So this is partly a solicitation of tips (perhaps words of caution) from people who have experience with these, and partly sharing the idea.
So I've been experimenting with lashed structures. I was never in the boy scouts, so while I had some vague ideas that "primitive" (or shipwrecked) peoples in the world do this sort of thing, I think i always assumed it must be some esoteric knowledge passed from generation to generation over the course of an entire adolesence (or knowledge imparted by screen writers of films about shiprwrecked people). But, unless I'm missing something, it seems more like something you can learn from the interweb in a few days (Probably less than a few, but I have to figure in extra time because I'm an idiot. Hopefully my famous last words aren't going to be "hey guys, look what I buil...aaaaahhh".)
I havn't built a full size one yet (getting some full sized materials to really try it out tommorow) but from some close to full size models it seems so incredibly easy, quick, verstile, sturdy, inexpensive*, and fun to build to boot.
(*One caveat to claiming they are inexpensive is that a decent fabric, as far as I know, is always expensive. )
I'm wondering, given how easy and sturdy these things seem to be, how come I don't see them more often? Or maybe I just never noticed that people do it? Is there some reason it's not a good idea?
What I've been learning:
So there are 4 basic lashings (which just means a knot you tie around two poles), apparently most of the structures are based on these fours knots, and from them can be built pretty impressive multi-story structures (though, I'm staying away from weight bearing structures since I'm new to it, just tent):
Square Lashing http://www.animatedknots.com/lashsquare/index.php?LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com
Most sturdy, given strong poles and ropes, and a reasonably well thought out design (common sense stuff if you stay simple), a couple of these can safely hold a person: and certainly a shade structure
Diagonal lashing: http://www.animatedknots.com/lashdiagonal/index.php?LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com
Used to supplement the structures which have the square lashing or non-weight bearing features.
Shear Lashing: http://www.animatedknots.com/lashshear/ ... dknots.com
Designed to make a "bipod", component of an A frame. A of these and some supplemental structur used to, for example, make a bridge. An A frame tent structure is just can be made with these and a bar crossing a few (as few as two really if the tent is reasonably small)
Makes a very sturdy tripod structure. Can be used as a reliably sturdy compenent (if properly set up) in all kinds of structures or by itself. (I'm going to build our shower out of this structure, tied down to the playa. )
Round Lashing: http://www.animatedknots.com/lashround/index.php?LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com
Used to connect to poles together straight (trade off here between strength and length, but this can be mitigated with appropriate structure)
I found this pdf from the boy scouts really helpful: http://www.pioneeringprojects.org/resources/ebooks/sceng.pdf
Note the "10 minute tower". They claim that a pretty large and sturdy platform could be built in 10 minutes with practice. (After practicng for a couple days I've found the knots can be tied pretty quickly---though it may get more diifcult given awkward positions and angles that might arise when building larger structures).
This one is mostly the same info as above but terse: [url]meritbadge.org/wiki/images/f/fc/When_to_use_knots_lashings.pdf[/url]