My head’s spinning full of ideas on how to process dried sinew into a 2-ply (or maybe 3-ply) cordage of good strength.  The process will be dictated by the available supply of cheap backstraps.   (Small supply- hand twisting will do.   Substantial supply — better make a small spinning wheel.)

To start with we do some twisting.

If you use your hands to twist up a single ply strand in one direction,  and just keep on twisting until it wants to go kinky, then fold it in half, and with some gentle encouragement from your fingers,  the single ply will pop itself into a double ply.  Double ply is what happens when a  balanced and measured number of  kinks get smoothed into a spiral by a process known as reverse twist.  To the individual fibers it is a self-locking kind of arrangement, not unlike a Chinese finger puzzle that grips tighter the more linear strain is applied.  It just kinda happens naturally if you fool around with the proper twisting technique for awhile.

To our erstwhile hominid ancestors, this trick was enough of a boon to give them a huge survival advantage.

The propensity to form itself into a reverse twisted spiral (one ply clockwise, the other counter clockwise)  is fundamental to making cordage, and is a unique natural phenomenon that occurs with a wide range of fibrous materials.  Some folks consider it one of the major factors that allowed the development of our species.   Obviously for us humans, nothing happens without cordage.

Pretty kinky, huh?

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