Scout Swing

12' Scout Swing Seeing Action at a Public Scout Expo
12′ Scout Swing Seeing Action at a Public Scout Expo

The design for this swing is not complicated, though it does present some logistical challenges. The main thing is, a working swing is going to get lots of play. Therefore, lashings need to be super tight, and the eight sturdy pioneering stakes that serve as anchors need to be driven solidly into the ground, perpendicular to and touching the six spars connecting the legs.

List of Materials

  • six 3-1/2-inch x 12-foot spars for the legs
  • one 4-inch x 12-foot spar for the crossbar
  • six 3-inch x 6-foot connecting spars
  • eight 3-foot pioneering stakes
  • two 2-inch x 8-inch x 2-foot prepared swing seats
  • four 20-foot x 1/2-inch swing ropes
  • four steel rings
  • four 6-foot x 5/8-inch ropes for Prusiks
  • twenty 15-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes
  • six 20-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes
  • two single pulleys reeved with 20 feet of rope, with a small loop of rope tied to the top
  • one eight-foot ladder

Though one might think this structure is built by making two simple tripods to support the crossbar, it’s MUCH better to make two A-frames, standing up vertically, supported by a third spar lashed to one leg of each A-frame, slanting down to the ground. The obvious reason is to give the crossbar maximum stability where it rests at the juncture of the two legs of each vertical A-frame.

Prepared Swing Seats
Prepared Swing Seats

Rig the swing seats. Attach two 20 foot swing ropes to the two swing seats, using a scaffold hitch rigged with a bowline. In order to accommodate the swing rope with the scaffold hitch, the swing seats should be prepared with impressions cut on each side, 2 inches long and 1/2 inch deep, beginning 1-1/2 inches from each end.

Link to: Larger ViewAttach the rings to the crossbar. Using the 6-foot ropes, tie the steel rings to the crossbar with prusiks at intervals as per the measurements reflected in the diagram.

Prepare the A-Frames. Using two 12-foot spars and one 6-foot spar, with tight square lashings, lash together two identical A-frames making sure the tips of the legs cross the same distance from the top for each. Use a 20-foot rope where the tips of the legs intersect, and 15-foot ropes at the bottom. NOTE: Make sure the 6-foot connecting spars are lashed low enough to the bottom so later on there will be plenty of room to lash them to the pioneering stakes.

Add the oblique supporting legs. About a foot or so below the top lashing on the A-frames, lash on a third 12-foot spar to one leg of each A-frame, using 20-foot ropes. These spars will be angled down, extending out to support the A-frames in their vertical positions.

Connect the legs. Stand up the A-frames so they’re in a vertical position. Connect the 12-foot oblique supporting leg to the legs of each A-frame, using the remaining 6-foot spars and eight 15-foot ropes. Again, make sure they’re lashed low enough to the ground so later on there will be plenty of room to lash them to the pioneering stakes. (If you’ll be using the pulleys to lift up the 12-foot crossbar, loop one over the top of a leg, before standing up the A-frames.)

Position the two 3-legged subassemblies. Line up both support assemblies so they are facing one another on even ground and with the A-frames 10 feet apart.

Position the crossbar. Tie one end of each pulley rope to the ends of the crossbar, and have two Scouts carefully hoist the crossbar up to near the tops of the A-frames. They must carefully hold it in place. Position the ladder so that it’s even with one A-frame, and have a strong Scout climb about four to five feet up and lift the end into the crux of one A-frame. Repeat the process on the other side of the swing.

Lash on the crossbar. Making sure the rings are properly hanging down, and the crossbar is extending out approximately one foot from each side, one Scout will climb up and tightly lash the crossbar to one of the legs of each A-frame with a 20-foot rope.

Tie on the swings. One Scout will climb up and connect the swing ropes to the rings using a roundturn with two half hitches, making sure the swings hang evenly at the desired height.

