How To Make Cordage from Mat Rush (Lomandra)
This is a quick description of some cordage I made from Lomandra (Mat-rush).
I am currently experimenting with how to do this well, and trying
new techniques such as soaking the leaves first. In this example
I didn't soak the leaves, but used them freshly picked.
A mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia)
plant growing in my garden, which can be used for cordage making.
This is a very common
plant in my area, it is native, and commonly found in the bush,
and also widely used as a cultivated plant in both private
and commercial gardens.
Close-up of the mat-rush leaf.
The seed head, or flower stalk of the mat-rush. This is useful for
identifying the plant. Note that the leaf bases and flowers of this
plant are edible (bush tucker) plant food. This is a very useful
Leaves, close up.
Vein structure in the leaf is visible.
I used the blunt "bread-and-butter" knife seen second from the left
in this photo, to scrape the green sheath material away from the
useful fibres in the lomandra leaves.
The difficult part
in making this cordage is scraping the green sheath part of the
leaves away from the useable fibres underneath, which is rather time
consuming. If enough of the
green is not scraped away, when it dries out the cord will be brittle,
and will snap when bent through a sharp angle (such as when tying
in a knot).
leaf being scraped, with fibres visible.
After sufficient scraping, the leaf was split in half and rolled
up between thumb and fingers.
The next step was twisting into 2-ply cord. The direction of twisting
is shown in the diagram below, taken from “The
10 Bushcraft Books” by Richard Graves. Each inner bundle is
twisted in the same direction (in this example clockwise as viewed
from the right hand side of the diagram looking toward the left
then the two bundles are twisted over each other in the opposite
direction to that (in this case anticlockwise).
description of this twisting technique is shown here
on another site (especially see figures 4a and 4b).
of twisted 2-ply cordage.
Finished cordage. Photo taken right after making the cord. The green
colour will fade over time to a more yellow-brown colour. To
make it look more tidy, you could use scissors to cut away the
frayed bits that stick out.
is a shorter piece I made previously, which has faded and has had
the frayed edge bits trimmed off.
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