Category Archives: Scout Pioneering

Sequential Programming: Monkey Bridge


Troop 86 from Sumter, SC wanted to do a pioneering project and they selected the Double A-Frame Monkey Bridge. Great place to start, and a great way to illustrate sequential programming. What skills enter into the picture? A whole bunch! And with each step along the way, there’s an activity wherein each campcraft skill can be put into action, in a fun way, as reinforcement.

B.-P. wrote: “I am inclined to suggest to Scouters that in addition to the technical details of knotting, lashing, and anchorages, there is an educative value in Pioneering since it gives elementary training in stresses, mensuration, etc.” In addition to the “mensuration” skills that come into play when setting out the area for the bridge’s A-frames and anchors, a good deal of measuring takes place to assure the A-frames are as close to identical as possible, the pairs are joined together in similar fashion, an the spanner ropes are spread evenly. (Hand in hand with the building, Scouts do a lot of planning.)

 tape-measure-2  tape-measure-1

—> What is Sequential Programming?

SEQUENTIALLY-PRESENTED SKILLS AND RELATED ACTIVITIES

Open-Ended Clove Hitch – How else would you want to secure the hand ropes to the A-frames? — How-to Video / Activity Video

Using Half Hitches to tie a Clove Hitch – A simple process always makes it easy to tie a clove hitch and finish many types of lashings. Several are used to attach the spanner ropes. — How-to Video / Activity Video —

Round Lashing – Three or four can be used to join together the bottoms of the A-frames on each side. Round lashings can also be used to attach a flag pole(s) to an A-frame(s). — How-to Video / Activity Video

Square Lashing – This project can use fourteen of them for both building the A-frames and then joining them together. — How-to Video / Activity Video

3-2-1 Anchor – The skill is to carefully drive in the stakes at the proper angle and applying the tourniquets to join the groupings. — Explanatory Video

Roundturn with Two Half Hitches – You can use this pioneering knot to attach the hand ropes to the anchors. — How-to Video / Activity Video —

Butterfly Knot and Rope Tackle – This configuration can be used to adjust the tension on the foot rope. — How-to Video 1, How-to Video 2 / Activity Video

—> BUILD THE BRIDGE

Pioneering Program Feature: Meeting Plans & Ideas

The following was extracted from the Program Features section of Troop Leader Resources:

Pioneering Information Troop Meetings Main Event
John Thurman, Gilwell Camp Chief for twenty-five years, said, ”There is only one activity in my experience where it pays to start at the top, and that is swimming. It is true that pioneering has often been directly or unexpectedly linked with swimming, but if any patrol, troop, or Scouter tries to start pioneering before establishing a sound background of basic Scout training in regard to knotting and lashing, then pioneering will become unpopular and will go down in the history of the Patrol or Troop as a failure.”

OBJECTIVES
This month’s activities should:

  • Teach basic knot,  lashing and pioneering skills
  • Provide opportunities to put those skills to use
  • Introduce principles of engineering as Scouts build pioneering structures.
  • Offer opportunities to practice planning, problem solving, and teamwork
  • Build self-confidence

LEADERSHIP PLANNING
As a leadership team, you may want to discuss the following items when choosing pioneering as your program feature during your planning meetings:

Troop-Meeting-Planning-Form
Click above for fillable troop meeting planning form.

PREOPENING IDEAS

Preopening Ideas on Troop Program Resources

  • As Scouts arrive, play the 2013 Pioneering Area Jamboree Video
  • Hitching Challenge – Set up vertical hitching posts and enable Scouts to apply underhand loops to the posts forming half hitches. Hold hitching races.
  • Rope Tackle Tug-of-War – Reeve a long length of 1/2-inch manila rope through a metal ring fixed to an anchor point, and pass the end through the fixed loop of a butterfly knot, tied 15 feet up the line. Provide the opportunity for Scouts to experience the mechanical advantage gained by using a rope tackle by having one pull on the end that passes through the fixed loop, towards the anchor point, and one or two others pull on the other end of the long line, away from the anchor point.
  • Using round lashings, early arrivals build a flag pole using three or four Scout staves supported by three guy lines, flying the US flag (with or without a halyard) for the troop’s opening ceremony. If indoors, use two Scout staves and construct a self-standing flagpole with or without a halyard.

OPENING IDEAS

Opening Ideas on Troop Program Resources

GROUP INSTRUCTION IDEAS

Half Hitches and Round Lashing

Project the following videos:

Square Lashing

Project the following video:

Tripod Lashing

Project the following video:

Anchoring Pioneering Projects

Project the following videos:

Floor Lashing 

Project the following video:

SKILLS INSTRUCTION IDEAS

3 Categories

Half Hitches and Round Lashing

  • EssentialOn a Scout stave or a horizontal hitching bar with a 6-foot, 1/4-inch manila lashing rope, learn to tie a series half hitches, proceeding from the right and proceeding  from the left.
  • Learn to join two Scout staves together with two round lashings.

  • ChallengingReview the above skills.

  • Advanced
    • Review the above skills.
    •  Outdoors, build a flag pole using three or four Scout staves supported by three guy lines. Before standing it up, attach a patrol or other flag to the top stave.