Drive in and lash on the anchors. Four pioneering stakes are driven into the ground on each side—two spaced evenly and touching the bottom of each A-frame, and one against each connecting spar, hammered in near the oblique supporting leg. After these stakes are solidly in the ground, so they cannot jiggle, lash them to the connecting spars using 15-foot ropes.

Test the swing and make any adjustments as necessary.

Pioneering Program Curriculum X: Double Floor Lashing

This is the tenth post in a series that will eventually comprise an activity-based, unit pioneering program curriculum.

SUPPORTING VIDEO: How to Tie a Double Floor Lashing

Double Floor Lashing
Double Floor Lashing
Floor Spars and Platform Supports
Floor Spars and Platform Supports

X. This lashing is useful when building any kind of raised surface for a: platform, deck, raft, table, bench, chair, or Chippewa kitchen.

  • Each Scout will tie a complete floor lashing, attaching floor spars to a platform support.

MATERIALS (for every two Scouts)

  • six 3-foot x 2-inch floor spars
  • two 4 to 6-foot x 3-inch platform support spars
  • two 15-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes


A. Instructor will demonstrate the floor lashing and then, with the guidance of the instructor, Scouts will:

  1. Lay out the two support spars parallel to one another so they are about 30 inches apart.
  2. Place the floor spars over the support spars, in the middle and against one another, making sure  the ends extend out from the support spars 2 to 3 inches on either side.
  3. Up against the first floor spar, tie one end of the lashing rope to the platform support with a cove hitch, leaving enough “tail” at the end to twist around the long end of the rope before continuing.
  4. Close to the clove hitch, make a bight in the running end and on the inside of the platform support, pass it over the first floor spar. (A bight is formed by doubling back a length of the rope against itself to form a U.) 
  5. Grab this bight and pass it underneath the platform support.
  6. Loop the bight over the first floor spar on the outside of the platform support.
  7. 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).
  8. Repeat this process for each floor spar until you reach the other end.
  9. Secure the running end of the rope to the other end of the platform support, with tight half hitches.

View Video

Steps 4, 5, 6
Steps 7 and 8
Steps 7 and 8
Simple Lift Seat
Simple Lift Seat

B. The above procedure can be implemented by two Scouts simultaneously lashing both ends of the floor spars to their respective platform supports. When a platform is completed in a manner where the floor spars are snug, one Scout can sit on the floor spars and four Scouts can carefully lift him up.





Favorite Scout Meeting Challenge: Lift Seat

In the ever-important pursuit to pair each knotting and lashing instructional session with a fun activity that puts the newly-acquired skill into action, here’s a simple one that can be used as an entertaining culmination in conjunction with learning the Double Floor Lashing. Besides being lots of fun, the simple structure can subsequently be used to add some levity when making an entrance or forming a procession during Scout gatherings. It’s along the same lines as carrying an individual on the shoulders to express admiration. But, it’s much more “glamorous” and a whole lot more regal! Here’s all you’ll need for each patrol:

  • two 6-foot x 3-inch spars as carrying poles
  • six 3-foot x 2-foot platform spars as the seat
  • two 20-foot lashing ropes
The Floor Lashing has to be Tight!
The Floor Lashing has to be Tight!

The procedure’s just as simple as the materials. The patrol lays the two 6-foot spars parallel to one another and lashes on the 3-foot platform poles with two floor lashings using the lashing ropes. That’s it. One thing is necessary, though—the Floor Lashing has to be pulled tight after binding each individual platform spar. No square lashings are used to connect the carrying poles, just the floor lashings. Of course, to make the lift seat more secure for repeated use, the carrying poles can be connected at each end with an additional 3-foot spar and two square lashings. And if you want to really get elaborate, lash together a framework over the platform using Scout Staves, and add a lattice work of braided nylon cord. While your at it, lash on one or more flags!

