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OPINION

Sinew and Imitation Sinew 

Kevin Torres: I have a question to those of you who have made breastplates. I would like to know what matereial to use to thread the haisrpipe and beads through. Does it matter? Kevin Torres ( kt6@prism.gatech.edu)

Answer: I have made a couple of breastplates and I've compared notes with a lot of people at pow-wows. The original material used to string the hairpipes and beads was sinew, and that's what I use. I buy it at pow-wows or from Tandy Leather. It seems most people I meet also tend to favor real sinew.

It's OK to use the imitation stuff I suppose, but just make sure it's stiff enough to be pushed through the hairpipes without using a needle. (When you buy hairpipes, look down the hole of each one first, and make sure it goes all the way through - otherwise you can't push anything through it, needle or no needle!). Also, you should be able to separate the fibers to create varying thicknesses if necessary. I haven't tried imitation sinew so I can't say whether it stands up to these requirements or not. To me, the strength and properties of real sinew are unbeatable, besides just being "authentic". There was usually a good reason why early Indians chose to use the materials they did and this is no exception. Good luck!

Lee Flier (lee@cavern.vortex.com)

 

 

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