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dpack

withies

are very useful:
they can be used instead of cordage or ties.
they can be used instead or wire, cable ties and straps ( don't snigger nastily at the back )
they grow on trees and are often available where you need them
they can be made with no tools (although it can make it quicker and tidier to use a club and a blade )
they are biodegradeable and by cunning choice of materials can have a built in lifespan
they can be reuseable ( google strapping faggots in medieval london , now stop sniggering:lol: )

if you practice they can look very tidy but once you understand a few basic twists and securement styles even a beginner can use them effectively.

hoorah for the paleolithic. Cool
Slim

Well googling that has led me to guess how red osier dogwood got its name.

S'pose withie comes from the same root as whip?
Nick

Re: withies


hoorah for the paleolithic. Cool


If dying at 33 is your aim, for sure. Wink
Slim

Re: withies


hoorah for the paleolithic. Cool


If dying at 33 is your aim, for sure. Wink

Now now, let's not go conflating mean and mode.
https://condensedscience.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/life-expectancy-in-hunter-gatherers-and-other-groups/
Nick

Re: withies


hoorah for the paleolithic. Cool

If dying at 33 is your aim, for sure. Wink

Now now, let's not go conflating mean and mode.
https://condensedscience.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/life-expectancy-in-hunter-gatherers-and-other-groups/

Feh, there are conflicting reports, but if you've seen the paleo diet, it's very clear they died very early. Boredom, mostly, I suspect.
Slim

No time to get bored if you spend your whole day gnawing on roots and bark trying to suck out some nourishment! dpack

Re: withies


hoorah for the paleolithic. Cool

If dying at 33 is your aim, for sure. Wink

Laughing but they did have some ace "grows on trees" stuff
dpack

Well googling that has led me to guess how red osier dogwood got its name.

S'pose withie comes from the same root as whip?

it seems likely

re the faggot ties recycling schemes work even if the product does grow on trees. the supply of suitable fresh withies was less than the bundle numbers sent to customers so there was a small but important refund for used withies returned back to the fire wood merchants.
Mistress Rose

I am not sure about that Dpack. There are always some thin stems that can be used as withies, so there would probably be enough. If you are talking of hazel, which is the one I know most about, it was also used for barrel hoops, mainly for barrels for dry goods so that they could easily be taken apart when empty and sent back as flat packs. Those hoops could be easily untied and reused I think.

The main confusion with lifespan is that it is often quoted as 'average' life expectancy. If there is a lot of infant mortality, then the 'average' is brought down considerably. If you look at lifespan if someone gets past that, it will be a lot longer.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Well nobody wants single use for their non-googleable items.

Is there an idiots guide to withies?
dpack

I am not sure about that Dpack. There are always some thin stems that can be used as withies, so there would probably be enough. If you are talking of hazel, which is the one I know most about, it was also used for barrel hoops, mainly for barrels for dry goods so that they could easily be taken apart when empty and sent back as flat packs. Those hoops could be easily untied and reused I think.

The main confusion with lifespan is that it is often quoted as 'average' life expectancy. If there is a lot of infant mortality, then the 'average' is brought down considerably. If you look at lifespan if someone gets past that, it will be a lot longer.

iirc pre coal cities had similar issues to modern population concentrations with no cash for fossil or electric energy in that they rely on wood and charcoal for cooking and heating, ie a circle of very cut trees surrounds the city and extends to the range of economically viable transport. as time passes there is a tendancy for a very tight supply chain to develop. pollarding and coppicing become established practice in a stable situation but decent quality sizes are a premium product . long, strong withies for 100lb or bigger bundles of twigs are in short supply from the local "catchment" compared to the daily number of bundles required for the bread ovens and hearths of a city.

the the flat pack barrel thing is another example of how useful twisted twigs can be and that multi use packaging is an old idea
dpack

ps as such long strong withies are also a premium product for all manner of lashings which makes single use/burned with the faggot less sensible( a bit like used baling twine holds the countryside together)

for a rough guide "industrial" sized bundles were about as big as a bloke can cuddle so twice round for tightening and enough ends for a decent "knot" requires a withy at least 10 ft long and 12 would be better, ie a twig of 15 ft or more pre twisting

making withies that long is quite a challenge and needs rather special materials.

i agree there would be no shortage of small sizes but the big ones were treated a bit like lpg cylinders in that the packaging is a considerable part of the value of a delivery and returning the used ones is required.
Slim

Well nobody wants single use for their non-googleable items.

