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March 4, 2016

'CatDrill' - quick pioneering with pre-drilled poles and light synthetic cord.

Catdrill 'lashing' details
'CatDrill' is an Italian technique for staving or lightweight pioneering, that involves preparing the staves to be used by drilling a small hole and notching the surface of the pole. Lightweight synthetic kernmantle rope is then used to tie the staves together, using stopper knots on the starting end of the rope, and simple slipped hitches to end the lashings. Their English website has a series of PDF documents that guide you through the basics, from preparing your poles, to the different types of lashings, and some basic projects. The original, Italian site has some more projects that are not yet translated into English, but the pictures speak for themselves.
image courtesy Scout Trento 1
According to the authors, they developed the technique for the following reasons:
CatDrill is born for solving the following problems:

  • the price of the building material (wood) and the difficulties found to get it from the forester;
  • the price of the rope;
  • to avoid the hazard of moving heavy wooden poles (and the tools needed to work with them);
  • to avoid ties, joints and toggle realized in the wrong way (we saw them too much times in pictures & co);
  • to practice pioneering during our one or two days trip, doing it quickly and avoiding to use the ground both as a chair and as a table;
  • to approach how a boy thinks, who wants to see concrete results as soon as possible.
1at Blairgowrie demonstrating Catdrill at Gauteng Region training workshop
Senior Scouts and Scouters from 1st Blairgowrie Scout Group recently introduced me to the technique and demonstrated it at a pioneering workshop at Arrowe Park towards the end of 2015. The technique saves time, produces strong structures and is worth investigating if you have some light staves/laths you can set aside for this technique.

There is a similar, more permanent technique called 'Froissartage' using carpentry jointing techniques which I have written about before.

Hat-tip to ScoutmasterCG and 1st Blairgowrie Scout Group.

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