Banana Fiber?

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cbcalsing wrote
on Aug 28, 2010 3:49 PM

I searched the forum and only came up with two posts with "banana" in them. I grow bananas and am trying to find ways -- at home -- to create banana fiber twine or rope. So far, all the Internet searching I've done has resulted in ways to do it if you have an entire plantation. I only have a few trees. Has anyone done small-scale, by-hand harvesting and processing of banana fiber? Any directions,suggestions, or resources would be greatly appreciated.

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cbcalsing wrote
on Aug 29, 2010 11:02 AM

Yes, I'd already found all those! Most deal with larger processing than I'm planning.

Thanks, though.

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Gwen Powell wrote
on Aug 29, 2010 5:35 PM

Alpaca Direct sells the yarn, very slinky rayon.  Once again like so many of the other "new" fibers it seems to be made with rayon process.  I have not found it on the market as a fiber source yet either and have had the yarn for a year.

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Eva Hall wrote
on Oct 28, 2010 6:29 AM

I have bought some skeins of banana fiber from a netshop in Denmark. It is not rayon, but a rather stiff and irregular yarn with bright colours, that I have not yet found use for. It is imported directly from Nepal to Denmark.

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on Jan 1, 2013 3:27 PM

Ive actually discovered a direct source for Pineapple (Pina) and Banana (Abaca) Fabrics: try here:  
http://www.dbathis.com/p59/BANANA+FIBER+FABRIC/product_info.html
or
www.dbaTHIS.com

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ishu.apparel wrote
on Jan 10, 2013 12:10 AM

hi cbcalsing.... i see that this post is three years old... we're trying to research on banana fibres....did you try to extract fibres from your planktain? where you successful?

 

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DHUBHGAILL wrote
on May 28, 2013 3:47 PM

I have been looking also.  From what I see on the internet, a milling press probably would work.  I tried it on a very small scale using an artist's paint tube squeezer to see what happened.  Actually that worked quite well but remember I am talking about a micro endeavor.  I wanted to make the beautiful white soft fiber that can be purchased online.  I split the stalks into pieces that would fit into the large tube squeezer and it really did a good job.  You do not want to do more than a hand full this way though.  I have seen small milling presses used for jewelry and metal that would work OK, but probably you could find other alternatives.  You could always process it like flax using flax tools.  That would be an easy look up.  HOWEVER, I DO NOT recommend boiling the fibers in lye as the 13th cent. Chinese did to soften the fibers.  I am a chemist with over 40 years of professional work as a chemist, and almost had a very serious accident trying that.  I decided boiling it was way too dangerous, so I put the fiber into a caustic safe container and added the lye solution, intending to let it set overnight.  THIS WAS A VERY BAD IDEA!  Because Sodium Hydroxide (lye) and water produce an exothermic reaction, the solution boiled over and made a super mess.  Fortunately I knew enough to do this outside and had a hose ready for just this problem.  I think the chlorophyll in the plant stems reacted with the lye also causing what could have been a catastrophic accident.  I strongly urge everyone not to try to process it this way, buy it already processed.

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