Square Lashing

  • EssentialUsing a 6 to 7-foot lashing rope, learn to join two Scout staves together with a tight square lashing.
  • Practice the lashing until it is easy to tie both tightly and neatly.

  • ChallengingReview the above skills.
  • Using a 15-foot, 1/4-inch manila lashing rope, join two 3-inch diameter spars with a tight square lashing

  • AdvancedReview the above skills.
  • With the 3-inch diameter spars, practice passing the ends of the lashing rope between yourself and another Scout, both maintaining maximum strain on the wraps and fraps, assuring the lashing will be tight to the greatest extent.

Tripod Lashing

  • EssentialUsing a 10-foot lashing rope, learn to lash three Scout staves together with a tripod lashing, properly spreading the legs and standing it up.

  • ChallengingReview the above skills.
  • Using three additional Scout staves or shorter poles, join each leg of the tripod with another, using six 6 to 7-foot lashing ropes and tight square lashings

  • AdvancedReview the above skills.

Anchoring Pioneering Projects

  • EssentialLearn how to tie a butterfly knot.
  • Learn how to form a rope tackle

  • ChallengingReview the above skills.
  • Learn how to build a 1-1 anchor.

  • AdvancedReview the above skills.
  • Learn how to build a 3-2-1 anchor.

Floor Lashing

  • EssentialLearn how to tie a floor lashing, and practice by using binder twine to lash dowels (as floor spars) onto Scout staves (as platform supports).

  • ChallengingReview the above skills.
  • With two floor lashings, lash Scout staves or other sticks about an inch in diameter to two 1-inch diameter supporting poles, as if you’re making a table top.

  • AdvancedReview the above skills.
  • Using the design for a simple camp table as a point of reference, lash together a table.

BREAKOUT GROUP IDEAS

Getting Ready for the Main Event

  • Patrols review printed copies of 22 Pioneering Safety Points
  • Patrols select the project(s) they will build during the main event
  • Patrols make a complete list of the materials they will need for  the main event.
  • Menu Planning
  • Duties Roster

Preparation for the meeting’s game or challenge 
Select those challenges requiring the lashing skills already presented during instruction.

GAME AND CHALLENGE IDEAS

CLOSING IDEAS

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Pioneering Information Troop Meetings Main Event

What Pioneering Merit Badge SHOULD Be!

“Pioneering is practical and character building: the two essential ingredients of any program material for Scouts.” (Lord Baden-Powell)

Mew Top Montage

Pioneering Merit Badge, which as we all know used to be required for Eagle, should give Scouts a taste of pioneering! Of course they should be taught about safety and gain some general knowledge, but much more importantly, they should be introduced to the Scouting traditions and the fun that this activity embodies. They should DO pioneering!

SIngle Trestle Montage

Taking part in building pioneering projects contributes to the development of self-esteem and provides a sense of accomplishment. It necessitates working hard and working together towards a common goal. Besides being really cool and impressing people in and out of Scouting, building a real pioneering structure requires the mastery of a set of useful Scout skills that can be applied over a lifetime of outdoor activities—activities for both work and recreation.

A-Frame Bridge 5

Pioneering Merit Badge should be presented as a series of planned challenges and opportunities leading up to memorable experiences that are rewarding and unique. The recipients of this merit badge should be inspired to share their acquired skills and the fun they had with other Scouts in their unit.

Bridge Building

As Gilwell Park Camp Chief, John Thurmann  stated, “To me, the over-riding reason for presenting Pioneering is that boys like it. There are few activities which, properly presented, have a greater appeal to the Scout than Pioneering and ever since the introduction of Wood Badge training, Pioneering has been given a full share in the program of Scouters’ training. In the summer months when Scouters at Gilwell are building bridges, towers, and rafts, and boys are in camp, it has been all too common to hear from the boys such remarks as, ‘I wish we did that in our Troop’ or ‘We never do anything like that’.”

Tower Montage

But there are reasons for Pioneering other than the fact that Scouts like doing it. B.-P. wrote: “I am inclined to suggest to Scouters that in addition to the technical details of knotting, lashing, and anchorages, there is an educative value in Pioneering since it gives elementary training in stresses, mensuration, etc., and it also develops initiative and resourcefulness to use local material. Additionally, it gives practice in team work and discipline.” In other words, (“Pioneering is practical and character building: the two essential ingredients of any program material for Scouts.”)

CHippewa Montage

Using Half Hitches to Finish Many Lashings


Though the clove hitch is most always taught by laying two turns around the pole to form an ‘X’ and then passing the running end underneath, the approach presented in this video is an essential one that should come into play anytime a lashing is finished with a clove hitch. This video, extracted from the Clove Hitch and Half Hitches video, communicates this basic process in an understandable and straightforward manner.

Whenever I observe a Scout or Scouter trying to finish a lashing by tying a clove hitch, and they’re not first tying one half hitch up against the wraps, and then another snugged up tight against the first, well…I first feel sorry for them, and then I either need to demonstrate how to do it much easier, quicker, and better, or shake my head, tolerate my frustration, and say nothing.

