In a diagonal lashing the wrapping turns cross the poles diagonally, hence its name. A diagonal lashing is used when there is a need to close a gap between two spars or when they spring apart, in other words, when we want to bind poles together where they cross each other but do not touch. This most commonly occurs when the ends of the spars are already lashed in place in a structure, as in forming the X-brace of a trestle. Both the traditional diagonal lashing and the Filipino Diagonal Lashing accomplish the task of drawing two spars together that do not touch. The traditional method uses a timber hitch to spring the spars together. The Filipino uses a lark’s head.*
Why are we so high on the Filipino Diagonal Lashing? Simple. It’s easier, much faster, and just as efficient. There are different methods to tying the Filipino Diagonal Lashing, but all have the same advantage of working both ends of the rope simultaneously. While wrapping, both ends move in exactly the same way which makes for quick work, and makes it easy to apply tight wrapping turns. Many who tie this lashing have adopted Gerald Findley’s clear-cut approach, providing welcome consistency across the board. After a little practice, tying it will become like second nature:
- Halve the rope and place the bight formed in the middle behind an upper diagonal. Reeve the ends through the bight forming a lark’s head. (See 1. in the diagram below.)
- Pull both ends tightly to the right, drawing the two poles together. (See 2.)
- Begin the wraps by carrying both ends diagonally behind the poles around the opposite diagonal to the one where you started the Larks Head. Carry the ends over the front pole. At this this juncture, using both ends of the rope, you now have wrapped one complete turn. (See 3. and 4.) For added strength, you can take another turn, which would be comparable to four single wraps using the “traditional” method.
- Whether taking two turns or one, to position the rope to wrap in the other diagonal, pass both ends behind the rear pole, pulling tightly. ** (See 5.)
- Carry both ends in front of the poles around the other diagonal. Once again, for added strength, you can take another wrapping turn. When finished wrapping, pass the rope tightly behind the rear pole. (See 6.)
- To begin the frapping turns, separate the ends and carry one over and one under the front pole. (See 7.) Note: The end that is carried over the top pole will be singularly over all the wraps which is is fine. This will position the ends to frap in opposite directions between the poles. (See 7.)
- Take two or three tight frapping turns between the poles around the wraps. (See 8. and 9.)
- Finish with a tight square knot. (See 10.)
This diagram illustrates only one (double) wrapping turn for each diagonal. Click on the image for a very clear, larger view.
* James Keller, Director of the Pioneering Area at the 2013 National Jamboree points out, by virtue of the way it’s started, the Mark II Square Lashing can also be used to spring together two spars.
** To avoid any possible confusion, in this instance, the rear pole refers to the one positioned farther away from you, and the front pole refers to the one positioned over the rear, and nearer to you.