Lashing Ropes and Spars

Addressing the basic and ongoing quandaries, HERE’S A VIDEO:

Some Questions and Some Answers about Rope for Lashing:

  • What kind of rope should we use? For most projects, 1/4-inch manila. Refer to: Rope for Pionering and Camp Use
  • What length(s) should we cut the rope into? Depending on the diameter of the spars and what you’re building, 15 feet is the most common, 20 feet is often called for. For camp gadgets and many Scout meeting challenges, 6-1/2 and 10-foot lengths are good for working with Scout Staves.
  • Where can I get manila rope? 1/4-inch is commonly available at Lowes and Home Depot, but Get Pure Manila Rope and Don’t Be Fooled! For larger quantities, procure a box containing 1,200 feet from a reputable rope supplier.
  • Can I just tape the ends? Sure, but that’s not going to last long. Learn to tie a Sailmaker’s or West Country Whipping to assure the ends don’t unravel during use. Refer to: Whipping

Some Questions about Spars:

  • What kind of trees make good spars? Whatever’s growing in your area that will yield a straight spar with a minimum of taper will work. Pine is widely used because it grows so straight and when stripped of its bark and dried out, it makes spars that are not too heavy and suitable for “Scout-size” projects. Hardwoods can also be used and because of their strength, slightly smaller diameters can be selected to save on the weight. Refer to: Pioneering Kit
  • Where do we get them? In most parts of the country, there are large, forested areas where with the proper permission and clearance we can harvest the spars we need. Most natural and planted stands require thinning at certain stages of their development in order to sustain good tree growth throughout the life of the stand. Thinning is beneficial to the overall health of a stand of trees.* Refer to: Stumbling Block 3
  • What lengths and how thick? Depends on what you’re building. Most projects, that already have been happily built, come with a list of materials which detail the size of the spars you’ll need. 6, 8, 10, and 12-foot lengths are the most commonly used for “Boy-size” projects. Diameters vary from 2 to 4 inches at the butt end. Start with what you need to complete the project(s) at hand.

Forest Stewardship

Author: Scout Pioneering

Volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America

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