Japanese Mark II Square Lashing


VIEW VIDEO: How to Tie the Mark II Square Lashing

James Keller, Director of the Pioneering area at the 2013 National Jamboree, related a story about the Japanese Mark II Square Lashing. He described how back in 1993, Adolph Peschke had mandated that his staff should just use the Japanese Mark II Square Lashing for the national jamboree’s pioneering projects. Some of the Pioneering staff back then had not as of yet become familiar with the lashing, and at first, some were a little hesitant to adopt it. But, after becoming acquainted, their overwhelming consensus was, why had they wasted so much time over the years using the traditional Square Lashing.

Wraps that are even and snug! Fraps that are tight!
Scouts Lashing on the Transoms of a Single A-Frame Bridges at the 2013 Jamboree

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

The Japanese Mark II Square Lashing has found its way into Scouting in the United States through Wood Badge training in England, and because of the work of John Thurman, camp chief of Gilwell. He observed it on one of his many world trips related to Wood Badge training.

This lashing is a straightforward approach to the task of lashing two spars together. Begin by placing the spars in the desired position. Now fold your lashing rope in half.

The midpoint of the rope is placed around the vertical spar and just under the crossing spar (see figure 108). Now work both ends of the rope at the same time to make three wraps around the spars (see figure 109).

After completing the three wraps, bring the two ends up between the spars in opposite directions to make the frapping turns around the wraps (see figure 110). Pull the frapping turns tight, and complete the lashing by tying the two ends with a Square Knot (see figure 111). It’s that simple.

Tying the Japanese Mark II Square Lashing
Tying the Japanese Mark II Square Lashing

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. This lashing has the same holding effect as both the traditional and modified Square Lashings.

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.

Steps to take when tying the Japanese Mark II Square Lashing: Start first wrap, continue first wrap, complete first wrap, cross ropes in the back, continue second wrap under cross spar, cross ropes underneath, send ropes to the front, start 3rd wrap, continue third wrap over cross spar, in the back, cross on top, three wraps completed, prepare to frap. Cross ropes on top of wraps, take frapping turns between spars, complete two tight fraps, finish up with a square knot.
Photographed Procedure (First click on the above image, then for a a full-page view, start second wrap, click on smaller image that appears.)

View Video on How and Why to Tie the Japanese Mark II Square Lashing.

  1. — Up / Over / Behind / Cross —
  2. — Down / Over / Behind / Cross —
  3. — Up / Over / Behind / Cross —
  4. — Front / Cross / Down —
  5. — Cross / Up / Knot —

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.