Category Archives: Scout Pioneering

Double Floor Lashing

VIEW VIDEO: How to Tie a Double Floor Lashing


View the pictorial illustrations below!
Scroll down for a revealing pictorial illustration!

With the Double Floor Lashing, the floor spars (floor slats, decking poles) are attached (looped) in two places, on either side to each platform support (stringer pole, rafter). This means, when pulled tight, this lashing makes the platform floor, raft, deck, or walkway, more secure. View Video

  • The lashing starts with a simple clove hitch around a platform support on the inside of the first floor spar. Secure the short end of the rope by wrapping it round the running end forming a twisting pattern in the same direction as the rope’s weave.
  • Make a bight in the running end and pass it over the first floor spar on the inside of the platform support.
  • Grab this bight and pass it underneath the platform support.
  • Now loop it over the first floor spar on the outside of the platform support.
  • Tighten both loops around the first floor spar by pulling the running end extending between the first and second floor spars on top of the platform floor.
  • Repeat this process for each floor spar until you reach the other end.
  • Secure the running end of the rope to the other end of the platform support with tight half hitches.

NOTE: Throughout the whole Double Floor Lashing process, except when pulling the running end to tighten the loops around each floor spar (or securing the end of the rope to the platform support), you’re always working with a bight in the rope.

The whole process can be done simultaneously on the other platform support, or completed one support at a time.

Double Floor Lashing
Double Floor Lashing

Depending on the size of the platform, a good length of lashing rope is needed for this floor lashing—a 50-foot length for a platform six feet long, a 35-foot length for a four foot platform. Shorter lengths can always be tied together if you run out of running rope during the process. When building a platform that will be walked over or stood upon, use 1/4-inch manila. If you’re lashing a platform for a Chippewa Kitchen, binder twine works fine.

Filipino Diagonal Lashing

VIEW VIDEO: How to Tie a Filipino Diagonal Lashing

Notice how the lashing's other side is symmetrical with the wraps forming an X over the rear pole framed by two strands of rope on the top and bottom.
Notice how the lashing’s other side is symmetrical with the wraps forming an X over the rear pole framed by two strands of rope on the top and bottom.

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.

Filipino Diagonal Lashing

* 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.

Why Pioneering!

John Thurman
John Thurman

Some special quotes by JOHN THURMAN, Camp Chief, Gilwell Park from 1943-1969 pertaining to pioneering in the Boy Scouts:

Because It’s FUN!

There are few activities which, properly presented, have a greater appeal to the Scout and Senior Scout than Pioneering and ever since the introduction of Wood Badge training, Pioneering has been given a full share in the programme 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’.”

Why Pioneering? To me the over-riding reason for presenting Pioneering is that boys like it. Some years ago we started providing simple equipment which Troops in camp at Gilwell can use. The demand is insatiable. Year by year we add more, but we never provide enough; because as one Troop sees another using the equipment and building a bridge they want to try it also and the desire to do Pioneering spreads like a contagious disease throughout the camp.

“But there are reasons for Pioneering other than the fact that boys 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 programme material for Scouts.”

These projects are all built by troops in the Northern District in Gauteng, South Africa. This district holds regular inter-troop Pioneering competitions, as well as a Scouter's competition. The above photo shows the winning Scouters from 2008, 1st Athol, in front of their 35ft-span suspension bridge, built in 4.5 hours.
The winning Scouts from 2008, 1st Athol, South Africa, in front of their 35ft-span suspension bridge, built in 4.5 hours.

“The modern cynic may think it is all very old-fashioned but the short answer to this is, ‘Yes, of course it is, but so is breathing and sleeping and other things that mankind has been doing for a long time.’ It does not follow that because an activity has been used for a long time it is out-dated and, in fact, I am prepared to say that there is more interest in Pioneering today than ever before, perhaps because facilities have improved and perhaps because some of us have made an effort to present Pioneering to the Movement in a more imaginative and varied way.

“Quite apart from that, though, Pioneering is not old-fashioned in its purely technical sense. I was showing a Managing Director of a large civil engineering firm round Gilwell when a Wood Badge Course was pioneering near the Bomb Hole. He displayed very great interest in the Pioneering and looked closely at all that was happening. From our point of view there was nothing unusual going on; this was a usual routine exercise with two or three bridges being built, a couple of towers, and a raft. As we walked away my civil engineering friend said, ‘I am delighted that the Scout Movement is still doing this: it is tremendously important. Despite the fact that modern machinery and equipment is magnificent there often comes a time when a man has to use ingenuity and improvise in order to move the job forward and the engineer who has the spirit that your kind of training produces is the man we want in our business.'”

And, relevant to this endeavor:

“I hope that Districts will more and more accept responsibility for making pioneering equipment available to be borrowed or hired by any troop. The more expensive things become the more necessary to work on a communal basis, and the Scout community is the Scout District. I know the problems—somewhere to store the gear and someone to look after it, but these are problems which a live District can overcome if real determination is there to give Scouts pioneering practice, and I am satisfied that it comes high in the list of things Scouts want to do. Determination remains the enduring answer to most problems.”