Anyone who is into lashing poles together, for whatever reason, is already using this super-simple technique—or should be.

As we often quote, John Thurman said, “The first and everlasting thing to remember about the clove hitch is that it is composed of two half hitches. What a very obvious thing to say, but there is hardly one Scout in a hundred who learns what it means. If only we can get Scouts to learn that if you make one half hitch and another half hitch and bring them together they make a clove hitch, what a lot of time the Movement would save in the amount of fiddling and fumbling that goes on when a clove hitch is the order of the day. We would be able to start in the sure knowledge that we can make clove hitches and pass quickly on to better and brighter things.”

Enough said!

The Misunderstood Clove Hitch

A Monkey Bridge Made Out of Lumber?

Double A-Frame Monkey Bride Made from "Sandwiched" 2x4s
Double A-Frame Monkey Bridge Constructed using “Sandwiched” 2x4s 

Yes. That’s how Venture Crew 140 out of Houston, Texas put some newly-learned lashing skills into action. They also experienced, first hand how rope tackles can put the necessary strain on thick lines used for hand and foot ropes. Though they didn’t follow the instructions for making laminated spars as provided by Scout Pioneering legend, Adolph Peschke, the 6 and 8-foot lengths of doubled 2×4 boards did the trick. Here’s the email received from Crew Advisor Russ Jamerson:

“Just wanted to show you that my Crew has already put up the double a-frame monkey bridge per your instructions at Philmont Training Center! We had trouble finding natural timber spars so we made them from 2×4’s – learned a few things in that process — I did not follow the instructions you pointed out about laminated spars exactly – for example I used 2x4s sandwiched together with edges smoothed via a router for both 8’ and 6’ spars. This creates the need for longer lashing rope in some cases such as at the top of the a-frame and the round lashings at the bottom that circle essentially 4 2×4’s. The only issue is that they are a little too smooth to properly hold lashings. We plan to roughen up the surface where lashings will go by running a sawzall lightly across the surface to scar it up.

“This has been and continues to be a great teambuilding exercise while introducing some of the Crew without a Boy Scout background to various knots and lashings.”

img_1248
3-2-1 Anchor with Rope Tackles

Pioneering Program Feature: Main Event Ideas

These are some ideas for a Main Event from the revised Pioneering Module of Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews.

Pioneering0
Click above for an enlarged view.

The following three sample outing outlines can serve troop leaders as a point of reference, or as an actual framework, for the monthly main event relating to the pioneering program feature. Click on the small images to bring up a full-size view.

Pioneering1
Sample of an Essential Pioneering Main Event

Sample Challenging Pioneering Main Event
Sample of a Challenging Pioneering Main Event

Pioneering3
Sample of an Advanced Pioneering Main Event

Pioneering Program Feature: Information

This post is a component of the revised pioneering module in Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews.

Related Advancement

What is Pioneering? – Pioneering is the knowledge and skill of using simple materials to build structures that are used in a wide range of Scouting activities. These skills are sometimes referred to as “backwoods engineering.”

Down through the ages, people have used ropes, spars, and simple hardware to build bridges, towers, and even their own shelters. In the early development of our country, pioneering methods were used in mining and transportation, to clear the wilderness, and to build roads and bridges. So it is understandable that the term “backwoods engineering” was applied.

SIngleTrestleThe same skills can be used by Scouts to build pioneering projects ranging in complexity from a simple camp gadget to a sturdy bridge.

Whatever the project, the same applied principles of physics, geometry, and math are used to build pioneering projects and structures. But, keep in mind that all the information on these pages is eventually used for a practical, hands-on application—that is, to build something.

Pioneering is a good foundation for many Scouting activities. You must learn, and then use, such disciplines as planning ahead and teamwork. You can also put to use the basic skills learned in rank advancement, such as knot tying.

But most of all, pioneering provides a practical way to experience the joy of accomplishment when you’ve built something that is needed for yourself or others; it can be something that makes living in camp easier and more comfortable. Pioneering can be both fun and challenging when you use your skill and knowledge to choose the right materials (ropes and spars) and build a usable structure.

Dish Washing RackIdeas for Main Event Camp Gadgets

Ideas for Main Event Pioneering Projects

jamboree-monkey-bridge-1View: Ropes and Spars

Refer to: “Pioneering Stumbling Blocks for those Who haven’t gotten Started Yet”

Relevant Pioneering Skill Videos with Further Information

Page06 Safe.jpg

In all Scouting activities, safety must come first. In and through the challenges, fun, and rewards that go hand in hand with Pioneering, there can be no substitute for prudent behavior and common sense. As you begin your pioneering activities, safety must be your first consideration. The following safety points are some that you and your group should keep in mind:

Pioneering Safety Points

1) Before and after each use, check all equipment, ropes, poles, tools, and hardware to ensure they are in good working condition.

2) All equipment should be treated with respect and used appropriately for its intended purpose.

3) Appoint a safety officer who, along with the rest of the group, should constantly check the work site to keep it clean of debris. Equipment should be kept in an organized fashion before, during, and after its use.

4) During the construction of a project, only one person should give instructions and signals.

