Snake Lashing is a decorative way of fastening the top of a pioneer-style table to the frame - lots of sticks or canes fastened with a single knot.
It's a very satisfying knot to use, and not very difficult to master, but you do feel like you need three hands to tie it the first few times. So, I created this simple jig - use it to learn how to tie the knot yourself, or use a bunch of them to teach a group of others to tie the knot, and then you can move on to the full-scale uses.
Step 1: Materials
I've cut my jig from plywood, but you can use any reasonably rigid material, such as acrylic or scrap timber.
You'll also need something to tie along the "teeth" of the jig. I used a 6mm dowel, but you could use a pencil, garden cane or any reasonably straight stick.
Finally, you'll need something to tie it together with - string. I prefer sisal for the aesthetic, but any "natural" string will work well, as will thin paracord. Try to avoid smooth, plastic cordage, because the knot will slip out too easily.
Step 2: Cutting the Jig
Attached to this step the SVG and DXF files for you to use with your own cutting devices, and a PDF file for those who prefer to cut by hand.
Use them as you will, but please leave the logos on if you share them with your friends.
Obviously, I laser-cut mine, but you can use any tools you are comfortable with.
When you cut your jig, scale it with your other materials in mind: the jig needs to be shorter than the dowels.
I used 150mm dowels, and scaled the jig to 130mm tall.
Step 3: Preparation
Let's be honest - most of the time, your jig will be in storage, which is where the notches come in.
For each jig, cut a piece of string roughly seven to eight times as long as the jig. Lay the dowel along the jig between the cut-outs, then wrap the string in a figure-eight from end-to-end of the dowel.
That will keep the jigs and strings tangle-free in storage between uses.
Step 4: Tying the Snake Lashing: 1
Find the middle of the string, and fold it back over to make a lark's head hitch.
Slip the hitch over one end of the dowel, pull it tight, and lay the dowel along the jig under the teeth.
- Pass the two lengths of the cord over the first tooth
- Pass them down under the dowel
- Cross the lend over.
- Pass them back up the same gap they went down.
- Repeat over each tooth until you get to the last tooth.
Step 5: The Last Tooth
At the last tooth, you pass the ends over the tooth, under the dowel, back to the top and cross them over.
Step 6: The Return Route.
Still keeping tension in the string, pass the ends back under the last tooth.
Between teeth, cross the ends over, but do not pass them under the dowel.
Pull them tight, cross them over, and go under the next tooth, still without passing under the dowel.
Repeat this for the length of the jig - as you work along, you should notice that the teeth become much more rigidly fixed.
Step 7: Finishing
When you get back to the start of the jig, you are finished.
All you need to do now is tie off - wrap the ends under and over the dowel a couple of times, then finish with a couple of overhand knots.
The jig and dowel should not easily pull apart.
When you have practised a couple of times, you should be ready to use the lashing "for real", such as fixing a bamboo table-top to your pioneering furniture.
Step 8: The Video Step
Knotting and lashing are sometimes easier to learn from the moving image, so, here is a video version.
There's no narration, so there's no need to turn the volume up.