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Here are the basic lashings that Scouts BSA learn.

Square lashing

Main article: Square lashing

Square lashing
Names Square lashing,
Typical use
Category Lashing knots
Group Lashing knots
Related Diagonal lashingShear lashing

Use a square lashing for binding together two poles that are in contact with each other and cross each other at any angle from 45 degrees to 90 degrees.

Required for

  1. Start by crossing the two sticks or dowels at perpendicular or 90 degree angles.
  2. Make a Clove hitch on the vertical stick or dowel near the point where the two sticks cross. This fastens the rope to the stick.
  3. Weave the rope under and over the crossed sticks alternately. To do this, run the rope over the horizontal bar, around behind the vertical bar, then back over the face of the horizontal bar on the left. Tighten snugly, then bring the rope behind the vertical bar and up the right front side of the horizontal bar. Repeat this three or four times, keeping the rope tight.
  4. When you have finished weaving the lashing, then "FRAP" it by wrapping the rope between the poles (in front of the back stick and in back of the front stick), pulling tightly. This tightens the connected poles.
  5. Finish your lashing with another Clove hitch.

Lesson Videos

  • The lashing gets is name from the fact that the wrapping turns are at 90 degrees—or "square"— to the poles.
  • Whilte creating a square lashing, keep your first clove hitch in place by twisting the running end of the rope around the standing part a few times.

Shear lashing

Main article: Shear lashing


Requirement of the Pioneering merit badge.

Diagonal lashing

Main article: Diagonal lashing


Requirement of the Pioneering merit badge.


Diagonal lashing is used to bind poles together that cross each other but do not touch when their ends are lashed in place in a structure.


The diagonal lashing gets its name from the fact that the wrapping turns cross the poles diagonally. The diagonal lashing can be used to bind poles that cross each other from 90o to 45o. If the angle between the poles is less than 45o a shear lashing should be used. The diagonal lashing makes use of the timber hitch to pull poles together that are not touching each other. The timber hitch allows the poles to be drawn together without changing the relative positions of the poles. [NOTE] If a square lashing were used to bind poles that do not touch, the beginning clove hitch would pull the cross pole toward the clove hitch causing unnecessary bowing of the cross pole and could also produce a force that would act along the length of the pole to which the clove hitch is tied. These additional forces, if strong enough, can place unnecessary strain on other lashing within the structure causing the structure to twist and fail.


  1. Tie a timber hitch diagonally around both poles.
  2. Start the wrapping turns on the opposite diagonal to the timber hitch, by pulling the rope tight so that the poles contact each other.
  3. Take 3 to 4 wrapping turns; keep the wrapping turns parallel; pull each wrapping turn tight. [NOTE] If the wrapping turns are allowed to cross, the increased friction between the strands of the rope will make it difficult to tighten the wrapping turns.
  4. Start the second set of wrapping turns by going past and around the vertical pole. [NOTE] Going around the pole the rope allows the direction of the rope to be changed without crossing the first set of wrapping diagonally.
  5. Take 3 to 4 wrapping turns; be sure to keep the wrapping turns parallel; pull each wrapping turn tight.
  6. Start the frapping turns by going past and around one of the poles. [NOTE] Going around the pole with the rope allows the direction of the rope to be changed without crossing the wrapping turns diagonally.
  7. Take 2 to 3 frapping turns; keep the frapping turns parallel. Be sure to pull each turn tight.
  8. End the lashing with a clove hitch. Take the first half hitch of the clove hitch by going past and then around one of the poles. Lock the half hitch tight against the lashing by working it tight.
  9. Take a second half hitch around the pole.
  10. Work the second half hitch tight against the first half hitch so that the clove hitch is locked against the lashing.

Note: If very smooth rope is used, the lashing can be made more secure by adding a third or forth half hitch to the clove hitch.

See also

Knots by Use
Basic knots Overhand knot  •  Square knot  •  Granny knot  •  Two half-hitches  •  Taut-line hitch  •  Bowline  •  Sheet bend  •  Slip knot  •  Clove hitch  •  Timber hitch
Advanced knots Constrictor knot  •  Monkey's fist  •  Ocean plait  •  Trucker's hitch  •  Turk's head
Special knots Braiding  •  Carrick bend  •  Chain sinnet  •  Cow hitch  •  Double sheet bend  •  Sheep shank
Fishing knots Arbor knot  •  Barrel knot  •  Blood knot  •  Blood loop  •  Clinch knot  •  Fisherman's knot  •  Improved clinch knot  •  Nail knot  •  Needle knot  •  Palomar knot  •  Surgeon's loop  •  Turle knot
Sailing knots Bowline  •  Bowline on a bight  •  Cleat hitch  •  Double Bowline  •  Figure Eight  •  Marline hitch  •  Midshipman's hitch  •  Rolling hitch  •  Stevedore's knot
Climbing knots Alpine Butterfly knot  •  Bowline  •  Double fisherman's knot (Grapevine)  •  Figure eight follow-through  •  Figure eight on a bight  •  Figure eight on bend  •  Figure eight knot  •  Prusik knot  •  Safety knot  •  water knot
Forty knots Blackwall hitch  •  Bow knot  •  Bowline  •  Bowline on a bight  •  Cats Paw  •  Chain hitch (Marline hitch)  •  Clove hitch  •  Double Carrick bend (Carrick bend)  •  Double Figure Eight  •  Double Overhand  •  Double sheet bend  •  Figure Eight  •  Fisherman's Eye  •  Fisherman's Knot  •  Granny knot  •  Half hitch  •  Halyard bend  •  Hitching tie  •  Killick hitch  •  Lariat loop  •  Lark's head or (Cow hitch)  •  Marlinspike  •  Midshipman's hitch  •  Miller's knot  •  Overhand bow or (Water knot)  •  Overhand knot  •  Rolling hitch  •  Running knot (slip knot)  •  Sailor's knot  •  Sheep shank  •  Sheet bend  •  Slippery hitch  •  Square knot  •  Stevedore's knot  •  Surgeon's knot (surgeon's loop)  •  Taut-line hitch  •  Thief knot  •  Tiller's hitch  •  Timber hitch  •  Two half hitches

There are some great PDFs you can print:   
  • Step-By-Step Knots: 11 Basic Knots fit on the front and back of one page. Adobe Acrobat PDF
  • Six Boy Scout Knots by John Geffre Adobe Acrobat PDF
  • All lower rank knots Adobe Acrobat PDF
  • When to use knots lashings Adobe Acrobat PDF

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