Outrigger Lashing Buttons




Introduction: Outrigger Lashing Buttons

About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of www.zcorp.com, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

Bicycle innertubes are great for lashing structures together in a hurry. These big buttons let you do it even faster because you don't have to wrap anything or poke them through holes.

Step 1: Hole Saw Minus Center Drill

Cut a bunch of wooden disks with a hole saw. Take the center drill out of the hole saw if it has one. This one has had a painful history and no drill already.

Step 2: Cut a Hole Then Pry the Divot Out of the Saw

Do as the title says

Step 3: Do It Many Times

Step 4: Sand Off the Rough Edges

A power sander isn't necessary, but there was no one around to talk to so I used my beltsander.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Wooden Cookies

Everyone seems to enjoy these. Use soft wood like Okoume or Meranti so people don't break their teeth.

Step 6: Drill Two Holes

Set up a jig as shown so the holes are in the right place. Everything you see is clamped down except for the buttons. I'm drilling two at a time.

Step 7: Chamfer the Holes

Using a countersink bit as shown.
You're not removing much wood so fingers are plenty of power.
This button has tooth marks from the wooden cookie step.
Now you can varnish your buttons, paint them, or soak them with epoxy. Or all of the above.
I'm skipping those steps because they smell bad.

Step 8: Button Lashing, Side View

Hang a button or two anywhere you'll be doing some innertube lashings.

I like to use these big buttons like cleats to lash the crossbeams on my outrigger sailing canoe. This particular lashing gets a lot of strain so I did a few turns of spectra cord first, then covered that with innertube.
When I'm done sailing and all tired it's easy to untie the beams to load the stuff on my truck.

Click on the little photos below the big one to see other views of the completed lashing.
To terminate the lashing just tuck the end under as shown. Don't tie any knots in innertubes, you'll just have to pick them apart with cold fingers later.



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11 Discussions


2 years ago

frankly I want to buttonhole a whole lifestyle now...

Hole saw diameter, wood type, and wood thickness would be helpful - especially since the knots' breaking through the wood under load would be a pretty serious failure.

I don't know what I'm looking at. Is the button tied to something? Does the inner tube hook onto the button somehow? What if the tube is too long or too short?

1 reply

I changed the main photo for step #8, I hope it's clearer now. The buttons are tied to the boat with short loops of cord. Kind of like how regular buttons are sewed to a shirt. If your tube is too short, just tuck the end under and continue wrapping with another innertube. To end it you can just tuck the end under another turn of tube, or wrap it around the button once jamming it under the button against the oter turns of tube. Friction will grip it fine

The smart alecky guy from arizona asks a good question.
I guess you tie the button onto an intact inner tube with a piece of chord and maybe snip off the valve.
Beause the tube is like a big rubber band, the end will be a loop that can hook onto the button after it's wrapped tight.

fine cookie tangent.

Awesome, as always, Tim.

That's a fixture, not a jig! And that little bit of minutia is extremely important! :)

Nice. How well do the innertubes last in the sunlight? I know it hardly matters -- they'll last a season any way, I'm sure, but just curious.

1 reply

The Korean ones we use in the U.S. have lots of carbon in them and are okay in the sun. Red ones like Palestinian kids prefer for shooting rocks at tanks have too much natural rubber in them. They're slippery when wet and crack in the sun. Those come from Latin America and S.E.Asia. Btw I love your stuff! tim

lol the cookies but yea i guess this is a pretty cool instructable