So You Say You Got A Sharp Rock...
Now, How You Gonna Get That On A Stick?


Dogbane Cordage
Great for hafting points, making rope or repairs

Photos and article By
                            Bob Hanselman

Dogbane stalk:

Break stalk into 3-4 pieces lengthwise using soft percussor, or by stepping on it.
      You may use a blade to cut it half then quarters.

     Break woody insides away from outer Bark.

       Carefully bend and break the "splints" into 1" pieces, sometimes larger pieces can be taken off without damaging outer bark and fibers, but care must be taken when doing so.
      Remove as much reddish bark from outside of fibers as you can.

      In your left hand holding between fingers and thumb, work back and forth, space should be between .25" and .5".
      Remove as much as you like, depending how clean you want you cordage to look.
      Note: sometimes all the red bark can't be totally removed, this should not affect strength of cordage. This can give it a more primitive look.
Your cleaned fibers should look like this.
      Fold the strands evenly and hold like this...
      The loop created from folding is hidden behind the thumb in the left hand in this photo.
      Take cleaned piece of fibers and twisting between thumb and index fingers,
      right hand away from you...
       left hand towards you...

      until a small kink or loop is formed.

      Take this loop and place it between thumb and index finger of your left hand. Take note how it lays... picture a top piece and a bottom piece.

      Holding the loop between thumb and finger in the left hand and rolling (Twisting) the top piece AWAY from you a few turns, you'll feel it tighten up under left thumb.
      Bring top piece over bottom piece TOWARDS you, by putting your finger between the two pieces
      Now take top piece and roll it AWAY from you till you feel it tighten up bring it TOWARDS you over bottom piece just like before.
     You'll get use to the feel of the cordage under your thumb and exactly how many turns it may take to arrive at correct thickness of cordage, this may vary from top to bottom, because fibers will change thickness as you progress.

    By now original kink, loop, has fed out beyond thumb and left finger and you should be holding cordage.

   The initial process should look like this. The idea is that the twisting action works against itself.

   Keep working feeding in more fibers when getting near the end inserting (just lay new next to old overlapping them) same size fiber bundle you had been using.
   To keep cordage size uniform, trim extra off when finished (don't worry about how this looks.)

   Try to keep fiber bundles (new fibers) about the same size (as you had been using)

     This will keep entire cordage same diameter.

     Just tie a knot on end. Sometimes, if knot is large it can be inserted into original loop.

     Kink to serve as latch, for necklace or bracelet.

                                   Have fun!