Th Most Simple Construction for a Lift Seat
The Most Simple Design for a Lift Seat

Camp See-Saw

Camp See-Saw as a Festival Exhibit
Camp See-Saw as a Festival Exhibit



We were introduced to and adapted this project thanks to the great Pioneering Made Easy website. It was inspired by Fun With Ropes and Spars by John Thurman who, with his inimitable approach to providing pioneering challenges and robust Scouting activities, dubbed it the “Underwater See-Saw.” This version is a doable land approach that can be erected during a camping trip (where the materials are trailered in) or along side a Double A-frame Monkey Bridge as part of a simple, public demonstration of Scouting fun. Because of the size and weight of the materials required for its construction, it’s categorized under Involved Campsite Improvements, but when the smoke clears, what we’ve got here is a large campsite toy that’s relatively easy to build. Link to: Larger ViewWe’ll need:

  • 4     10′ x 4″ leg spars
  • 2     6′ x 3″ leg supports
  • 2     2′ to 3′ x 3″ roller supports
  • 3     2′ to 3′ x 2″ connectors
  • 1     6′ x 4-1/2″ roller spar
  • 1     10′ x 10″ x 2″ smooth plank
  • 12   15′ x 1/4″ lashing ropes
  • 4     20′ x 1/4″ lashing ropes for the roller supports
  • 1     35’ x 1/4″ lashing rope for the plank
  • 4     25′ x 3/8″ guylines
  • 2     old tires
  • 8    30″  pioneering stakes

Note: In building the see-saw, the premise is to space the A-frames, the roller supports and the two bottom connectors so that the 6′ roller spar can easily roll around, but can hardly move from side to side or up and down. Overall, this is a simple project though some precision will be required when positioning the plank at the right height so that riders don’t experience too much tilt. Like with any seesaw, care must be taken not to misuse the structure, but overall this camp seesaw is a tempting attraction and gets a lot of long-time play and attention. When built with care and guyed down securely, it can withstand the frequent use it invariably will get, even from heavier riders.

Tightly Lashing on a Roller Support
Tightly Lashing on a Roller Support

Build the A-frames. The first step is to prepare two matching A-frames using the leg spars and the 6’ leg support spars. You can use a Shear Lashing or a square lashing on top, and square lashings for the 6′ leg support spars. The main thing is to make sure that with both A-frames, the tops intersect the same distance from the tips and the legs spread apart an equal distance at the butt ends. 8″ up from the bottom and 8″ protruding from the legs is fine, and intersecting a foot from the tips works fine too.

Prepare to connect the A-frames. Stand the A-frames up so that the legs and support spars are parallel, about four and a half inches apart. Since the roller spar will eventually be rotating between the A-frames, the actual distance the A-frames are apart is determined by the diameter of the roller spar. Four Scouts should hold the A-frames upright and steady.

The Roller Bar has to take all the weight, in this case over 550 lbs.
The roller supports have to take all the weight, (in the above photo over 550 lbs. Click on the photo for larger image.)

Lash on the roller support spars. Measure about 30″ up from the butt ends of all four legs. (For smaller, shorter riders, a lower height is definitely advised.) The height of the roller support spars will determine the angle of the board. Too steep an angle could easily make riding precarious. Begin connecting the two A-frames by lashing on the roller supports with tight square lashings. Lash them to the outside of the legs at a distance just a fraction wider than the diameter of the roller spar. For neatness, space them so the ends extend an equal distance out from the A-frame legs. Because these roller supports will be bearing the weight of the heavy roller spar, the plank, and the Scouts playing on the see-saw, when lashing them on with a Japanese Mark II Square Lashing, start the lashing by tying a Constrictor Knot around the leg to minimize any slippage.

Lash on the lower connectors. With the A-frames held steadily upright, temporarily lay the 6′ roller spar on top of the supports. Using the diameter of the 6′ roller spar as a measure, continue to connect the two A-frames by lashing on two connectors at a distance just above the roller spar, with tight square lashings. Again, for neatness, space them so the ends extend an equal distance out from the A-frame legs. Remove the roller and set it aside.