5) There should always be plenty of room between the person carrying spars and people around them.

6) Do not work during rainy or wet conditions. Rope and spars become slippery, as does your footing. Knots can slip when wet and become unsafe.

7) Wear clothing to fit the season and wear gloves when necessary to protect your hands.Work smart and do not lift more than you can handle.

8) Spars resting on the ground are not for standing upon. They can unexpectedly roll causing injuries.

9) When lifting a spar to facilitate the frapping of a Tripod or Shear Lashing, care should always be taken to ensure the person working the rope doesn’t injure his fingers.

Page07 Safe
Like with this Single A-Frame Bridge they built at the national jamboree, Scouts should only climb on a structure they make after it’s been completely inspected.

10) Take regular breaks to discuss the work in progress and ensure that everyone understands what is required of them.

11) Use extra care when using heavy mallets to pound in pioneering stakes.

12) For added safety, heel in the legs of a structure from 4 to 6 inches.

13) If the design calls for a certain size and type of rope or spar, do not substitute something of lesser strength.

14) Before allowing general use, run a complete test to see everything is working correctly.

15) Keep checking all anchors on the pioneering project as strain is applied during use.

16) The number of people using a platform should be strictly limited to the maximum number established beforehand and announced by the safety officer.

17) There should only be one person on a monkey bridge at a time.

18) Jumping or playing around while on a structure unacceptable. Like with this Single A-Frame Bridge they built at the national jamboree, Scouts should only climb on board their project after all lashings are tight, and the structure has been completely inspected.

19) While crossing a monkey bridge, people shouldn’t bounce or purposely swing or sway on the ropes, nor should anyone race to see how quickly they can get across.

20) Those waiting their turn to cross a monkey bridge should stay off the ropes between the anchors and the bridge framework.

21) Everyone should stay completely off a monkey bridge whenever the foot and hand ropes are being tightened, or the spanner ropes are being adjusted.

22) When the day’s work is complete, untie all knots, coil all ropes, check all hardware, and store everything in its proper place.

Page08 Hoist
Raising any tall structure requires all hands on deck—some lifting, some hoisting, and some with lines to assure the project isn’t over-pulled. The appointed safety officer needs to be alert to call out the signals and oversee the operation.

Resources and References

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Pioneering Information Troop Meetings Main Event

22 Pioneering Safety Points

Page06 Safe.jpg

In all Scouting activities, safety must come first. In and through the challenges, fun, and rewards that go hand in hand with Pioneering, there can be no substitute for prudent behavior and common sense. As you begin your pioneering activities, safety must be your first consideration. The following safety points are some that you and your group should keep in mind:

1) Before and after each use, check all equipment, ropes, poles, tools, and hardware to ensure they are in good working condition.

2) All equipment should be treated with respect and used appropriately for its intended purpose.

3) Appoint a safety officer who, along with the rest of the group, should constantly check the work site to keep it clean of debris. Equipment should be kept in an organized fashion before, during, and after its use.

4) During the construction of a project, only one person should give instructions and signals.

5) There should always be plenty of room between the person carrying spars and people around them.

6) Do not work during rainy or wet conditions. Rope and spars become slippery, as does your footing. Knots can slip when wet and become unsafe.

7) Wear clothing to fit the season and wear gloves when necessary to protect your hands.Work smart and do not lift more than you can handle.

8) Spars resting on the ground are not for standing upon. They can unexpectedly roll causing injuries.

9) When lifting a spar to facilitate the frapping of a Tripod or Shear Lashing, care should always be taken to ensure the person working the rope doesn’t injure his fingers.

Page07 Safe
Like with this Single A-Frame Bridge they built at the national jamboree, Scouts should only climb on a structure they make after it’s been completely inspected.

10) Take regular breaks to discuss the work in progress and ensure that everyone understands what is required of them.

11) Use extra care when using heavy mallets to pound in pioneering stakes.

12) For added safety, heel in the legs of a structure from 4 to 6 inches.

13) If the design calls for a certain size and type of rope or spar, do not substitute something of lesser strength.

14) Before allowing general use, run a complete test to see everything is working correctly.

15) Keep checking all anchors on the pioneering project as strain is applied during use.

16) The number of people using a platform should be strictly limited to the maximum number established beforehand and announced by the safety officer.

17) There should only be one person on a monkey bridge at a time.

18) Jumping or playing around while on a structure unacceptable. Like with this Single A-Frame Bridge they built at the national jamboree, Scouts should only climb on board their project after all lashings are tight, and the structure has been completely inspected.

19) While crossing a monkey bridge, people shouldn’t bounce or purposely swing or sway on the ropes, nor should anyone race to see how quickly they can get across.

20) Those waiting their turn to cross a monkey bridge should stay off the ropes between the anchors and the bridge framework.

21) Everyone should stay completely off a monkey bridge whenever the foot and hand ropes are being tightened, or the spanner ropes are being adjusted.

22) When the day’s work is complete, untie all knots, coil all ropes, check all hardware, and store everything in its proper place.

Page08 Hoist
Raising any tall structure requires all hands on deck—some lifting, some hoisting, and some with lines to assure the project isn’t over-pulled. The appointed safety officer needs to be alert to call out the signals and oversee the operation.

