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what is coir - how is it made

the wonderful coconut
Coir fibre is 100% natural and originates in the outer husk of coconuts – it comes from part of the seedpod of the coconut palm.

Mature coir fibres contain more lignin, a complex woody chemical, and less cellulose than fibres such as flax or cotton.

This makes coir stronger, although less flexible. Coir fibre is relatively water-proof.

The Traditional Coir Process

fruits from tall palms can be so difficult that in some coconut-growing areas in Indonesia and Thailand the pig-tailed macaque monkey (Pithecus memestrinus) has been trained to climb the trees to collect the nuts. The monkeys are well-treated and prized for their skill. Coconuts are harvested every two months throughout the year.

coconut harvesting for coir production

Extracting the Fibre
Green coconuts, harvested after about twelve months on the plant, contain pliable white fibres. Brown fibre is obtained by harvesting fully mature coconuts when the nutritious layer surrounding the seed is ready to be processed into copra and desiccated coconut.
The fibrous layer of the fruit is separated from the hard shell by driving the fruit down onto a spike to split it (de-husking).
They are then beaten, to separate out the long coir fibres. Coconut trees are tall – commonly 25 metres high – and this fibrous layer around the seedpod is a strong shock-absorbing mesh that protects the seed from damage.

coir fibre after husk and meat have been removed coir fibre once it has been beaten, ready for spinning on a loom coir fibre after seperation and drying
Shaping the coir from fibres

Next comes spinning the fibre into fine yarn, then further twisting of that yarn to make the long and very strong coir strings that are loaded onto big handlooms ready for weaving. Spinning is often still done by hand.
Traditional method for weaving the fibre into twine the fine yarn is then respun into a thicker, stronger, longer coir twine
Handloom weaving always requires a combination of skill and energy, and a close eye for detail. These qualities are extra evident when weaving such a tough and robust yarn as coir.
spun coir rope ready for the loom large heavy-duty handlooms are used for weaving it takes two weavers to operate the looms
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