This little device arose from two situations. I had some left over bone pieces from a knife handle project and I use a lot of cattail leaves for cordage in grade school projects. Cattail leaf cordage is stronger and more flexible when it is finely shredded. In the past I have shown students how to shred the leaves by pulling them apart by hand while holding the base of the leaf with their feet. The ultimate way to shred the leaves is with a florists frog but that isn,t very aboriginal. Why not make a small bone comb? I used a piece of cow cannon bone. I also cheated and used steel tools (hacksaw and small file) to shape it. The only critical feature is that the teeth should be sharp. The cattail leaves should ideally be picked late in the growing season, allowed to dry and then slightly dampened before shredding. Start the shredding process about a forearm,s length from the tip of the leaf, and pull the shredder towards the tip. Next, start the shredder about 2 forearm,s length from the tip and again pull towards the tip. By always pulling towards the tip you have less tangling. This process also tends to strip away the pithy interior part of the leaf. After the leaves have been shredded into fine fibers they can be made into cordage via any method that you choose.
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