Lash on the top connector. Lash the last connector to one of the legs at the top of each A-frame, just below where the legs cross, with tight square lashings. If there is difficulty reaching the point on the legs where this connector needs to be lashed, carefully lay both parallel A- frames on their sides and then lash the connector in place. Again, for neatness, space the connector so the ends extend an equal distance out from the A-frame legs.

A Seesaw with a Plank (12') That was a Little too Long!
A Seesaw with a Plank (12′) That was a Little too Long!

Make the Anchors. Build four 1-1 Anchors 45º out from each leg.

Attach the guylines. With a Roundturn with Two Half Hitches, or Rolling Hitches, tie on the 4 guylines, one each about two feet below the square lashings at the top of the A-frames. Connect each to its respective anchor.

Position the see-saw. Stand up and move the A-frames in the position you want the see-saw. Drive in each of the four pioneering stakes, fifteen feet away and 45 degrees out from where they’re tied to the legs of the A-frames. Connect a guyline to each using a Roundturn with Two Half Hitches or rope tackle.

Lash on the plank. Slide the roller spar on top of the roller supports. Lay the plank on top of the roller and using the 35′ lashing rope, lash the middle of the plank firmly in place with a square lashing.

Lay down the tires. On each side, at the point where the plank hits the ground, place a tire to cushion the impact and absorb the shock.

Some advisories and suggestions:

  • Seesaws can be hazardous. Make sure there’s no horseplay. Just seated cooperation.
  • When Riders take their places on the board, they should position themselves so their weight is balanced.
  • Riders should never kick off from the ground forcefully springing their side skyward which can easily unbalance the other rider.
  • Exiting the seesaw should only be done when both rider’s feet are on the ground.
  • Adding ropes for handholds can be done in various places along the board by drilling holes about two inches from each edge and threading a short length of 3/8″ to 1/2″ braided nylon or polyester and tying a couple of figure eight stopper knots or tying the ends together on the underside of the board with a Water Knot.
  • Making four indentation grooves in the plank where it will be square lashed to the roller bar will eliminate the plank slipping towards one or the other rider during use.

Large Camp Table

The Drawing
The Drawing

A design for this table had been on the drawing board for quite some time. Well, a day before the site was set up for a special Scout Campcraft program, it was decided to build one as a functional showpiece.

The Table WIth Flags a-Blowin'.
The Table WIth Flags a-Blowin’.

We sank four 6′ spars two feet into the ground for the main corners, and sank eight 4′ spars a foot into the ground for the rest of the upright supports. Between the corners we lashed two 10′ lateral spars, and for the two long benches and the sides of the table top, we used six-footers. The table top itself was comprised of 4′ platform spars, and the side seats, 3′ ladder rungs. Since the 10′ lateral spars were really too long, we compensated for the unexpected space between the 6′ bench spars and the ends of the ten-footers by dispensing with the back rests, and instead lashed on a flag at each corner.

The Large Camp Table for the Frontier Days Program
The Large Camp Table for the Frontier Days Program (Click on the image for a LARGER VIEW.)

What a piece of work! It stayed up for three weeks and repeatedly got plenty of heavy use on a daily basis. The Floor Lashings regularly needed adjusting, and served as a perfect location to pass on the Double Floor Lashing technique to program participants who applied it later to building rafts. The 4′ vertical uprights soon worked themselves to a slight wiggling state, but continued to furnish their necessary support. Also, during the three week period, due to the heavy adults who loved to seat themselves at this rather elaborate piece of camp furniture, occasionally various Square Lashings had to be tightened up as well. Nevertheless, with all the strain, rain, and wear, this version of the large camp table happily stayed intact.

Single Fire Bucket Holder

Single Fire Bucket Holder
Single Fire Bucket Holder

One of the essential mandates in the BSA’s Outdoor Code is: BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE.

  • I will prevent wildfire.
  • I will build my fires only where they are appropriate.
  • When I have finished using a fire, I will make sure it is cold out.
  • I will leave a clean fire ring, or remove all evidence of my fire.

