Knots and Lashings

Knots and How to Tie Them

Tying knots is a practical scout skill.  Here are the most basic knots that every scout should know along with some useful lashings.  In Scouts, knots fall into the general category of "pioneering."  Don't let the name fool you!  As you spend time in the outdoors, you will discover that the knots you learn here are timelessly useful!  Click here to learn even more pioneering skills.

When putting crossed braces on a structure to keep it from racking (as used when making a trestle), the most important lashing is the diagonal lashing, which gets its name from the fact that the wrapping turns cross the poles diagonally.

A diagonal lashing is used when there is a need to close a gap between two poles where they cross each other but do not touch.

The objective is to combine the poles together to make a longer length that is as rigid as possible. So, connecting two poles in this fashion definitely requires a good overlap between them. Obviously, it also requires two lashings, each tied tightly well near the ends of each pole where they overlap.

The first and most commonly used lashing for extending the length of a pole can be referred to as Traditional Round Lashing. The usual way this lashing is tied is with a clove hitch around both poles followed by eight to ten tight wraps that are flush together, and then ending with another clove hitch around both poles.

A shear lashing (sometimes spelled “sheer lashing”) is used when two poles are to be opened out like scissors to make what are referred to as sheer legs. The lashing joins two parallel poles at the tips, with the butt ends splayed apart, normally to support some kind of weight. Most always, in Scout Pioneering we use sheer legs to form an A-Frame.

On occasion, when the poles will “scissor” back and forth, weaving racking turns (figure of eight) between the poles is a good alternative.

This lashing is a straightforward approach to the task of lashing two poles together. 

The advantage of this lashing is that you’re working both ends of the rope at the same time. This makes it much quicker to tie since each hand has less rope to pull through, and it has the same holding effect as other approaches.

If more support is needed for the crossing spar, a clove hitch can be tied at the midpoint of the rope. Tie the clove hitch to the vertical spar just below the crossing spar. You can rest the crossing spar on the clove hitch as the lashing is being made. Then use both ends to complete the lashing as described above.

How to use your knot tying and lashing skills to construct a dining fly.

Watch this video to learn how to put up a dining fly.  

Mrs. Yee - "When I went to the Nippon Jamboree, upon arrival at our campsite were the "ingredients" to construct a giant dining fly.  And we really needed it.  It poured down pretty hard for days...  Mud everywhere, but we had a dry dining area because I and a couple of scouts remembered our knots!"

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