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June 15, 2007

Clover-leaf lashing

I came across this lashing, which is new to me, on the excellent Dutch Scouting wiki, This is a lashing used to tie 4 or more poles together at one point. Here is my rough paraphrase of the original Dutch wiki entry:

The Cloverleaf (or polypod) lashing is used to lash a number of poles together to make a 'multi-pod' - a tripod, quadpod, pentapod or hexapod.

You could use a figure of eight lashing (or a sailmaker's lashing for that matter) to make a tripod but from a quadpod upwards you need the cloverleaf lashing.

1. Lie the four (or five or six) poles with their bases lined up (so your multipod will stand up straight) and make sure that there is space between the poles to be able to pass the rope through for the lashing (you can use short poles to space the poles out, like in this drawing). The poles should be evenly spaced so that they form a square (or pentagon or hexagon- from here on I'll assume we're using 4 poles).

2. Tie the rope to one of the poles with a clove hitch.

3. Wrap the rope once around each pole, in the same direction each time, as shown in this drawing.

4. If your poles were correctly spaced, you'll see a square in the middle of the lashing. By looking at this shape, you can check whether you are tying the knot properly. If it's not a square anymore, you have tightened the lashing incorrectly.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4, going around all the poles three times (but see this post for a discussion about that).

6. Start frapping, putting a set of frapping turns around each pole in succession. Start frapping at the pole and wrap towards the inside.To start the next frapping, take one turn around the next pole, so that you are able to start the frappings from the pole and work inwards. Repeat for each pole.

7. For the last pole, frap from the inside to the outside, and end by tying a clove hitch around that pole.

(alternatively, read it in Dutch here)

So, an interesting little lashing, that is useful for one specific job (just like the scaffold lashing has one, very specific use). I imagine that it's best not to use a frapping mallet to tighten this lashing, because it will probably stretch out as you spread the legs of the multipod out. As far as I can tell, this lashing originates in Belgium - at least all of the web sites that reference it are in Belgium. The drawings here are courtesy of the 44th Sint-Maarten Scout Group.

So, can anyone share a photograph of this lashing in action? Are there any Dutch or Belgian readers who have used this lashing successfully?


Jeroen van Beijnen said...

I'm from the Netherlands, but I have never seen this lashing being used.
If we make a quadpod we ususaly use a figure of eight lashing.

Marcus (from Singapore) said...

This lashing is amazing! I'm considering starting a scout-blog like this too but that's another story.

Anyway, you were wondering what this lashing could be used for and here's my scoop.

Couple of years back in 2005 I improvised a little on knots with my scouts to build a really high flagpole for our annual camp. The main problem with the shear lashing (the knot you use to join 2 spars to make a longer one) was even if it was tied well, it'd actually act as a pivot for bending; especially in the case where we were building a high flag pole. Nobody wants a banana flag pole right?

So we sorta improvised and came up with this knot that you just featured. Instead of 4 spars conjoined, we used 3 spars cos weight was something we had to control for the flagpole.

We had 2 sets of thin, 3 x 5 metre spars joined in the above method. Because there were gaps between each spar, we were able to have the 2 sets slide into each other. A little tough to imagine with just words. The end product was basically 3 base spars interconnected with 3 spars used as extensions. We wrapped up the area where the spars joined and voila! we had a thick, straight, and looong flagpole. To preserve it's shape we even had another spar in the centre working as a core.

It was hard to slide through at first but with a little force we managed well. A lot of control on the gaps and selecting the right equipment to prevent the tip of the flagpole from getting too heavy.. But nonetheless a fun experience.

The length worked out to a little around 9 metres.. We propped another thin shorter spar in the centre of the 3-spar-extension set and got around 11.5 metres. The challenge was about over until somebody mentioned we could get it higher by having it suspended similar to the skylon flagpole method. That comment cost us another 2 hours into the night with the need for anchorages to enhance the safety of the overall flagpole..

dang! I just need to find the photo.. I have it around here somewhere! So thats just my 2 cents worth. Hope it helped.

kim said...

hé this is funny, seeing some drawings you let some-one make for you end up in this blog!

the polypedestra has been developed by some people of Ploeg Technieken, which is a team from Scouts en Gidsen Vlaanderen from Belgium, who are teaching other leaders from Flanders the more technical site of scouting.

i think the first version of this lashing has been make about 15-20 years ago.
the origin of the pictures is found here
or even better in this publication

now more about the lashing; this is an ideal lashing when you have vertical power to handle like here where the tripod are done with a polypedestra lashing or this picture

this one is a picture of one with 8 poles with one pic with someone make it... it's been used here and here just as a eye catcher

kim said...

i've put some pics to my picasa here + one missing drawing ;-) which has not (yet) been online...

peter said...

Thanks Kim, it's great to get the story behind this lashing. I've really enjoyed reading the ploeg technieken site, but I'm a little lazy- Flemish spelling is quite different from Afrikaans so I need to concentrate when I read. I'll certainly take a good look at the photos you've linked to.

Thanks :)

kim said...

geen probleem Peter.

maybe you will like this also. the date is old but the content is still up to date. the site is going to change so maybe the link will not work correct in the future, but then i'll put an update

Anonymous said...

To make a longer flagpole & not have problems with sheer lashings acting as pivots, use more poles.
By using multiple poles you can arrange for a long overlap of adjacent poles, and do a sheer lashing top and bottom of the overlap.

20th Cardiff (Wales)