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Method of Extraction - Spindle-Stripping

spindle stripping of abaca, also known as "Semi-mechanized", the outer layer of fiber surrounding the abaca plant's stalks is removed using a spindle or a rotating wheel with sharp blades. This process separates the long, strong fibers from the woody core of the stalk. The fibers are then dried, graded, and processed into various products, such as ropes, twines, and textiles.

Abaca is a type of banana plant that is native to the Philippines and is known for its strong, durable fibers. Spindle stripping is a traditional method of extracting abaca fiber that has been used for centuries by abaca farmers and processors in the Philippines. While modern techniques, such as chemical processing, have been developed to extract abaca fiber, spindle stripping remains a popular method for small-scale production and for maintaining the quality of the fiber.

Spindle-Stripping of Abaca

  • Harvesting: The first step in spindle stripping is to harvest mature abaca stalks. Typically, stalks that are around 1.5 to 2.5 meters in length are selected for fiber extraction.
  • Stripping: The harvested stalks are then stripped of their outer layers using a spindle or a rotating wheel with sharp blades. The spindle is run along the length of the stalks, removing the outer sheath to expose the long fibers inside.
  • Separating the fibers: The stripped stalks are then manually separated to remove any remaining woody portions. This is done by hand, with workers pulling the fiber strands apart and discarding any woody pieces.
  • Washing and drying: Once the fiber has been separated, it is washed to remove any dirt or impurities. The cleaned fibers are then dried in the sun or in a dryer to remove any remaining moisture.
  • Grading: Finally, the dried fibers are graded based on their length, strength, and other quality characteristics. The graded fibers are then bundled and packaged for sale.

Overall, spindle stripping is a labor-intensive process that requires skill and experience to do efficiently and effectively. However, it produces high-quality abaca fiber that is valued for its strength and durability.

Photos of Extracting Abaca Using Spindle-Stripping