In addition to being the height of simplicity, this Single Fire Bucket Holder makes an invaluable contribution towards safety around the fire circle. Since it’s always a safe bet to have a supply of water right near our cooking and campfires, why not add some convenience and accessibility in our campsites, especially because when fire buckets are on the ground, they’re frequently knocked over, inadvertently kicked, and even stepped in!

The design for this easy camp gadget is very straightforward. The diagonal support brace forming a triangle is what makes it work, and without it, the notched stick could never securely support the bucket.

Here are the suggested materials:

Link to: Larger Image
Single Fire Bucket Holder
  • one 3-foot x 2-inches pioneering stake
  • two 2-foot x 1-inches straight sticks (one with a notch at one end)
  • two 10-foot x 1/4-inches lashing ropes
  • one 6-foot x 1/4-inches lashing rope

The procedure is simple.

  1. Where you want the fire bucket, pound in the stake deep enough so it doesn’t shake.
  2. Lash on the notched stick with a tight square lashing extending out from the stake at a right angle.
  3. Near the notch, lash on the support brace at a 90º angle (not too tightly) and then position the stick so it intersects with the pounded in stake in such a way that the notched stick remains extending straight out.
  4. Secure this position with a tight Square Lashing.

Double Fire Bucket Holder



Scout Stave Dish Washing Rack

Very Functional Camp Kitchen Gadget
Very Functional Camp Kitchen Gadget

Background and History. Washing mealtime utensils on a camping trip can range from using paper plates (no washing) to “Philmont-style” (lick ’em clean and sanitize in boiling water). Through the years, Scouting has come up with a variety of “dish washing assembly line” configurations. For a wide range of field applications, the three container approach has proven itself tried and true.

Here’s the method featured in the current edition of the Scouts BSA Handbook:

  • 1st container: Wash Pot  (hot water with a few drops of biodegradable soap)
  • 2nd container: Cold-Rinse Pot (cold water with a sanitizing tablet or a few drops of bleach to kill bacteria)
  • 3rd container: Hot-Rinse Pot (clean, hot water)
A Scout Patrol Using a Ground Level Dish Washing Assembly Line
A Scout Patrol Using a Ground Level Dish Washing Assembly Line

On many overnight camping and backpacking trips, this approach has been adapted, sometimes combining the second and third containers into one 8 quart pot. In all cases, the initial step is to clean or scrape off as much excess food as possible into a designated receptacle, before placing anything into the 1st container. Most often the final step, is to let all washed items air dry on a plastic sheet. Even when wash basins are used on front-country, “car-camping” trips, the whole production frequently takes place right on the ground. This is always the case when there are no picnic tables, limited table space, or when tables are being used for other things. Improving the campsite, making it more comfortable, making kitchen tasks more convenient, being resourceful and using one’s ingenuity is what creating camp gadgets are all about. That’s why the Scout Stave Dish Washing Rack was devised. 

The wash basins are supported underneath by two Scout Staves.
The wash basins are supported underneath by two Scout Staves.

Two challenges. 1) Drawings for dish washing rack designs are common. But, until you make one and try it with full containers of water, it’s difficult to realize what the main challenge really is—to keep the containers from crashing down because they’re too heavy! Depending on the containers used, an average wash basin won’t have enough of a lip to hold it in place or is just too flimsy to keep it’s shape when filled with water. That’s why lashing together a framework alone usually won’t suffice. Therefore, in addition to the framework, this design includes a bottom platform made up of two Scout Staves for the basins to rest upon, which solves the weight issue. 2) The next challenge is one that’s common to many a pioneering structure, be it large or small. How do we keep the rack itself from falling over? We overcome this basic concern by bringing into play the same stability solution used in making a simple camp table. It’s exactly the same concept that keeps a Double A-Frame Monkey Bridge erect. Like the table, we connect two upright A-frames with a rope, and using the same rope, we anchor them securely in place on either side. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ten 5-foot Scout Staves
  • fourteen 6-foot x 1/4-inch lashing ropes
  • one 20-foot x 1/4-inch lashing rope
  • two narrow pioneering stakes
  • three wash basins (For convenience, the wash basins we used were very inexpensive and easy to find. Purchased were three 18-quart Sterilite basins from Walmart.)
Make two identical A-frames.
Make two identical A-frames.

