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Primitive Technology: Weaving Bark Fiber Mats

Our man makes a primitive loom and weaves tree bark fibers to create a couple of mats for his hut.

It’s been raining a lot in the jungle where our friend has been pursuing his primitive living project. We get a fine view of his clay tile roofed hut and the durability of the overall structure in inclement weather.

The rain caused a larger “wattle” tree to fall, which also took a number of smaller trees with it. He decided to strip the bark off one of the smaller trees, roll it into bundles and take it back to the hut to break it down even further.

He did this by hand before spinning the smaller tree bark fibers into a sort of rough cordage with the help of a drop spindle. The drop spindle was a nice tool to use and probably helped save time in making the cordage.

He then created a rough loom by pounding stakes into the ground and lashing cross-pieces to them. Then he utilized a movable crosspiece or crossbar so that the loom would create an alternating gap between the first and second (or upper and lower) sets of strings.

By moving the crosspiece up and down he could create a movable gap with which to pass the cordage through, thus greatly reducing the time to weave if he had done it all by hand.

“The result was a rough material about as stiff as a welcome mat,” he says. That is what he’s using them as in the hut: mats to lay on the floor.

In the future he intends to experiment with finer fiber materials, such as from a banana tree, to create more refined textile-like materials. He also indicates that he’d like to try to create a portable loom in order to be able to do the weaving in the hut when the weather becomes inclement.

It’s a wonderful first attempt, and a very successful experiment in weaving fibrous material.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

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Primitive Technology: Weaving Bark Fiber Mats