Lashing (ropework)

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Bamboo scaffolding secured with lashings in Kowloon.

A lashing is an arrangement of rope wire or webbing with linking device used to secure and fasten two or more items together in a somewhat rigid manner. Lashings are most commonly applied to timber poles, and are commonly associated with the cargo, containerisation, the Scouting movement, and with sailors.

This word usage derives from using whipcord to tie things together.

It has been imagined that the first lashing made by humans was wrapping a few strips of bark around a stone to hold it to a tree branch to make an ax to hunt and build with. In modern times, the same methods are used, but strips of bark and vines have been replaced with natural and synthetic fiber ropes. Scouts and campers use lashings to build camp gadgets and improve their campsites for comfort and convenience. Lashings are also used in pioneering, the art of creating structures such as bridges and towers, using ropes and wooden spars.

There are still areas in the world where lashing spars (or poles) is the basic means of building.


A square lashing binding a wooden spar to a tree trunk

Square lashing[edit]

Square lashing is a type of lashing used to bind spars together. There are different types, but all consist of a series of wraps around the spars, and fraps around the wraps between the spars.

Diagonal lashing[edit]

Diagonal lashing is a type of lashing used to bind spars or poles together, to prevent racking. It is usually applied to cross-bracing where the poles do not initially touch, but may by used on any poles that cross each other at a 45° to 90° angle. Large, semipermanent structures may be built with a combination of square lashing and diagonal lashing.

Shear lashing[edit]

Shear lashing (two-spar shear lashing) also spelled "sheer lashing" is most often used when spar legs are to be spread apart to form an A-frame. The clove hitch is tied around one leg only and frapping turns are taken between the poles.

Round lashing[edit]

The round lashing (also known as vertical lashing) is used to join two poles together to extend their length. A clove hitch is tied around both poles and there are no frapping turns.

Tripod lashing[edit]

The tripod lashing (also known as gyn lashing, figure of eight lashing, and three-spar shear lashing) is used to join three spars together to form a tripod.

See also[edit]

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