Scout Pioneering - Knots & Lashings

Scout pioneering merit badge is all about knowing how to use ropes to build things. From building chairs and tables in camp to bridges and towers. Ravenox supports Scouting and in this post we've put together all of the rope whipping, knots and lashings materials you need to successfully obtain your Pioneering Merit Badge!

Here's a great overview video of the Pioneering Merit Badge by Steve Garrett: 

Download the Pioneering Merit Badge Workbook HERE. The workbook can help you organize your thoughts as you prepare to meet with your merit badge counselor. 

Demonstrate the basic and West Country methods of whipping a rope.

Basic Rope Whipping Method

When properly tied, this basic whipping (a.k.a. “American whipping”) is an effective way to keep the ends of a rope from unraveling.

West Country Rope Whipping Method

A simple approach to reliably whipping lashing ropes that's easy to learn and easy to tie.

Fuse the ends of a rope

For synthetic materials like nylon, fuse the rope. Rope and cord made from plastic or nylon will melt when exposed to high heat.

1. Cut away the frayed part of the rope.

2. Working in a well-ventilated area, hold each end of the rope a few inches above a lighter, match or candle to melt and fuse the strands together.

3. Let it cool off for a few minutes. Be careful: Melted nylon is hot and sticky, so don’t touch the end until it’s completely cool.

Demonstrate How to Tie the Following Knots

Clove Hitch Knot

The clove hitch is used to secure a line to a pole and to start and end a variety of lashings.

Butterfly Knot

In Scout Pioneering, we frequently use a butterfly knot to form the fixed loop in a rope tackle — a very useful knot!

Round turn Knot with Two Half Hitches

In addition to securing ropes to a fixed object, this knot is exceedingly useful for tying guy lines to pioneering structures.

Rolling Hitch Knot

A rolling hitch, also known as a Magnus Hitch, is considered an essential pioneering knot. (For increased strength, more turns can be added to start the knot, and for increased security, another half hitch can be added at completion.)

Water Knot

In Pioneering, whenever you need to join the ends of ropes made of man-made fibers that are braided and slick and don’t hold knots well, think of the water knot.

Carrick Bend Knot

A carrick bend is ideal for joining two large diameter ropes and has been referred to as “probably the finest bend ever made”. It avoids the sharp nips of the sheet bend, and can be kept open by seizing the two free ends to their standing parts.

Sheepshank Knot

The sheepshank is most frequently used for temporarily shortening a line without cutting it.

Sheet Bend Knot

This is the basic knot to tie when you need to join two lines together of the same or different diameters.

Demonstrate and explain when to use the following lashings:

Square Lashing

The Mark II Square Lashing (Japanese Mark II Square Lashing) is a straightforward approach to lashing two poles together.

Diagonal Lashing

Diagonal lashing is a type of lashing used to bind spars or poles together, to prevent racking. It gets its name from the fact that the wrapping turns cross the poles diagonally and is used to spring poles together where they do not touch as in the X-brace of a trestle.


Round Lashing

A round lashing can be used to combine poles together to increase their strength, but it’s most commonly used to join poles together to extend their length.

Shear Lashing

The shear lashing is used for joining together two parallel spars which will be opened out of the parallel to form “shear legs.”


Tripod Lashing

This lashing works very well for most Scout Pioneering applications, but for a heavy tripod, or a large one that will be supporting a lot of weight for a longer period of time, using racking turns (Figure of Eight Tripod Lashing) provides more contact between the rope and the spars.

Floor lashing

The lashing can be tightened considerably by running a line around the wraps in between the floor spars and the stringer poles i.e.adding fraps! This lashing is useful when building any kind of raised surface for a: platform, deck, raft, table, bench, chair, or Chippewa kitchen.


Rope for Pioneering and Camp Use

Scout units can buy rope directly from rope manufacturers like Ravenox where it is packaged in standard lengths. Manila Rope, Nylon Rope and other natural and synthetic ropes are available for Scout pioneering activities. Solid Braid Polypropylene Rope is an inexpensive and colorful rope for practicing knot tying. 

Camping Cordage & Rope Outdoor Activities Outdoors Scouts

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