Skylon “Floating” Flagpole

SkylonFlagpole2

A flagpole suspended off the ground by a series of lines, so that it appears to be floating, can be a really neat project. The structural principle has been referred to as tensegrity, and is based on using one half the lines to lift the pole off the ground, and the other half to give it stability, supporting it in a vertical position. On occasion, Scouts choose to use more than three upright support poles, but just like with a simple flagpole employing three supporting guy lines, three upright poles provide the required balance needed to hold the pole up straight. The longer the support poles, the higher off the ground the flagpole can go.

SkylonGroup
The Crew

There are many ways Scouts go about constructing  a suspended flagpole. The following materials were used for this particular flag display:

  • one 20-foot bamboo pole (flagpole)
  • three 10-foot x 3-inch pine spars (upright support poles)
  • nine pieces of rebar, sawed to 3 feet each
  • six 50-foot lengths of 3/8-inch manila (guy lines)
  • three 3/8-inch double pulley blocks
  • 50-foot length of 1/4-inch braided nylon (for the halyard) along with a couple of clips
  • metal ring
  • six pioneering stakes
  • wooden mallet (for driving in the stakes)
  • club hammer (for driving in the rebar)
  • roll of friction tape
  • lengths of 1/4-inch braided nylon cord
  • binder twine

The following initial steps were taken for this particular flag display:

  1. SkylonPully
    Double Pulley Block and Tackle

    Where the flagpole will be placed, 9 feet from the center of an equilateral triangle, three holes are made, 4 inches in diameter and 2 feet deep.

  2. A double pulley is securely tied to the top of each 10-foot support pole and a 50-foot guy line is reeved through each sheave.
  3. A 10-foot upright support pole is planted in each hole which is packed with excavated material. Three lengths of rebar are pounded in around each spar.
  4. A span of friction tape is applied to the areas of the 20-foot flagpole, where the lines will be tied (bamboo is slick)
  5. The metal ring is tied to the tip of the 20-foot pole and the halyard is threaded through.
  6. A 1-1 anchor is installed about 9 feet behind each 10-foot spar
SkylonMasthead
Jury Mast Knot Applied over Friction Tape

The following rigging procedure was followed for this particular flag display:

  1. A tight jury mast knot (#1168 in The Ashley Book of Knots) is applied over the friction tape at the bottom and 4 feet from the top of the flagpole.
  2. The guy lines from each upright support pole are tied to corresponding loops in the jury mast knots at the top and bottom of the flagpole with two half hitches, the tail of which is tightly seized to the standing part using binder twine with a West Country Round Lashing.

The following procedure was followed to raise and support this particular flag display:

  1. Skylon 1-1
    1-1 Anchor

    When the flagpole is rigged and everything is in place, two or more Scouts lift up the pole in the center of the triangle, and hold it erect.

  2. One Scout mans each lifting guy line tied to the bottom of the pole. On signal, they all pull these lifting lines until the strain assumed by the Scouts holding the pole erect is replaced by the lower, lifting guy lines.  (Note: If the pole is taller or heavier, an additional Scout needs to man each guy line attached to the top, in order to stabilize the pole as it’s being held up, keeping it from tilting or falling. However, tension is only applied to offset any overt tilting.)
  3. SkylonTop
    Top Stabilizing Guy Lines

    When the lifting guy lines have taken up the strain to hold the flagpole at the desired height (about half the length of the upright support poles protruding from their holes), a butterfly knot is applied at the appropriate place and they are secured to the 1-1 anchor with a rope tackle.

  4. When the lower guy lines are well secured, the upper, stabilizing guy lines can be adjusted so that the flagpole is held up in a straight position. When the flagpole is even, the upper lines in turn are secured to their respective anchors with a rope tackle.

 

Anchoring Pioneering Projects II

VIEW VIDEO

Any pioneering project that cannot safely stand by itself needs to be attached to something that will securely hold it in place. It has to be anchored. Sometimes nature will provide a tree or rock in just the right location or you might be able to shift the project’s placement to take advantage of a natural anchor. On all other occasions, anchors need to be built that will assure the structure’s stability.

Stakes – When nature does not provide a solution, anchors can be built using strong pioneering stakes. The common size of stakes for most Scout Pioneering projects is 2-1/2-inches in diameter and about 24 to 30 inches long. After cutting the stake to this size, cut a point on one end. It’s good to bevel the top edge to minimize mushrooming or splitting when the stake is driven into the ground. Long-lasting pioneering stakes are made of hardwood, such as oak or hickory.

Drive the stakes into the ground at about a 20° angle. Soil conditions can vary and will dictate how large and long a stake you need. The main thing is to make sure all stakes are deep enough so they don’t wobble or budge at all.

Under no conditions should tent pegs be used for pioneering stakes. They’re neither long or strong enough to make a safe anchor.

