plant or sinew fibers could be made into cordage they needed to be prepared.
Preparing the materials was done using several different methods.
plant fibers between the hands broke
down the fibers and allowed short fibers to fall away. Sagebrush
bark was rubbed for this reason.
softened the plant fibers, making them easier to twist into cordage.
is the preparation of
the plant fibers by shredding.
The hackling of cattail leaves
was necessary before the
leaves could be turned into
Cattail leaves were gathered in the late fall and allowed to dry. Before
hackling, the cattail leaves were briefly soaked. After the leaves were
damp,a pointed tool, like an awl, was used to comb, and separate the
cattail leaf fibers. The cattail leaves were also simply twisted into
cordage by two people, but hackling produced a finer cordage.
was the soaking of the plant materials and sinew in water to help prepare
the fibers for cordage. Soaking materials such as sagebrush and sinew
weakened the unnecessary fibers and glue (in the case of sinew) so that
the cordage could be more easily produced. Done over a period of several
days, retting needed to be checked every two days to make sure that
the cordage fibers were not also weakened. Retting was a stinky process
and not kept near the shelters and lodges.
and milkweed needed to be scraped before releasing the fibers. A sharp
scraping tool was used to peel away the outer "bark" of the
plant so that the pith underneath could be broken and the fibers released.
Scraping of the inner pith with the fingernails was also done to clean
the pith from the fibers.
pounding the plant or sinew fibers helped release the fibers. Gently
pounding milkweed or sinew helped make the fibers easier to twist into
cordage. Pounding the sinew broke the fibers so that they could be stripped
apart more easily.