Flax has been grown and processed by man for at least two thousand years. As a material, the complete plant can be used, whether its using the fibers to spin into linen, the seed for food supplements or oils, or the chaff to be pressed into fiberboard. These videos portray the processing of the plant from field to strick ready to spin into linen thread.
For the history reconstructionist, processing flax presents a whole series of archaic terms and tools to explore. In the field, the plant is pulled up by its roots and placed in stooks to dry before using the ripple to remove the seed pods. Then the plant is retted either by leaving it to partially rot in the dew of the fields or in a body of water. Once retted, the stalks are again dried and crushed in the flax break. From there, the remaining fiber is scutched to remove bits of the chaff and then still further, pulled through a series of graduated hatchels to clean and align the plant fibers. And this is all before even beginning to consider spinning the plant fibers.
If you want to try this, flax seed or retted flax stalks can be purchased through the Landis Valley Museum seed project at http://www.landisvalleymuseum.org .