In wilderness survival there are many instances that require the ability to connect two sticks, logs, or poles in a way that is strong and secure. Whether you are building a shelter, making a camp chair, or constructing an elaborate trap... this technique is great to have in your knowledge base. In addition to the security this lashing provides, the method for completing it is very efficient because it does not require you to guess how much cordage you need.
Gather your sticks
This technique works regardless of the size of the poles you are joining. The two poles can even be of drastically different thickness, although it makes for a nicer looking finished product if they are of the same diameter.
550 cord vs. jute twine
One option for lashing your sticks together is to use 550 Parachute Cord. While this is extremely strong stuff, I prefer to use it only in my emergency survival kits. This is because I like to take a more primitive approach to the survival skills. Too many modern conveniences will make you dependent on them... and going primitive will greatly enhance your ability to use modern implements. For this demo I will be using jute twine. This is my favorite because it is cheap, widely available, and closely mimics the properties of cordage that you would primitively construct from bark, leaves, and other natural materials. Jute twine is also biodegradable... which is a positive thing because it will disappear in time if you leave it pieces of it behind, such as in the pole lashings of a shelter.
The baton stick
The baton stick is a crucial part of creating the cuts that will be necessary for this lashing. It should be a strong piece of wood that is wrist-thick and spans the length from your wrist to your arm pit. It will be used to pound on the back of the knife.
Make an X-gouge
Begin making an X-Gouge by placing the blade of your knife across one of the poles at a 45 degree angle. Then pound on the back of the blade with your baton stick. This will create a deep cut that shears through the grain of the wood. Then place another cut that is perpendicular to the first.
Now slip a clove hitch over the end of one pole and tighten it next to the X-Gouge. Be certain to leave a short tail because later it will be used to finish the lashing.
The perpendicular wrap
First interlock both sets of X-Gouges and then begin wrapping your cordage around the poles for three passes. The proper pattern will have the cordage being perpendicular to the wood at all times. Pull as tight as you can on every pass.
The center wrap
Once you have made three passes, start wrapping the cordage through the middle as if going between the two poles. This action is tightening the cordage down on itself and cinching all of your previous lashings together even tighter. Do this for three passes and stop at the tail that you made in the beginning. Tie the tail together with your working end, snip it, and you are done!