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Okay, so I'm a bit of a tiki aficionado. I've decked out my patio in Polynesian pop, I always have a supply of fresh tropical shirts on hand and I make a mean mai tai, if I do say so myself.
But as I was working on my patio and found myself needing to lash together some bamboo for that authentic tiki look, I discovered I just didn't know how. I was lashing ignorant.
I searched for a tutorial, but discovered the Web was sadly deficient on the subject. So, I did some research and put together a tutorial of my own. I hope you find it useful.
By the way, if you're in need of a purely decorative lashing that will leave the back side clear, try my related tutorial, How to Tie a Decorative Bamboo Lashing.
First off, I'd like to note that the sections of bamboo I'm using here have been pre-glued as part of a picture frame I was working on, but the following method of lashing can be used to hold two pieces of bamboo together rather effectively by itself.
Also, you can probably tell I'm using sisal twine, which admittedly isn't the nicest stuff, but it's cheap and easy to find. If you can get your hands on some better cord, especially of the waxed variety for good grippage, I encourage you to use that. But, if you're stuck with the scraggly sisal like me, or you just like the color, I can show you how to clean it up toward the end of the tutorial.
Now, once you're ready, cut yourself a length of lashing material. Cut it nice and long, because you'll need a longer piece than you might think. Even for the smaller bamboo I'm using here, I'm using a piece 2 feet long.
Once you've got it, fold it in half to locate the middle.
Drape the middle over the rear bamboo, as shown.
Be aware, by the way, that the position of my hands will be no indication of an action taken from one step to the next, so I've labeled each end of the lashing in an effort to make things a bit clearer.
Take each end of the lashing and cross them behind the rear bamboo.
Carry each end straight down, over the foremost bamboo.
Again, cross each end behind the rear bamboo.
At this point, it will become easier to start pulling the lashing taut.
Cross each end of your lashing in front.
Cross both ends behind the rear bamboo, making an X in back.
Cross them again, making a similar X in front.
Pull both ends straight up, behind the foremost bamboo.
Cross them in front of the rear bamboo.
Finally, tie your lashing in back. Me, I use two regular half-hitch knots. (The kind you tie your shoes with.)
Now, if you're just going for a quick and functional lashing, you can probably stop here. But, if you're working on a more decorative project, there are a few more steps you might find helpful:
Let's take a look at the back.
For something small like this, I soak the knot with three or four drops of cyanoacrylate (crazy glue) to make sure it doesn't slip. Once the glue is applied, immediately pull the knot tight and count to 10.
Next, cut off the loose ends. With the crazy glue applied, the knot will be set hard, so you can cut off the ends very close without worrying about the knot coming undone.
Turn it around and check your results.
Of course, cheap sisal twine like this looks really scraggly when you're done. But there's an easy way to fix that ...
Take a lighter and simply burn off the mess. Try not to burn the lashing; just tickle the ends of the scragglies and they'll practically flash off.
When you're done, just blow away the loose stuff.
That's it! Now you've got a strong and attractive lashing perfect for all your tiki needs.
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