Friday, June 14, 2013

Scout Hack #2: Suburban Lashing

My troop is a suburban troop. Good poles for lashing are hard to come by. For a number of years, this problem was amplified by the fact that it was illegal to transport hardwoods across county lines (the emerald ash borer has taken a nasty toll on our area). This made it hard to make poles in places like scout camp, where downed trees are in abundance.

The other big problem with natural poles is storing them. We are a large and growing troop with limited storage space. Obtaining natural poles that were thin, strong, and straight was already a challenge, but finding enough of them to be used by a troop of 30 boys and have space to store them...well, now we are approaching the impossible.

So here is our solution: poles worthy of the true suburban scout.

Yes, you see that correctly. They are 2x2s available at your local lumber yard. We have close to thirty of these in our closet. The fact that they are narrow, and uniformly sized, makes them very easy to store.

The trouble with 2x2s is that they are very smooth.  Even with a very tight, secure lashing, the ropes have a tendency to slip.  This has been frustrating, but also useful.  We have been able to gauge the strength of a lashing by the amount of slippage.  If the lashing slips very little, it is a very good knot.

But you'll also notice we have tried to prevent some of the slipping by putting notches in the corners of the 2x2s.  We used a hatchet to do the notching (boys love playing with hatchets) and were able to quickly run down the length of them.  The notches shown in this picture aren't quite deep enough nor wide enough to be as effective as we would like, but a little more work and it should be pretty effective.  We may also run a grinder over them at some point to really ding them up.

This certainly isn't the most ideal solution, but we've had great success getting the boys to improve their lashing by having enough of these around for everyone to be busy.

No comments:

Post a Comment