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New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax (Read 2639 times)
IronGoober
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New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Jun 27th, 2020 at 11:25pm
 
Behold!

The best houseplant/landscaping plant sling material (in my opinion).

I made a sling in roughly 2 hours from it. The sling weighs only 10.4 g and is very strong. The cords are so light I don't think it would have much of an abrasion problem (to be determined).

You can scrape off the non-fibrous material, similar agave (sisal) in this video. But I did not.
https://www.youtube.com/watchv=-ouNR6djZy4

If you are in a northern area, this won't survive cold winters, but apparently it makes a decent house plant and can live indoors.  I went to my local nursery and purchased one. Worth it for sure. It's a perennial, so it should live for a while. This is a small plant. Some grow to 2 meters tall.

Update: Here is a video of the fiber extraction process.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCbtz9xLafQ
I use a plant that is roughly 2 m tall.
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« Last Edit: Apr 19th, 2021 at 2:33am by IronGoober »  

John R.
 
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IronGoober
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...and now, No. 1, the
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #1 - Jun 27th, 2020 at 11:37pm
 
And to support my declaration that it is the best, here is a paper on its strength, comparable tensile strength with sisal (breaking strength), but a higher Young's modulus (less stretch for the same force applied).

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.661.726&rep=rep1&type=p...
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walter
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #2 - Jun 27th, 2020 at 11:45pm
 
Do you know if it as brittle as yucca?
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IronGoober
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #3 - Jun 28th, 2020 at 12:17am
 
The leaves are a bit brittle when dried, but I don't have any experience with yucca, so I cannot comment. Can you make cordage from yucca that is pliable after it dries? or is it brittle?

Update: No, when dried these fibers are still quite pliable.
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« Last Edit: Jul 28th, 2020 at 1:42am by IronGoober »  

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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #4 - Jun 28th, 2020 at 11:05am
 
I like it
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walter
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #5 - Jun 28th, 2020 at 11:39am
 
yucca fiber is slightly brittle compared to sisal, but still good for slings. I have made a few.

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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #6 - Jun 28th, 2020 at 1:14pm
 
Awesome sling Walter!
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IronGoober
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #7 - Jun 28th, 2020 at 1:18pm
 
Beautiful. If my plant grows big enough to harvest enough leaves, I would like to make one of these.
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #8 - Jun 28th, 2020 at 2:43pm
 
Great looking slings, guys.
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walter
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #9 - Jun 28th, 2020 at 6:24pm
 
Thanks! It is an 18" Sierra Nevada horseback sling, but too short for me. I also made the cords too wide for the length and it somehow ended up with a balearic pouch Cheesy

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« Last Edit: Jun 29th, 2020 at 6:03pm by walter »  

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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #10 - Jun 29th, 2020 at 1:52pm
 
Extracting the fibers from this plant is really easy and they are very strong. I still haven't had an opportunity to make a sling out of it.
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IronGoober
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #11 - Jul 19th, 2020 at 11:10pm
 
Tejo wrote on Jun 29th, 2020 at 1:52pm:
Extracting the fibers from this plant is really easy and they are very strong. I still haven't had an opportunity to make a sling out of it.


Ok, so I finally found a video that does a good job showing the fiber extraction process (apparently called "muka"). Holy moly, one can get a lot of good fiber from it. Now I'm gonna have to get a bigger plant. It seems easier than the extraction of sisal from agave.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsL8SV-cVL8

Go to about 6:40 for the extraction part.
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #12 - Jul 20th, 2020 at 8:01am
 
wow, that's much easier and quicker than getting it from nettles
This motivates me to see what other plants are available here to get fibers from
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Morphy
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #13 - Jul 20th, 2020 at 12:35pm
 
The way she reverse twists the cordage down for both cords then back up into one in one simple motion is cool. I’ve not seen that upward motion before..

That is a great plant. I had no idea processing it was so easy. The Houston area is subtropical so “maybe” we could grow it here but probably have to put it in shade as the heat is oppressive. Apparently under the right conditions they can get huge which would make for a nice renewable source of cordage.
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IronGoober
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Re: New Zealand Flax - Phormium Tenax
Reply #14 - Jul 20th, 2020 at 4:17pm
 
There was apparently a huge industry around it, but it has since dried up with all the wide availability of synthetic fibers. I say forget sythetic, compostable is better!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x55pssmuVCU
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