So I came up with this way to make a very strong rope. The cool thing about it is you don't need *any* tools to make it.
Step 1: Materials
Figure on approximately 2 bags per foot of rope
Step 2: Flatten the Bags
Step 3: Tear Through the Middle
You can use your fingers and tear them vertically from bottom to top very easily as demonstrated in the video.
Step 4: Optional Tool: Scissors
Step 5: Make Strands
Tear a tiny hole in the side near the bottom seam.
Thread the handle of another section through the hole you just made.
Thread the body of the other section through it's own handle you just passed through.
Pull it tight.
Repeat until you have about 5 or 6 half bags connected together into a strand about 6 feet long.
Make at least 2 of these strands to get started. It helps if they are contrasting colors, but not especially necessary.
Step 6: Start Braiding
Offset their knots so that while you are braiding, the knots are not lining up together all at once (which would resulting in a much nappier rope).
Step 7: Braid
You have four strands.
The pattern is
Right two strands:
Right over left
Left two strands:
Right over left
Middle two strands
Left over right
Step 8: Splice in New Strands
Try to keep your strand length to a maximum of 6 half bags or so. Otherwise they start getting tangled and you spend a lot of time untangling the free ends.
Step 9: How Strong Is It?
Will a single strand of it support my weight? I *think* so, but I'm still working on a test for that that isn't too scary.
If I braided two or three strands of it together into a big fat rope would that hold my weight. I'm certain it would. You could probably tow a car with it.
Would I stake my life on its strength? Um... no.
Would I use to to go mountain climbing. No way.
Would I use it to save myself if I had nothing else to work with? Absolutely. Yes. it is really strong.
I'm thinking of making something out it... Still playing around with some ideas.
Step 10: Some Cautionary Statements
I did think about that and pondered possible solutions - however all my ideas were expensive and laborious. E.g., what if you painted the rope with some kind of outdoor plastic paint. Or, what if I wrapped the rope in some other material that was not quickly degraded.
So, take that under advisement. This rope shouldn't be left out exposed to sunlight. It should be put away somewhere shady after use.
Maybe I will do some experiments and report back on just how long the rope lasts under various conditions. My todo list is already pretty booked though. but maybe I'll get to it.
Also, please use common sense. This was just sort of an experiment. There are no guarantees as to how strong this rope really is and whether it should be relied upon for any serious lifting or dangerous applications. Like a chain, a rope is only as strong as it's weakest section.