Updated July 27, 2007

Pioneering Merit Badge Session #4, July 23, 2007
Scouts met once again to finish their requirements, and make their own rope. A simple rope making machine twists 3 sets of 3 strands of twine to make a regular 5/8” piece of 3-strand twisted rope. Scouts learned that the quality of the twine is important, as most snapped prior to being completed.

All that remains is a pioneering project, which will be done as part of the gateway at the Wizard Safari in September.

Pioneering Merit Badge Session #3, July 16, 2007
Scouts spent a lot of time working on skills previously learned, such as splicing. Many completed their back splice, eye splice, and short splice successfully. Then time was spent talking about moving and lifting heavy objects, and using ropes to provide leverage. Scouts built rope block and tackles of several styles to lift and move large objects, as well as put tension on lines which would be used for supports and counterweights.

Pioneering Merit Badge Session #2, July 9, 2007
Scouts practiced their lashing skills from the first week by making a bridge trestle. The trestle requires the two most common lashings which will later be used to build a tower. Part of working with ropes is learning safety. Scouts learned the proper way to coil and throw a rope for distance and accuracy. This can be useful in lifesaving, and is also necessary if building a bridge over a wide chasm. For Pioneering, Scouts must learn to splice a rope. The first splice is one of the hardest – the back or end splice. It is used to provide a more permanent finish to a rope so the rope will not unravel, as well as provide a wider ending that will not go through a pulley.

Pioneering Merit Badge Session #1, July 2, 2007
To start, Scouts were asked to set up a dining fly. This was used as an example of what forces holds a structure up – force, tension, friction, distribution of weight, geometry, and proper staking into the ground. Every week Scouts have to demonstrate their knots and lashings, and explain the correct usage for each. Some are easy, such as the square knot, and some less common, such as the sheepshank and roundturn with two half hitches. Basic lashings – square, diagonal, sheer, and tripod – are part of each Scouts advancement requirements. Each participant must demonstrate that they can tie each lashing properly and tightly., as well as explain it’s proper use.
Different types of rope are explained to the Scouts, along with the properties, best usage, advantages, and disadvantages of each. The Scouts will then have to demonstrate their understanding of this to the counselors. An understanding of the care of rope, including proper whipping of natural ropes and proper searing of synthetic ropes is required. Each Scout will have ample chances to demonstrate their whipping skills as pieces are cut for thee final project. Every Scout must plan a pioneering project, make a drawing, equipment list, and model. This is discussed with everyone, and examples are show, so each boy can get started.