Make the A-frames. Because the rack will be holding around nine gallons of water, approximately 72 pounds, the lashings for this project need to be especially tight.  An easy way to assure you’ll have well-lashed A-frames is to first square lash the tops at 90º and then the ledger to one leg, also at 90º. This will create some strain on the lashings when the other leg and the other end of the ledger are lashed together, yielding a nice tight A-frame. (Careful it’s not too tight, and of course you can always start with a shear lashing at the top.) With these Sterilite wash basins, lash the ledger in place about 28 inches from the top of the legs. Since all we’re using are Scout Staves, in this design one side of the ledger will purposely extend out much farther than the other on each A-frame—a place to hang some towels (or whatever).

Support the A-frames with the rope attached to the legs and anchored to a stake on each side.
A rope attached to the legs and anchored to a stake on each side.

Connect and stand up the A-frames. Tightly lash two staves to the outside of the legs of each A-frame, about 20 inches from the top. The front and back edges of the wash basins will rest on these staves. Hammer in two stakes about 12 feet apart where you want the rack to be located, and position the connected A-frames between. Halve the 20-foot lashing rope and approximating the midpoint between the A-frames, secure the rope to the top of one leg with a clove hitch, and pulling the rope to the other A-frame, repeat the process on the top of a leg on the other side. Tie the ends of the rope to the stakes on either side, securing the ends tightly with tautl-line hitches. (If preferred use roundturns with two half hitches.)

Add the two-stave basin supports. The A-frame ledgers will now serve to do something more than keep the A-frames’ legs from shifting. They’ll now also support the two remaining staves that assure the basins stay put! Lash these two staves parallel to one another on top of the ledgers, on either side of the rack.

Place the basins on the rack. Once you check to see all the lashings are tight, and the central rope is secure and stabilizing the structure, then you’re ready to bring on the basins. Position them side by side and fill them about 3/4 of the way up.

Scout Stave Dish Washing Rack
Scout Stave Dish Washing Rack

The BSA Supply Division’s Scout Hiking Staff is still the best deal on the market for Scout Staves. Item: Number 1443 in

Bryan on Scouting Post for this ProjectSaveSave

Boys’ Life Article for this Project

Smaller Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen

Lashing on one of the Front Tripod Braces for a 6’ Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen and Adding the Platform Support Spars.
A Smaller Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen for a Single Patrol

Basically, this is a mini version of the full-sized Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen. Same procedure, just scaled down, and a perfect fit for one patrol.  The only things different here are the dimensions:

  • two 6-foot x 2-1/2 to 3-inch platform support spars
  • six 6-foot x 2-inch tripod leg spars
  • four 4-foot x 2-inch rear tripod braces
  • two 4-foot x 2-1/2 to 3-inch front tripod braces (to support the platform support spars)
  • fifteen to twenty 3-foot x 2-inch floor spars (depending on the size of the cooking surface required)
  • sixteen 15-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes for square lashings (12-1/2′ lashing ropes work well if you have them.)
  • two 20-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes for tripod lashings
  • binder twine for floor lashing
  • piece(s) of burlap or canvas to cover cooking platform (unless you’re using clay)

It's obvious the patrol is ready to foil cook their lunches before the coals are ready!
It’s obvious the patrol is ready to foil cook their lunches before the coals are ready!

Note: When lashing on the tripod braces, position the two rear ones as low as possible. This way the thicker front one can be lashed on unencumbered, and also placed at the right height. When it comes to adding the two platform support spars you have a choice: lash them both on either the outside or on the inside of the front (outer) tripod legs. In these photos, they’re lashed on the inside.

For complete details, refer to the procedure outlined on the full Chippewa Kitchen post.