Page52 AnchorsMallet – When driving stakes into the ground, it’s best to use a wooden mallet. Using a metal sledge hammer can more easily damage the stake. To make a wooden mallet, cut a 4-inch diameter piece of hardwood, such as hickory, elm, or sycamore, to about 11 inches length. It should weigh about four pounds. Drill a 1-1/8 inch diameter hole to mount the handle. The handle can be made from a 24 inch length of hardwood (similar to making a stake). Use a knife or ax to round the end of the handle to fit the hole in the mallet head. Secure the handle in place with a wedge placed crosswise to the length of the head.

Guy Lines – When attaching a guy line, make sure its contact with the stake is as low to the ground as possible. If the guy line is placed or slips higher on the stake, there will probably be enough leverage to pull the stake loose. Guy lines should be secured to the structure about 3/4 of the way up. To determine how long a guy line should be, measure the height at the point where its attached and double that distance. That’s how far away the anchor should be from the pole. For example, if the guy line is attached 10 feet up the pole, the anchor should be a minimum of 20 feet from the base.

Page53 Anchors13-2-1 Anchor – As the name implies, the 3-2-1 anchor is made by driving stakes in a series: three stakes, then two stakes, and then one stake to form the anchor. First drive in the set of three stakes. Next drive in the set of two stakes about 24 Page53 Anchors2inches away from the first set. Finally, drive a single stake in the ground about 12 inches from the two-stake set.

Connect the stakes by tying a rope from the top of the three-stake set to the bottom of the two stake set, and from the top of the two stake set to the bottom of the single stake. Use at least two loops of 1/4 inch manila rope, or six to eight loops of binder twine. Then twist the rope tight using a small stick as a tourniquet. After the rope is twisted tight, push the end of the stick in the ground to keep it from unwinding.

Depending on the strain the anchors need to withstand, you can use other configurations, such as 2-1-1, or 1-1-1, or even 1-1 for a light strain.

Log-and-Stake Anchor – This type of anchor is easy to make and can hold a considerable amount of pull. You can tie the line directly to the log, or you can use a ring with a rope grommet as shown in the photo below. To make the log-and-stake anchor, place a log 4 to 6 inches in diameter perpendicular to the pull of the line. Then drive in four large stakes in front of the log. Next, slip the rope grommet through the ring and then slip the ends of the grommet around the log. Drive a second row of stakes 24 inches behind the front stakes. Then anchor the front stakes to the rear stakes with a tourniquet made of binder twine or rope.

Page54 Anchors2

When building anchors, always be sure they are in direct alignment with the strain being applied.

Strops – When attaching lines to a natural anchor such as a tree or large rock, a strop can be used very effectively. Splice a thimble with a large ring to a 10-15-foot length of 1/2-inch diameter manila or polypropylene rope. A piece of canvas or burlap should be used to protect the rope from sharp edges of a rock or to protect the bark of the tree from rope burns.

Ring Shackle

Page45 ShortRope GrommetsRope grommets are useful when attaching a long line to an anchor of stakes. A large grommet can be made by splicing together the ends of a 10-foot length of 1/2-inch polypropylene or manila rope. If you don’t have a spliced grommet in your pioneering kit, tie the ends of the rope with a carrick bend. Be sure to secure the ends. The grommet you use must be made of a larger-diameter rope than the lines they’re connecting, to avoid creating a weak link in the chain between the structure and the anchor.

SinglePullRope grommets can be applied in a variety of configurations. In the above photo, a large ring connects the three ropes from a monkey bridge (left) to a rope that is reeved back and forth between that large ring and the ring of a rope grommet (right), which in turn is attached to the anchor.

Single-Pull, 2-Ring, Monkey Bridge Anchor Configuration

Coiling and Throwing Rope

Link to: Older Pamphlet Info.The following text is by Adolph E. Peschke as presented in the 1998 printing of the 1993 edition of the Pioneering Merit Badge Pamphlet:

You might never be called upon to throw a line to someone in distress; however, it’s the Scouting way to be prepared. In addition, many pioneering activities call for coiling and throwing a line to get it across a creek or ditch, or up and over a high tree branch. How you make the coil is very important. To learn how to coil and throw a length of rope. select a 40-foot length of 1/4-inch manila rope. Make sure both ends are whipped.

CoilsCoiling the Rope To coil the rope, first secure one end of the line to your belt or loosely around your wrist.* If you are right-handed, coil the line into your left hand. If you are left-handed, coil the line in your right hand.

As you loop the rope over your hand, make each successive coil a little smaller that the one before. This is important to keep the coils from fouling as they pay out when thrown.

Throwing a RopePreparing to Throw the Rope Now transfer approximately two-thirds of the coils from our non-throwing hand to your throwing hand. Next, drop one of the loops from your non-throwing hand to allow enough rope for a free swing between your hands. Hold your non-throwing hand out so that those coils will peel off smoothly.

Throwing the Rope To throw the rope, swing the coils in your throwing hand in an arc, much like you pitch a softball. After making two or three “warm-up” swings, release the rope. a  little practice will help you determine where your release point should be to get the most distance.

As the rope is released, the weight of the rope will pull the coils from your non-throwing hand until the entire rope extends out in a straight line from where you’re standing.

*If for any reason you may need to get rid of the end of the rope without becoming entangled in it, before throwing, tie the end to fixed object or have a partner hold on to it.