Is there an idiots guide to withies?

I want a youtube video of dpack withying about with a faggot to show proper usage
dpack

Laughing Laughing Laughing

choice of wording could make for a very high viewing score.

" the techniques of medieval faggot bondage" seems like a fair working title Rolling Eyes

im not sure how the youtube mods would cope but Laughing

regarding how to guides i cant think of a specific reference but ray mears has covered the subject a few times and iirc lofty's survival guide has some good how to tie stuff with twigs and roots.

the basics are twist and crush a suitable stem until the fibres separate and then twist them into a strong flexible string or rope.
the knots are simple and mostly of the returning bight sort with a tucked in end.
play and practice is a good tutor Wink
boiling (sometimes in lye) can used to increase flexibility when wet and warm and to make em last longer for tying hurdles,boats etc etc .
Mistress Rose

Most faggots were about 18" diameter I think Dpack. You might be right about reuse of withies, but my experience is that a 12' thin rod isn't too unusual. You will find them in most hazel stools that have been a bit overstood, as they would be for firewood, and also they tend to go brittle after a couple of uses.

An interesting aside is that areas that were used for industrial purposes like the Weald for iron works in the 17th century before coke became the fuel for smelting, areas of hornbeam round London and some woodland in Scotland were said to be at risk from the very industries that were using the wood as coppice material in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, but they are the very woods that are still with us. ' A wood that pays is a wood that stays'.

There is an unsubstantiated reference that timber from our wood was used in the Commonwealth navy in the 17th century btw, and I know that faggots from it were used to power a local bread oven into the 1940s.
dpack

soaking in a bucket of water restores flexibility so i assume the reused ones were soaked.

an 18" dia bundle when tied tight was quite a bit fatter before the roll, squash, shuffle and secure. maybe the professionals have a better method than i but i would need around 12 ft to get that size nice and tight.

iirc a lot of the london fuel was from pollard rather than coppice perhaps that makes a difference to the types of twigs available for ties? epping forest has some ace ancient pollard some of which has been reworked after a considerable time unharvested.
as well as fuel tree hay ( leaves and green twigs ) was collected for animal fodder for the working equines and milk cows of the city which again might make for a lack of long withies?
Mistress Rose

The usual way to make faggots or bavins as they are also called, is to gather all the sticks into a frame, put a chain or chains round it with a stirrup on one end and pull tight, then tie. I have seen it done and use a similar method to clamp my besom heads. Yes, soaking will restore flexibility, but still think after a while the withies would get rather fragile. They would need to be selected, but would come from cutting of certain stools I think and might be a crop in their own right, not a general by-product of something else.

In the New Forest holly is cut high, but not high enough to be a true pollard, to feed animals in winter. Result is that start up a chainsaw there and you are surrounded by ponies waiting for food.
wellington womble

Pitching a tent results in said ponies also begging. dpack

I think and might be a crop in their own right,

that seems plausible. iirc polled woods would have been grazed/snuffled at times which makes stool grown withies a bit tricky

the chain press thing makes lots of sense and for shorter ties
Mistress Rose

The New Forest ponies have it down to a fine art WW. Several of them hang around in the road for an inexperienced (in their ways) motorist to come along, then one or two others beg at the windows. If you know their ways you just edge gently forward and they have to give way, so go away grumbling. Laughing dpack

just by chance i saw a woodcut drawing yesterday. the bloke was tying a faggot using a withy. he was holding it down with his foot and using the withy to help roll and lever it tight.

it looked like twice round and back through the bight with the trunk heel end of the withy was common enough to get recorded by the artist. as soon as i saw it i thought "that is how i do it " which was a bit spooky.

a bit of a strange coincidence ( or i miss a lot of "irrelevant" woodcuts of everyday tasks Laughing )

if using this method the size of the finished faggot is limited by the length of the available withies and the loose to tight volume ratio of the twigs being packed.

at a guess beech and oak pollard twigs ( eg epping ) would start as a pretty big bunch to give a decent weight of tightly bound faggot ready for transport to a baker.
Mistress Rose

I think there were standard sizes of faggot, and the size would also be dictated by the size of the oven. I seem to recall there being something in Silva about it, but can't remember what the sizes were.
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