Despite the many synthetic and natural twines I've reviewed over the years, when it comes down to my everyday workhorse I've always enjoyed a good jute twine. The word brings to mind old sailing ships and Rudyard Kipling novels and the Dutch East India Company.
Dalen Products 100% Natural Jute Twine
Made in China
This is distributed by the Knoxville, Tennessee company Dalen Products, which makes a wide range of gardening equipment including netting and domestically produced hand-painted owls to scare off pests.
This is definitely an all natural jute twine, with a good scratchy character and stray fibers poking out regularly (all that friction makes for strong knots that won't slip). The cord has great tensile strength and held up well as I was tethering a young Bartlett pear sapling in the front yard. Once the tree is strong enough to stand, I can toss the scraps in the compost pile because jute is biodegradable, recyclable, and on top of that, it's a renewable resource.
Inside I used the twine to tie up bundles of cardboard boxes to take to the recycling center, and used a few decorative knots to hang a hand-carved picture frame I made back when I was a kid. At the end of my projects, my hands were covered with the unmistakable petrol/cedar/hay aroma of jute. Such good memories from over the years. While I prefer a spool of twine that unwinds from the center, I was still very pleased with this twine and award it a score of 4.5 out of 5.
By the way, I hope to see my fellow twinebloggers at the Kleinburg Binder Twine Festival this September in Ontario, Canada. We all had a great time last year and this one promises to be even better, with a focus on locally produced twine. I'll be heading up a panel discussion following my presentation "Is the World Ready for Biodynamic Twine? I'm a Frayed Knot."
P.S. Be sure to check out my favorite twine reviews from 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007.