I am quite frugal with leather, I hate to waste it. I feel that if a creature gave up it's life so that we could have meat and hide then we owe it some respect.
So today I have been converting the last scraps of some birch tanned reindeer hide into useful cordage.
This is a technique that I learned from a Sámi girl many years ago. We were working on a Viking Festival up in Lofoten. She arrived and started to set up her lávvu next to my tent. I offered some help and in the evening we sat down and exchanged a few tips and tricks as were were both working with leather at that market.
One of the things she showed me was how to make the
twisted thong cordage that is such a feature of Sámi leatherwork.
It is much stronger than the sum of it's parts.
The technique is simple enough. Just wet the thonging and twist it tightly until it is ready to twist about itself when folded in half.
There was a nifty little trick to stop it unwinding by threading the end through a small cut in the thong but otherwise it was much the same as making any two ply cord.
What impressed me most about this method was that
it utilised leather scraps that I would really have considered of marginal use. Most thonging methods cut either on a straight edge or in circles. This was hand cut and able to use all sorts of scraps with very little waste left over.
The aroma of the wet hide in the workshop took me right back to that evening sat around the fire in the lávvu sixteen years ago now.