SBS Silkworm Gut Line

FontinalisFin

Steelhead
I have been wanting to do this for a while. So this is the first post on what will be a several month journey.

I can't find any information online on making your own gut leaders, except for 1 page on wormspit dot com and one obscure YouTube video of a guy in Spain doing it by hand, otherwise the market is vintage prepackaged gut from the 40s and earlier.

If anyone has any information or old books that might go a little deeper into the finishing of the line, sizing dies, knotting them together or otherwise useful info please let me know the book or source.

Chapter 1:

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Tim Cottage

Steelhead
Forum Supporter
Good luck with the silkworm adventure. Attached is a National Geographic article from about 1952-1954 that might be of some help. I may have some other information but it might take a while to dig it out from the depths of an old hard drive.

Uh oh having trouble attaching a .pdf Send me a PM with an email address and I will send it to you that way.
 
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FontinalisFin

Steelhead
You might get some sericulture tips from this:

I have mulberry cuttings growing but they won't be ready for a season or more to harves't any leaves in quantity. The special silkworm diet is where they get you. It costs around 30-40$ in powdered food to raise 1000 worms to maturity. And silkworms will only eat mulberry. There's a lot of work that goes into true silk.
 
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FontinalisFin

Steelhead
How I must look to my silkies when feeding them.
silence2.jpg


They are growing fast. Need to move them into a bigger enclosure.

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The grated food gets eaten for about a day till it dries out then new fresh food is grated over the top. To move the worms you can place a plastic mesh over them on the old food pile then grate new food over the top. The worms climb up to the new fresh food and you lift them off using the mesh. They should reach cocoon age in about 28-30 days. Right before cocooning they puke up their stomach contents, at this signal their silk glands are fully developed and the worms are drowned in a pickling solution of salt and vinegar.

Edit: transferring to a bigger home.
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Buzzy

I prefer to call them strike indicators.
Forum Supporter
My wife's grandparents, who lived in Yamanashi prefecture, raised silkworms. We stayed with them one summer for several weeks. I helped pick mulberry leaves as the worm's food. Enjoy your, uh, adventure? Good luck.
 

Zak

Life of the Party
Forum Supporter
How I must look to my silkies when feeding them.
View attachment 15144


They are growing fast. Need to move them into a bigger enclosure.

View attachment 15145

The grated food gets eaten for about a day till it dries out then new fresh food is grated over the top. To move the worms you can place a plastic mesh over them on the old food pile then grate new food over the top. The worms climb up to the new fresh food and you lift them off using the mesh. They should reach cocoon age in about 28-30 days. Right before cocooning they puke up their stomach contents, at this signal their silk glands are fully developed and the worms are drowned in a pickling solution of salt and vinegar.
You don't drown them until after they spin their cocoons, right? Isn't the cocoon what you use to make the silk?
 

FontinalisFin

Steelhead
To make garmets you unwind the cocoons, fishing lines you butcher the worm right at the point its silk glands are fully developed. This is the best, and only video I can find on the subject. Not a lot of info left considering this was all there was before nylon.


@Tim Cottage nat geo article he sent me was cool too but we can't figure out how to post a pdf here.
 

FontinalisFin

Steelhead
My wife's grandparents, who lived in Yamanashi prefecture, raised silkworms. We stayed with them one summer for several weeks. I helped pick mulberry leaves as the worm's food. Enjoy your, uh, adventure? Good luck.
This is all I got, plus fly tying, to keep me connected to the sport. I'm more of a craftsman anyways and almost enjoy tying flies and working on various projects(like this) more then fishing. Because of my schedule and young kids I have been fly fishing 1 time in the last 6 years. Gear/bait a few times with the kiddos but everything comes before dad's mental wellness :LOL: at least I can live vicariously though everyone's trips on here. I have the silkworms on my desk at work 😬
 

Zak

Life of the Party
Forum Supporter
To make garmets you unwind the cocoons, fishing lines you butcher the worm right at the point its silk glands are fully developed. This is the best, and only video I can find on the subject. Not a lot of info left considering this was all there was before nylon.


@Tim Cottage nat geo article he sent me was cool too but we can't figure out how to post a pdf here.
Cool! (And gross!)
 

FontinalisFin

Steelhead
Is the gut just twisted, or is it braided?
The dude in the video is using it for the eye on blind eye salmon hooks, so he is twisting it together, after a hot water bath, looks like 2 stands for more strength. I am planning on using the single strand for leader.
 

FontinalisFin

Steelhead
Weird anomaly, out of 250 eggs +/- die off, they are all tiger striped, except for big girl here. Light gray mottled, not sure if this is a phenotype or an egg from a different strain slipped into my order. She's(I dunno if it's a she) is well ahead of the others about 2.5" long stretched out. Pretty sure it's on the 5th instar where they eat 90% of the food they will consume before cocooning. I moved her to a different enclosure where I can keep the food supply constant. Not sure if I should keep for breeding, because the moths don't live long and afraid she's so far along no others will hatch in time to breed. Also would like to keep the tiger stripe going, but.. the vigor in this one. The other is the average size of the rest of them. They should be nearing the end of the growth period as most hatched around May 15 and June15 is 30 days.
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FinLuver

Native Oregonian…1846
Forum Supporter
Weird anomaly, out of 250 eggs +/- die off, they are all tiger striped, except for big girl here. Light gray mottled, not sure if this is a phenotype or an egg from a different strain slipped into my order. She's(I dunno if it's a she) is well ahead of the others about 2.5" long stretched out. Pretty sure it's on the 5th instar where they eat 90% of the food they will consume before cocooning. I moved her to a different enclosure where I can keep the food supply constant. Not sure if I should keep for breeding, because the moths don't live long and afraid she's so far along no others will hatch in time to breed. Also would like to keep the tiger stripe going, but.. the vigor in this one. The other is the average size of the rest of them. They should be nearing the end of the growth period as most hatched around May 15 and June15 is 30 days.
View attachment 18297
View attachment 18298
That’s Godzilla in nymphal form… 😳
 

FontinalisFin

Steelhead
The massive gray silkworm started spinning, I noticed it making a pad in the corner so I held a TP tube next to it and it went right in and settled in to spinning. I think I'll let this one go all the way to adult and see what happens. I'll harvest 1/3 of the worms for silk gut, 1/3 cocoons for silk floss, and let the last 1/3 breed and see if I can get some more eggs.
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Zak

Life of the Party
Forum Supporter
The massive gray silkworm started spinning, I noticed it making a pad in the corner so I held a TP tube next to it and it went right in and settled in to spinning. I think I'll let this one go all the way to adult and see what happens. I'll harvest 1/3 of the worms for silk gut, 1/3 cocoons for silk floss, and let the last 1/3 breed and see if I can get some more eggs.
View attachment 18819
This is such a cool project, thanks for the updates and pictures!
 
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