Thursday, 29 August 2013

Fish trap with Hazel and natural cordage

The last time I visited the woods, I tried my hand at fish trap making, putting myself in the situation of only using what was available around me, and only using a saw and knife. 

The main problem and probably half the work was in making strong cordage. 
This took a couple of hours to gather, extract the fibres, dry, and improve.
Here we have around 25 long Nettles on the left and Willow strips on the right.

The Nettle fibres were much stronger than the crack willow ones after a while drying, especially if twisted up into a two ply lay, but this seriously uses up the fibres quickly when tying knots. Two knots tied on the frame per nettle was good going. One was the norm, or three on an un-layed but strong fibre.

Thirsty work this, plus the midges were biting, so a fire and brew was called for.

The source of the main building materials. Hazel wands.
Often just growing naturally as thin shoots on un-coppiced trees.


The better sticks tidied up, and some hoops made from the smaller diameter ends.
These hoops were whipped together with the willow fibres.

Four poles and four hoops tied together using the Nettle fibres.

Lean too shelters on the brain, I fashioned a door for baiting, stone weights 
and of course extracting the hefty catch of fish ; )

Out of time I returned home to finish the next day, adding several more Hazel sticks.
Still full of gaps and having run out of suitable hazel I tried willow end growth, thinking I could weave instead of tie (saving cordage), speed up the process and camouflage the trap.




I'm not too sure if this will work due to all the twiggy growth in the chamber, but I'll give it a go and if no joy, I'll grab some hazel next time I get chance and finish the frame and the one way door.