This is my first instructable so bare with me on quality. Thank you everyone who contributes to Instructables.com, you have inspired me well.
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
As the rope instructable mentions, nearly any stringy, grassy form of bio material can be used for making rope. Here is a photo of the hair I had used in mine. ( This image was found on google, but it is very similar to what is in the garden ) I only managed to grab a pitiful handful of material from the tree as it is held on quite tight, and pulling at the mass only ends in your fingers circulation being cut.
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
Search where you are for anything similar to use. Some tree bark can be stripped and used if it has high fiber amounts, eg: bamboo, vines, long grass etc. I had about a handful of palm stringy material.
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
Now it is time to start shaping out the rock we have for our saw. The rocks I used are very small, as I mentioned, this was not a knife / saw project at first, but the instructable is. If this was for a useful tool, the rocks would be larger, harder material, most likely made from chips of a bigger rock.
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!
The handle I thought of was extremely easy, made by getting the stick and breaking it half way, but not completely. I wanted to leave a small 'bark hinge' in the center of the break that can hold the two bits of stick together. See images to understand as this is hard to explain. I will use this small section as a sleeve to hold the saw rock in place to the stick handle and for strength.
Step 5: Rough Ropin'
To hold the opposite side of the stick to the hinge together, I used some of the hairy material from the palm, but this was very rough, but still can hold rather tight, and had strength still. I could not even snap it in my hands when more than 7 strands are 'spun'. In this step I will describe quickly how I created the half-way rope.
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
Using the half-way rope, secure the handle any way you wish. I just tightly bound it near where I would be holding the saw, and to prevent my skin from being pinched between the two sticks when force is applied.
Step 7: Makin' a Rope
Now this is the part where you need to carefully watch the 'ible on how to make rope from grass and make yourself a length of rope about 30cm long. One thing that I should mention here, and that is, when you start, fold your length of spun 'twine' in half, and make a loop about 1.5" in size, then start making the rope from this section. See the image to understand as this is hard to explain.
Step 8: Loop It
We now want to start to mount the saw rock onto the stick handle by placing it in between the two sticks and using the bark hinge left from earlier, we rest the rock on it like a hammock. Adjustments should be made here for length, angle, etc if needed before fixing the saw permanently.
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
Here is the completed nature rock saw made from things laying right in front of you. Some more photos of the completed object, and also a block of soft wood that I did a chop and cut test on with the saw. You can see that it can cut, but it would be of more use for something of softer nature.
And that is it! Hope you like my first instructable, not very interesting I know, much better things to come in the near future.