A shear lashing is a simple but effective knot that everyone who works in Forest School should take the time to learn. More importantly, being quite a simple knot, it is easy for anyone to master. Traditionally it is used to fix two parallel spars together which are then opened up to make an A shape. It is important to use a frapping – wrapping in between the two sticks –  to tighten the lashing, as shown in the picture.

You can use the shear lashing to make the Christmas stick star as featured in the Cambridge Forest Schools’ Advent today by following the instructions below.

How to make a star:

  • Start with 5 sticks of similar length.
  • Shear lash two ends together.
  • Continue adding the lengths together, using the same lashing technique, to make a /W shape.
  • Turn and thread the pieces so the two un-joined ends can be lashed together and a 5 point star shape be made.

I also use a shear lashing to make a tripod (though there is a tripod lashing you can use if you choose), which is another quick and easy activity for Forest School and this can be used to make either a tepee type shelter or a rest for a marshmallow stick. Check out how to do it on our YouTube channel here.

In Asia, the shear lashing is used to make an A shaped support for bamboo scaffolding! Though obviously if you working with children,  I suggest you opt for something a little safer and try some ‘pioneering’ – the art of using knots to build structures as practised by the scouting movement.

So go ahead and share this blog with anyone you think would like to make their own star or indeed have a go at building some bamboo scaffolding!