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Toilet paper rope

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Except for the corn-cob men, we all know for what toilet paper is used for. Well, there is still another use, one can make a strong rope with it.

On its own, the single layer is thin and feeble, but plait a couple of layers together and you have a rope that is strong enough to hoist up a person.

  • Roll the toilet paper out in layers on the ground, at least five times the length that you need as well as a minimum of ten layers on each other. Three people will be needed to plait the rope, one on each side of the unrolled toilet paper and the third person in the middle.

  • The two at the ends then start to turn the toilet paper, both clockwise round as they are standing opposite each other. And like this they carry on until the paper is tightly wound up.

  • The third person then lightly pulls the middle of the toilet paper rope towards him and slowly start to wind it up anti-clockwise whilst the other two are still busy winding it up in a clockwise direction. That is how you "build" the rope.

  • Then carefully stretch out the rope, a little at a time, and repeat the two steps above to double the rope. If there is enough paper, and you can lay it out long enough, you can double it again and again until you have a cable that is strong enough for nearly any job.

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    The principle to wind up relative poor fibre to plait a strong rope exists already for centuries.

    Strips of plant material like sisal leaf fibre, fibrous bark and even strips of clothes, blankets, towels etc. can be used in making a rope, if needed urgently.

    The same principle can also be used to strengthen rope that is too narrow. In this way, fishing line on a pulley can perhaps become a tow-bar.

    Dr Wallace Vosloo is an Engineer and Scientist by profession. His family has lived in Africa since 1696 and he has a deep love for the continent. He is a practical outdoorsman and loves traditional hunting, axe and knife throwing, longbow shooting, black powder rifle- and cannon shooting, salt and fresh water fly fishing and tracking. The art of survival is Wallace’s main field of interest and his passion is to transfer these old forgotten skills to young hunters.


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