as much as fifty yards in length. The old-time Indians used to say that bark cords were better than hemp ropes, as they did not rot so quickly from alternate wetting and drying, nor were they so harsh and kinky, but, when damped, became as supple as leather. "Our bast cords," they said, "are always rather greasy in the water, and slip more easily through our hands. Nor do they cut the skin, like your ropes, when anything has to be pulled. Lastly, they feel rather warmer in winter."

The fibers of tamarack roots, and of hemlock, cedar, and Cottonwood, are similarly used. Dan Beard says: "I have pulled up the young tamarack trees from where they grew in a cranberry 'mash' and used the long, cord-like roots for twine with which to tie up bundles. So pliable are these water-soaked roots that you can tie them in a knot with almost the same facility that you can your shoestring. . . . Each section of the country has its own peculiar vegetable fiber which was known to the ancient red men and used by them for the purposes named. . . . Dig up the trailing roots of young firs or other saplings suitable for your use, test them and see if they can be twisted into cordage stout enough for your purpose. Coil the green roots and bury them under a heap of hot ashes from your camp-fire, and there allow them to steam in their own sap for an hour, then take them out, split them into halves and quarters, and soak them in water until they are pliable enough to braid into twine or twist into withes. Don't gather roots over one and one-half inches thick for this purpose."

The long, tough rootstocks of sedge or saw-grass are much used by our Indians as substitutes for twine. Basketsymade of them are the strongest, most durable and costliest of all the ingenious products of the aboriginal basket-maker. The fiber is strongest when well moistened. The stringy roots of the catgut or devil's shoe-string (Cracca or Tephrosia), called also goat's rue or hoary pea, are tough and flexible.

Grapevine rope is made in a manner similar to bark rope. The American wistaria {Kraunhia frutcscens) is so tenacious and supple that it was formerly used along the lower Mississippi for boats' Cables; it can also be knotted with ease.

Withes.—A favorite basket plant of the Apaches and Navajos is the ill-scented sumac or skunk-bush (Rhus trilobata), which is common from Illinois westward. The twigs are soaked in water, scraped, and then split. Baskets of this material are so made that they will hold water, and they are often used to cook in, by dropping hot stones in the water. A southern shrub, the supple-jack (Berchemia scandens), makes good withes. The fibers of the red-bud tree are said by basket-makers to equal in strength those of palm or bamboo. For such purpose as basket-making, withes should be gathered in spring or early summer, when the wood is full of sap and pliable. If the material is to be kept for some time before weaving, it should be buried in the ground to keep it fresh. In any case, a good soaking is necessary, and the work should be done while the withes are still wet and soft. Other good woods for withes are ash, white oak, hickory, yellow birch, leatherwood, liquidambar, willow, and witch hazel. Large withes for binding rails, raft logs, etc., are made from tall shoots or sprouts of hickory or other tough wood, by twisting at one end with the hands until the fiber separates into strands, making the withe pliable so that it can be knotted. This usually is done before cutting off the shoot from its roots. A sapling as thick as one's wrist can be twisted by cutting it down, chopping a notch in a log (making it a little wider at the bottom than at the top) trimming the butt of the sapling to fit loosely, driving in a wedge, and then twisting.

A withe is quickly fastened in place by drawing the two ends tightly together, twisting them on each other into a knot, and shoving them under, as a farmer binds a sheaf of grain.

Hoops And Splits.—The best hoops are made from hickory, white or black ash, birch, alder, arborvitae or other cedar, dogwood, and various oaks. Take sprouts or seedlings and split down the middle, leaving the outer side round. Thin the ends a little, and cut notches as in Fig. 97. An inside

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hoop, or any that is not subjected to much strain, is simply notched for a short overlap, as in the upper illustration; the ends are brought together, one on top of the other, and bound at a and b. A hoop to be driven on the outside of a keg or barrel has a long joint (lower figure); each end takes a half turn round the other, between notches, and the joint is then tied.

Splits for basket-making and similar purposes are commonly made of white oak, in spring or summer, when the sap is up. Select a straight-grained sapling, cut in lengths wanted, rive these into strips as wide as desired, then, with a knife, split these strips bastard (i.e., along the rings of growth) to the proper thickness. Put them in water to soak until needed, if you want them pliable.

Splits are easily made from slippery elm, for instance, by taking saplings or limbs three or four inches in diameter, and hammering them with a wooden mallet until the individual layers of wood are detached from those underneath, then cutting these into thin narrow strips. The strips are kept in coils until wanted for use, and then are soaked.

Black ash and basket oak, when green, separate easily into thin sheets or ribbons along the line of each annual ring of growth, when beaten with mallets. The Indians, in making split baskets, cut the wood into sticks as wide along the rings as the splits are to be, and perhaps two inches thick. These are then bent sharply in the plane of the radius of the rings, when they part into thin strips, nearly or quite as many of them as there are rings of growth,

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CHAPTER XVI

KNOTS, HITCHES, AND LASHINGS

Much depends on knowing how to tie just the right knot or other fastening for a certain job. In learning to tie knots, do not use small twine, but rope or cord at least an eight of an inch thick. Take plenty of it in hand, and do not begin too near the end.

The main part of a rope is called the "standing part" (Fig. 98). When the end is bent back toward the standing part, the loop thus formed is called a "bight," regardless of whether it crosses the rope, as in the illustration, or only lies parallel with it.

For the sake of clearness, in the accompanying illustrations, ends are shown pointed like thongs, and standing parts are left open to indicate that they extend indefinitely. Parts of the knots are shaded to show plainly how the convolutions are formed.

Stopper Knots.—A plain knot tied anywhere on a rope to keep it from slipping beyond that point through a bight, sheave, ring, or other hole, is called a stopper knot. Such a knot often is used, too, at the end of a rope to keep the strands from unlaying.

Overhand Knot (Fig. 99).—Simplest of all knots. Often used as component part of other knots. Jams hard when under strain, and is hard to untie.

Double Overhand Knot (Fig. 100).—If the end is passed through the bight two or more times before hauling taut, a larger knot is made than the simple overhand.

Figure-of-eight Knot (Fig. 101).—Also

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