all in place. Hold the loop in place with your thumb, and start to bind your saw blade into position by tightly winding around the setup.
Finish the bind with a half-hitch and tuck the rope into the side of the rock and stick handle with something pointy. ( I used scissors )
Step 9: Fin
And that is it! Hope you like my first instructable, not very interesting I know, much better things to come in the near future.