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For many, string and twine are common household items that can perform a variety of functions. Whether you want to hang a picture, trace a straight line or simply play a game of cat’s cradle, you will likely use a trusty bundle more than once throughout your life. However, while all string and twine may look and feel similar, there are many different kinds with different purposes out there. A simple comparison of their pros and cons will easily prove this point.
String and twine
Hemp twine and string are quite similar. All string and twine is made from simple fibres. Fibres are single strands of cotton, jute, hemp, sisal, linen, or synthetic fibres like nylon and polyester that are twisted together into plies to create strands of yarn or string. Yarn generally has fibres or plies that are loosely twisted together, where as string generally has plies that are tightly woven together. The weaving process for string makes it soft, flexible and durable.
Twine is generally categorised as being stronger than string because it has at least two or more strands (consisting of 3-5 plies each) tightly woven or twisted together to create a sturdy cord.
Pros of hemp twine
Hemp twine is made from the bark of the hemp plant’s stem. This bark creates a fibre that is strong but rough; often it will be coated with wax or another material to prevent chafing. In addition, hemp twine is water-resistant and all-natural, which makes it perfect for a variety of tasks such as cooking, jewellery making or any type of craft that requires a non-toxic material. Due to its impermeable nature, hemp twine is also resistant to mould and can weather the elements very well. It also repels insects and has natural antibacterial properties.
Pros of string
In general, string is softer than hemp twine – especially if it is made of cotton. The material and braiding process generally make it uniform and easy to manipulate, so it is better for tasks that require a less rigid makeup. Because it is so pliable, string is often used for intricate art projects or handiwork that requires cord of a flexible nature. If the string is made of 100% pure cotton and it is not bleached or dyed, then it is also non-toxic.
Cons of hemp twine
After a certain amount of time, hemp twine begins to fray. Once the wax or protective coating has worn off, it can chafe and become quite rough to the touch. Due to its water-resistant nature, it can dry out and become prone to breakage especially if its coating has worn off.
Cons of string
Cotton string is not waterproof and can become prone to mould or water damage. If this occurs, it can break easily. Synthetic strings made of nylon or polyester are generally more water-resistant, but are not as strong as twine. Most strings are better suited for arts and crafts or simple, light weight household projects. String also frays easily after repeated use, which makes it less preferable for tying complex knots or jewellery making.
- Klein, Dan. "THE SUBTLE ART OF SUGGESTION." 'Craft Arts International'. Date: Mar 2006. Issue: 66. Pages: 16-25
- Ask a Scientist: Materials Science Archive - String manufacture
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