There can’t be many households in agricultural areas which don’t have some baler twine in their house. It’s used by farmers principally for the binding of hay or straw bales. Wikipedia states: Baling twine or baler twine is a small diameter sisal or synthetic twine used to bind a quantity of fibrous material (notably hay or straw) into a more compact and easily stacked form. Tensile strengths of single-ply baling twine range from 95 psi (0.66 MPa) to 325 psi (2.24 MPa).
Down here you can find useful discarded lengths of it in the hedgerows, on the moors and in the fields. I’ve seen the multitude of uses to which it is put: holding a fence together; as a temporary gate-hinge; keeping a car-boot lid closed; as an improvised dog-lead; in birds’ nests and more crucially, holding up a farmer’s trousers. People collect it where it drops, saving it for a multitude of future unknown tasks. There is a kind of simple human optimism in this.
Here in Devon, local farmers have been completing the harvest, which includes baling and the generous distribution of baler twine to keep errant boot-lids down and trousers up. Recently they have been cutting moor grassland to use for animal bedding. The grass is cut and allowed to dry before being baled into cylinders for storage and I recently noticed a group of these, bound up in what looked like black and white stripes of baler twine. Only they weren’t, and it wasn’t.
I had a look up close to discover the ‘twine’ was actually a wide plastic mesh. It contracts widthwise when wound onto the bales under tension. I was intrigued by its structure and complexity, wondered who sat and designed it, where it is made, and whether its structure was solely suited to this one baling process. I started to research it online – and found it’s called bale netwrap and is sold by suppliers of agricultural bindings, such as good old baler twine. Not so useful in the trouser department, I suspect, and might be hazardous for birds that become caught up in it.
I have been moderately unfit for purpose myself recently, hence my lack of posts. Now I’m better and I have just completed teaching my final course of the year at West Dean, only to return with a heavy cold. Unfortunately I can think of no way in which baler twine will alleviate the symptoms.
My March 27th – 30th 2015 course Rhythm and Pattern is nearly full so if you want a place, contact West Dean as soon as possible. I will be teaching a further course from 17th – 19th July 2015.
October 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm
Hope you are better soon. When we lived in West Wales, our electrician was one of those very versatile chaps who seemed able to do anything. He was ex-navy and showed me how to splice binder twine simply by pushing the ends together. It came out as strong as the uncut lengths with NO knots or lumps. Very useful and impressive. I haven’t tried lately but have a go and see if you can get it work. I’m right out of the stuff!!
October 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm
Hi Richard, How on earth do you splice binder twine? Was it the sisal stuff, or synthetic?
October 9, 2014 at 5:01 pm
Definately of the lurid coloured synthetic species. He introduced the two frayed cut ends into each other and gently manipulated them (rolled perhaps); it seemed to take no time at all. When I get some, I’ll practise and demonstrate (if I find I can do it again – it was ten or more years ago), but a neat trick!
October 8, 2014 at 11:13 pm
October 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm
I knew there’d be one clever-clogs out there.. and it didn’t work, either
October 9, 2014 at 8:13 am
Sorry to hear you have been unwell. Love your post but in the suburbs of Oxford baler twine is somewhat scarce.
October 9, 2014 at 4:39 pm
That’s a shame. How do the people of Oxford keep their car-boot lids fixed, and those College gates closed?