I don't know if this is the right place for this, but it seems right.
One of the biggest threats to us, post-collapse or now, is other human beings. Avoiding them and not picking fights are always the best strategies, but some people will just want to kill you. I'm personally scared shitless of Blackwater, USA. Violence will likely become more of a threat as resources become scarce and civilized folk become desperate. So, let's cover our asses.
I became extremely interested in the idea of natural fiber based armor when I heard a brief description of the Incas' armor, which was apparently made of cordage. Most of their engineering was done with cordage, so apparently they excelled at using it. When the Spanish came to conquer them, they were amazed at the effectiveness of the armor that the natives they recruited were using. It was just as effective as their steel armor, but weighed half as much. They quickly switched. From the sound if it, they made a complex weave of stiff fibers, which probably dispersed the force of a blow over a wider area (which is primarily what modern kevlar and other armors aim to do).
I was also given a link from a survivalist friend to http://thehomegunsmith.com/, which is a website maintained by a British firearms rights activist and gun designer. In addition to the many complex weapon plans on the site, there are plans for the "Poor Man's Bullet Proof Vest". The plans involve using felt, which is a fabric made up of very tight, complexly interlocked animal fibers like wool or fur (usually wool). To treat it so that it becomes body armor worthy, one would cut it into the desired shape, and spread silicone based caulk onto it with a putty knife so that the stuff works its way into the fibers. This would be done on both sides. Adding white quartz sand to the caulk is recommended to add strength. The armor is supposed to be quite effective at stopping most bullets, as well as indirect attacks from sharp weapons and the lucky direct one.
I've been thinking that pine pitch mixed with charcoal would like work in a similiar manner to the caulk, provided that it is boiled and cooled five or six times to increase the strength of it. I'm also toying with the idea of treating some felt yarn in this manner, and trying to knit myself a piece of armor, hopefully achieving something similar to the Incan armor in regards to efficiently dispersing force. Maybe a thin layer of flat felt on top of a knitted layer would be effective.
Thoughts? Suggestions to improve?