Sweet Chestnut Bark Cordage 2

Cordage is extremely important in the outdoors and being able to make your own is a great bushcraft skill to possess.  Here I’m going to look at sweet chestnut cordage, made from the inner bark.  Spring and early summer seems to be the best time to harvest the materials for your sweet chestnut cordage.  Look for a green stem about 30 – 40mm in diameter and with as few knots as possible.  Cut  the stem from the tree and take it to a spot where you will be able to work comfortably.

The first stage is to remove the outer bark.  I use the back of a folding saw to do this.  Be careful so as not to scrape away the inner bark as well.

sweet chestnut cordage Once you’ve scraped the outer bark away, use your knife to cut a line down the entire length of the stem.

sweet chestnut cordage

Make yourself a small wooden wedge.

sweet chestnut cordageUse your wedge to gently peel away the inner bark from the wood underneath.

sweet chestnut cordage

sweet chestnut cordage

sweet chestnut cordage

Now you’ve got the inner bark it’s an easy matter to separate out individual fibres and twist them together into a 2 ply cordage.

If some of this seems familiar, it’s because the process is essentially the same as for making sweet chestnut bark containers.  For containers we use the bark from much thicker stems; the thicker the stem, the thicker the bark.

We teach natural cordage on many of our courses, such as the Institute for Outdoor Learning Bushcraft Certificate and our 5 Day Bushcraft Course.

You can see loads of photos from these courses on our Facebook page.


About Gary

Lead Instructor at Jack Raven Bushcraft, teaching bushcraft, wilderness and survival skills to groups and individuals.

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