Tripod Straddle Seat

Often times at a campsite, there are no picnic tables with benches, or array of thick, wooden discs from downed trees positioned around a fire site, or fallen tree trunks, or a large outcrop of smooth boulders. So, through the years, the answer to the query, “what will I sit on during a camping trip?” has given rise to many solutions. Some of these are: a square sheet of plastic, a 5 gallon bucket, an ice chest, a carry case, an upside down recycle bin, and of course a wide variety of folding and collapsible camp chairs and stools.

Camp Seat
Tripod Straddle Seat

When it comes to actually fashioning a camp seat by making one from what you have on hand, there have been some creative ideas. One featured in Boys’ Life  consists of a tarp attached in three places to the legs of a large tripod. But, actually building a real-working chair, by lashing together various-sized poles, can be tedious and time consuming. Also, the finished construction is frequently rickety and uncomfortable.

Seat Blond ScoutWe know, B-P loved camp gadgets, and recently, I was asked to provide a design for a camp chair made with just ropes and poles—something that can be built in a relatively short period of time by one Scout. In the past, I’ve given thought to this kind of campsite improvement, but could never think of anything that would really work…until now. What I’ve come up with is surely not original, but for me, it’s new, and most of all, it works. As I type this, I’m sitting in it!  It’s really a simple design. In actuality, it’s very similar to the self-standing garbage bag holder, but requires a more concerted approach. After all, it’s not for trash; its for supporting one’s body.

MATERIALS

  • three 32-inch sticks for the legs
  • three 24-inch sticks for the bottom braces
  • one 10-foot length of binder twine for the tripod lashing -or- one 10-foot lashing rope
  • six 6-foot lengths of binder twine for the square lashings -or- six 6-foot lashing ropes
  • one 15-foot length of 1/8 to 1/4-inch braided nylon cord for the seat

Materials

The sticks you use for this seat are vital to its stability. They have to be strong. It’s going to be rare to get natural wood on the camping trip that’s straight enough and strong enough to furnish these materials. This would be ideal, BUT, Leave No Trace and Outdoor Ethics dictate we don’t cut these sticks from living trees. If they can be harvested from downed trees, great!  If Scout staves were, for some reason, to be cut in these lengths, I’d say use them. They’d be perfect. (Don’t go cutting up Scout staves!) Good broom sticks are 1-inch in diameter and they’re available by the box full. Cut those up. They can be used again and again for a variety of Scout Pioneering gadgets.

PROCEDURE

Seat Brown ScoutThere are two main objectives when building this camp seat. One: the tripod legs must be spaced evenly from one another so the structure is well-balanced. Two: the lashings and how the webbing is attached to the legs must be tight enough to keep from slipping.

Prepare the sticks: Since it’s so important to have everything even, before lashing can begin, points where the sticks will meet should be marked out. If the materials will be used repeatedly, it will be practical to mark out a complete series of points on every stick so that each can be used interchangeably.

On the 24-inch sticks, mark out 2 inches, 4 inches, and 6 inches from each end.

On the 32-inch sticks, mark out 2 inches, 4 inches, and 6 inches on the bottoms for the braces, 20 inches up from the bottom for the tripod lashing, and 30 inches up from the bottom for the webbed seat.

Note: When using smooth poles, in order to keep everything from sliding, use a bastard cut wood rasp file to cut a slight roughed out indentation around the diameter of the sticks at the above points. This should be done before a Scout assembles his seat.

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Lash together the tripod: With the 32-inch sticks parallel to one another, lash them together at the 20-inch mark with a tight tripod lashing. Racking turns are preferred, weaving the wraps in and out between the poles. See that the line bites into the sticks as much as possible where they have been roughed out. Spread the legs out making sure the middle leg, which will eventually be the front leg, is on top of the two outside legs.

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Lash on the bottom braces: Turn the tripod upside down. With tight square lashings, lash the 24-inch braces to the legs, marrying them to legs at the corresponding markings: 2-inch to 2-inch, 4-inch to 4-inch, 6-inch to 6-inch. Doing so will assure the legs are spread equally apart into an equilateral triangle. Again, make sure the line bites into the sticks as much as possible where they have been roughed out.

Attach the framework for the mesh seat: Turn the tripod right side up. Attach one end of the 15-foot nylon cord to one leg at the 30-inch mark with a tight clove hitch. Leave enough tail in the short end and in it tie a small loop with a bowline. With another tight clove hitch, join the long end of the cord to the next leg at the 30-inch mark, pulling the cord taut between the legs. Form the half hitches of these clove hitches on the outside of the legs, and make sure the line is biting into the roughed out part of the sticks. Do the same with the third leg.

After a clove hitch has been applied to each leg, carry the end of the cord through the loop of the bowline. Pulling it taut, secure it to the loop with two half hitches like you would with a rope tackle. The cord now forms a triangle which will serve as the frame for weaving a seat.

