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Natural cords material experimentation (Read 560 times)
JudoP
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Natural cords material experimentation
Mar 12th, 2020 at 6:35pm
 
I have purchased a bunch of different cords and rope with the purpose of experimenting and observing (possibly quantifying) the difference between these when braided as fibre or otherwise, with and without water soaking. Given the amount of slings I've made, mostly of the same sisal cord and hardware store jute, this is something I should have done quite a while ago. I mean, I've nearly done through 1.5km of sisal at this point in two 750m massive balls. The sisal is good stuff but needs a lot of hassle to maximise it's quality, jute I've always liked working with, but the durability does not impress me.

So, I've purchased-
-Linen cord 1.5mm (40m) I've actually used this before once, its very soft and lovely. I've nearly finished a rockman with this which I'll post when I'm done.
-Sisal rope 6mm (1m) Because generating fibre bundles from cord is time consuming, fiddly and requires a lot of pruning for high quality. I want to try rope.
-Hemp rope 6mm (20m) This is actually the first time I've worked with hemp, despite it's popularity and good rep on here. It's a massive pain to find here for some reason, it seems 99% of ebay and amazon listings are jute falsely advertised as hemp.
-Manila/abaca rope ~15mm (1m) Never seen or used this before, it's very tough stuff, makes sisal even seem a bit soft...
-I've also got some Hempex on the way which is synthetic hemp rope, hopefully it has the feel of natural cord but can withstand whipcracks. It's made from polypropylene.
-Not a natural cord for sure but I also bought some kevlar for whip crack reinforcement which I'm integrating into a few slings† Cool My only concern so far is that it is quite slippery which might be where the hempex comes in.

Observations after soaking and initial work:
-Linen is so great to work with, I'm using fibre but it hasn't been soaked (95% sure it's all natural anyway). It's so damn soft it's hard to believe it's durable. It even smells lovely!
-Getting smooth lovely sisal fibre from the rope is a lot easier than the cord I've been using, this is definitely a new standard for me providing the fibre is equally good.
-Manila feels tough as nails by default, but after a soak it separates so easily into flexible thick fibres, I'm very optimistic about this stuff for sling braiding. It's super fast to produce fibres and they look real good stuff.
-The hemp and linen don't take as well to water, I'm pretty sure both are all natural in any case but they don't so much split into fibres as fibre bundles. The hemp smells pretty crappy but I think that's normal.

All in all I can't wait to get some braided samples made up and compared. The best cord I make currently is sisal fibre soaked/pruned, dried totally, braided, soaked again then dried... this takes a while.

The process I think I'll follow is non-soaked fibre vs soaked fibre braids, then I can soak each of the completed braids after to see if it makes a difference (probably soak just half for comparison sake). I'll then report on how flexible the resultant braids are and try to have a guess at wear resistance† Cheesy
Here are some pictures of the first steps:
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manila_abaca.jpg (90 KB | 4 )
manila_abaca.jpg
 
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #1 - Mar 13th, 2020 at 4:17am
 
Awesome! Can't wait to see what you come up with.
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Way of the Sling
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #2 - Mar 13th, 2020 at 3:18pm
 
I've never worked with manilla, I wonder how it compares to sisal.
Interesting post.
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joe_meadmaker
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #3 - Mar 13th, 2020 at 10:30pm
 
I'm also looking forward to seeing your results.

This makes me think of the sling I'm currently working on.† I have some new types of cordage and rather than making individual slings with them, I'm working on a sling made from four different fibers.† It's a braid of hemp, linen, nettle, and tussah silk.† I've used linen and hemp many times, but the nettle and silk are new for me.

Obviously a sling made from all of these won't show me how they behave individually, but it's more of test run just to see what it's like to braid with them.† I think it also looks cool.† Slings made from these fibers individually will come later.† The sling isn't done, but here's some early images.

...

...
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Rat Man
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #4 - Mar 14th, 2020 at 2:09pm
 
   Many of my slings and leashes are made of several materials.  Often you get the best of different worlds that way. Jute, hemp, cotton, nylon, yarn, polypropylene, lace,  etc..  This is something I've done from the beginning.
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joe_meadmaker
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #5 - Mar 14th, 2020 at 2:17pm
 
@Rat Man - Do you have any favorite combinations?
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Rat Man
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #6 - Mar 17th, 2020 at 11:46am
 
My whipping is almost always jute. Cotton works well also. Jute and hemp make very pliable cords with just the right amount of softness and give.† Polypropylene and cotton can work well together. The polypropylene gives you strength and the cotton gives flex.† There† are a lot of variables involved that make picking the ideal combination difficult.† Quality, weave, thickness, etc.. It's fun to experiment. I rarely make a sling from just one material.
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #7 - Mar 17th, 2020 at 12:07pm
 
Manila shrinks when it gets wet
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #8 - Mar 17th, 2020 at 9:43pm
 
The sisal rope is a good idea. All of my experience with the hardware store sisal twine  tells me I donít have the patience to make sisal slings from it. If that makes it easier than I may have to try it again.

