Lauahala Mat Weaving: Introduction and Materials

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These are instructions for weaving a mat from lauhala, the long flexible leaves (lau) of the hala tree. The variety found in Hawaii is Pandanus odoratissimus. On the continental United States, Hala is called pandanus and also grows in Florida. It is also called screwpine, because the long leaves grow in a screw pattern up the truck of the tree. The hala that grows in Florida has three sets of vicious thorns which grow along the sides and midrib of the leaf, and must be removed before weaving. The lauhala we will be using is purchased, and is a thornless variety. Lauhala is available from The Caning Shop in Berkeley, California at

You will need the following tools and materials:
1) Several large towels
2) Sharp paring knife
3) Table knife
4) Cardboard
5) Wood glue
6) Masking tape
7) Needles, preferably Sharps, all the same size
8) Boards or bricks to weight down the lauhala
9) A source of water
10) A flat place to weave, such as a waterproof table
11) Scissors