Weaving 123

Weave the seat: Pulling the cord taut as you go, attach it to the nearest part of the triangular frame with a clove hitch and then stretch it diagonally to the opposite leg of the triangle. Tie a clove hitch there and proceed to the next leg of the triangle, tie a clove hitch, and so on. When you have zig-zagged throughout the entire triangle, you will have enough line to tie additional clove hitches down the middle of the triangle where the line intersects with previous portions. Finish by tying a clove hitch to the middle of the first leg. Any excess line can be attached with additional half hitches to the nearest 32-inch stick.

Weave 456

Sit on your camp seat: The front of the seat is the leg of the tripod that is on top of the two others. Straddle this leg and sit down. If your chair has been formed symmetrically and lashed together tightly, and if the webbing was tied on tightly in the right places, you will now be perched very comfortably!

3 Scouters

 

 

 

What’s with the Lark’s Head

When tying the basic, oft-used, simple “two-half-hitches” (double-half-hitch), instead of TwoHalfHitchesapplying a clove hitch around the standing part, there’s a thing about mistakingly tying a lark’s head. This accident rears its head time and again, and many Scouts (both youth and adult) somehow don’t recognize the difference. Fact remains, tying a lark’s head around the standing part (cow hitch) doesn’t provide the same holding effect or friction as forming a clove hitch. Mostly, it does the trick, BUT, it’s not the same and shouldn’t be considered as such.

TautLineHitchA clove hitch is formed by tying two half hitches in the same direction. The lark’s head is made up of two half hitches tied in opposite directions (see above video).

This becomes a “bigger” issue when tying a taut-line hitch. If the half hitches aren’t tied in the same fashion (if the running end isn’t spiraling around the standing part in the same direction), instead of a rolling hitch around the standing part, what you get is a lark’s head along with an extra round turn. This provides less friction. It will not grab the guy line as well, and hence is less effective.

In addition to the campcraft  jobs it does so well, the lark’s head is useful in Pioneering too. Besides coming into play to hang all kinds of stuff, it’s how we start off the Filipino diagonal lashing.

VIDEO: How to Tie Two Half Hitches (Double Half Hitch)
VIDEO: How to Tie Taut-Line Hitch

Zeppelin Bend

VIEW VIDEO: How to Tie a Zeppelin Bend

ZeppelinKnotThe Zeppelin bend is such a secure joining knot, it’s reputed to have been used by the US Navy used it to moor airships (zeppelins). It’s easy to tie, will not fail, and most significantly, it’s easy to untie. Its reliability is shared by other bends, but unlike the water knot which is ideal for joining straps, the zeppelin bend won’t jam even after a heavy strain. Despite its appeal as an almost ideal bend, this knot is not widely known.

Pioneering Use

  • Excellent for joining two flexible lines that will be placed under a heavy pull

Zeppelin6Easy to tie:

  1. With the running end of the left line, form an underhand loop with the running end extending from the top (looks like a ‘6’). With the running end of the right line, form an overhand loop with running end extending from the bottom (looks like a ‘9’). Laying the left and right side loops next to one another, it looks like a ‘6’ and a ‘9’.
  2. Place the right hand loop on top of the left. Notice the running end of both lines are positioned on the outside of this configuration.
  3. Carry the running end of first one loop, and then the other, over, around and then through the “tunnel” created by both loops, so the running ends extend out on opposite sides.
  4. Dress the knot by pulling on the running end and the standing part of each line.

Large Patrol Raft

Down through the decades, Scout Pioneering has always consisted of building bridges, towers, and…RAFTS. Raft building provides some unique challenges, and is fun in many ways. Whenever you don’t have a boat or canoe, and there’s a desire to float on, or across, a body of water, making a raft is what commonly comes to mind.

Here the objective was to make one large enough to float everyone who built it—at the same time. Eleven Scouts were present to build the raft, so the final project was to make one that could carry all eleven. Of course that’s more Scouts than are in a regular patrol, hence the name, “Large” Patrol Raft.

The materials on hand were as follows:

  • four 14-foot bamboo poles, about 4 inches in diameter
  • eight 8-foot bamboo poles, 2 inches in diameter
  • six 55-gallon drums
  • one 8-foot x 3-foot, lightweight, plywood board,
  • lashing ropes

The key to lashing together a raft where the frame would be high enough off the water so the Scouts would stay dry (it was a cold winter day), was to make sure the 14-foot poles were close enough together so the drums could be tied fast, below the framework, and remain there! These long, parallel, lateral poles had to be at a distance narrower than the drums, but wide enough so the drums could securely nestle between them.

None of John Thurman‘s books on Pioneering specify exactly how to tie on the drums. It’s just suggested not to use the same rope for a series of them, to assure if one comes loose, they all don’t. The Scouts decided to use, in this case, a 12-1/2-foot, 1/4-inch manila lashing rope, and secure one end to the outside pole with a simple two half hitches, leaving a long tail in which they tied a bowline to form a fixed loop. They then ran the other end under the drum, around the other pole, up over the top of the drum, and through the fixed loop. This way, they were able to put a good deal of strain on the line, without it sliding around the drum, and tie it off with a couple of half hitches, just like with a rope tackle.

The project was a success. They all fit on and the raft floated! For raft building as it pertains to Scout Pioneering, refer to the post: Raft Building.