Flax is a wonderful fiber, too bad the highest quality linen cord is so expensive.
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Jauke
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #9 - Mar 18th, 2020 at 8:45am
 
I've stopped making slings of natural fibre. Never had any of them perform better than thin paracord slings. Eventually I purchased a Balearic sling of Luis Pons Livermore because I thought I was doing something wrong. Truth be told, while it is a fantastic work of art, it felt like one of the most sluggish slings I ever used. It feels like I get the same amount of power out of a thin paracord sling with much less effort going into the throw. Even after getting used to it, once I swap back to the thin paracord sling, it feels amazing how much easier it is to get power.

But this is my own personal experience. It might be different for others.

So when it comes to performance I no longer feel any reason to go natural fiber. There is still the aesthetic reason. But it's not high on my list. The only reason these days I would use natural fibre is if I had no alternative.
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #10 - Mar 18th, 2020 at 9:16am
 
For me, the aesthetic reason is the main reason I like natural materials. I have and use both and I think they can be on par with synthetic if used correctly (might need some extra protection here and there), but really, I just prefer the look of a "natural" sling.
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JudoP
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #11 - Mar 18th, 2020 at 10:56am
 
Jauke wrote on Mar 18th, 2020 at 8:45am:
I've stopped making slings of natural fibre. Never had any of them perform better than thin paracord slings. Eventually I purchased a Balearic sling of Luis Pons Livermore because I thought I was doing something wrong. Truth be told, while it is a fantastic work of art, it felt like one of the most sluggish slings I ever used. It feels like I get the same amount of power out of a thin paracord sling with much less effort going into the throw. Even after getting used to it, once I swap back to the thin paracord sling, it feels amazing how much easier it is to get power.

But this is my own personal experience. It might be different for others.

So when it comes to performance I no longer feel any reason to go natural fiber. There is still the aesthetic reason. But it's not high on my list. The only reason these days I would use natural fibre is if I had no alternative.


Synthetics will always win if you prioritise throwing efficiency, it's a simple fact they can be stronger per cross sectional size and therefore can be made thinner and lighter than natural slings which directly reduces the energy wasted in the throw.

Some reasons I and many others prefer braided slings are probably similar reasons why you don't replace your paracord with 0.8mm dyneema line in all your slings. The overall feel, tangle resistance+easier loading, opening up many different pouch designs etc. Additionally, I feel an underappreciated advantage of thicker braided slings is that they are less liable to pouch roll and dumping larger ammo which I've found to happen a bit in paracord slings. Particularly if said large stones are also smooth and slippery. This is a direct result of paracord being very flexible and I've managed to somewhat subdue effects with more stable cord connection methods.

And of course, aesthetics but more so ergonomics can be very important.

I've heard claims that a well made braided sling can release cleaner and potentially more accurately than basic paracord, though both types of slings can achieve almost perfect releases in my experience. Paracord is so light and flexible it's unlikely to cause any poor effect on the projectile whilst braided tapered slings can snap open under their own weight.
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JudoP
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #12 - Mar 18th, 2020 at 11:08am
 
Thanks for the replies so far-

I've finished my linen rockman and will post pics when I get a chance. Also currently working on a manila balearic sling which is working out pretty nice. I was originally going to do cord samples but... I just ended up doing the whole sling in this case. I will post more information and pictures when I get time to do it properly.
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #13 - Mar 18th, 2020 at 1:09pm
 
Paracord's core is nylon which is stretchy. Nylon is the best substitute for sinew and is what is used in torsion engines today. Torsion engines can't work with rope which isn't elastic, like hemp linen etc
When slinging with single paracords energy is lost because of the elasticity. It feels smooth on release because if you jerk at the release the stretchiness absorbs it and creates a smooth feeling . I would like to test difference in range on a trebuchet where there is no human error.

For range slinging uhmwpe is the king of all fibers . linen and hemp are the king and queen of the natural fibers.

what I consider a big advantage of natural fibers is that they are not bad for the environment .

I recently bought paracord and have made a sling but w/ quarantine it's difficult to test it.( haven't used paracord but I have used nylon cords and monofilament fishing line before )
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Jauke
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Re: Natural cords material experimentation
Reply #14 - Mar 18th, 2020 at 3:30pm
 
Sarosh wrote on Mar 18th, 2020 at 1:09pm:
Paracord's core is nylon which is stretchy. Nylon is the best substitute for sinew and is what is used in torsion engines today. Torsion engines can't work with rope which isn't elastic, like hemp linen etc
When slinging with single paracords energy is lost because of the elasticity. It feels smooth on release because if you jerk at the release the stretchiness absorbs it and creates a smooth feeling . I would like to test difference in range on a trebuchet where there is no human error.

For range slinging uhmwpe is the king of all fibers . linen and hemp are the king and queen of the natural fibers.

what I consider a big advantage of natural fibers is that they are not bad for the environment .

I recently bought paracord and have made a sling but w/ quarantine it's difficult to test it.( haven't used paracord but I have used nylon cords and monofilament fishing line before )


You'd have to braid extremely tight not to get any elasticity in natural braided cords, though
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