A lashing is an arrangement of rope used to secure two or more items together in a somewhat rigid manner. Lashings are most commonly applied to timber poles, and are commonly associated with the scouting movement and with sailors.
This word usage derives from using whipcord to tie things together.
The structure of a lash is nearly the same with any type of lashing: to start, hold two poles in the desired end position. Start a timber hitch around one of the poles to secure the rope onto the pole (in the case of the stockgrower's lash, an adjustable grip hitch or tautline hitch is used, as a timber hitch can slip when the lash is opened). Start to wrap the rope around the poles (the wrap will change when different lashings are used). Once the rope is wrapped around the poles enough to be very tight, end with two timber hitches and one or two clove hitches.
Square lashing is a type of lashing knot used to bind poles together. Large structures can be built with a combination of square and diagonal lashing, with square lashing generally used on load bearing members and diagonal lashing usually applied to cross bracing. If any gap exists between the poles then diagonal lashing should be used.
Square lashing steps (see image at right);
When the turns are taken around the vertical pole they should be inside the previous turns. The ones around the cross pole should be on the outside of the previous turns. This makes sure that the turns remain parallel and hence the maximum contact between the rope and wood is maintained.
Strength is improved if care is taken to lay the rope wraps and fraps in parallel with a minimum of crossing.
An alternative method is known as the Japanese square lashing. The Japanese square lashing is similar to the standard square lashing in appearance, but in fact is much faster and easier to use. One drawback to consider is that it is difficult to estimate how much rope is needed, which can lead to needlessly long working ends.
A properly executed lashing is very strong and will last as long as the twine or rope maintains its integrity. A lashing stick can be used to safely tighten the joint.
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