Rafts


You can never tell just what will happen when you go on the long trail,

that is one of its charms, nor do you know what you will be called upon

to do. The girl best versed in the ways of the water as well as of the

woods is surest of safety, and can be most helpful to her party.

Possibly you may never be called upon to build a raft, and again an

emergency may arise when a raft will not only be convenient but

absolutely
necessary. When such an emergency does come it is not likely

that you will have anything besides the roughest of building material

and no tools besides your small axe or hatchet. But with your axe you

can chop off limbs of sufficient size for the raft from fallen trees,

and with ropes made of the inner bark of trees you can bind your small

logs together in such a way as to hold them firmly. Do not use green

wood, it will not float like the dry. Logs about twelve inches in

diameter are the best, but half that size will make a good raft. Six

feet by twelve is a fair size. The smaller the logs the larger the raft

must be in order to carry any weight, for it must cover a wider surface

of water than is necessary for one made of large logs. One good-sized

log will carry your weight easily, but a small one will sink beneath

you.



If you have two long, strong ropes you can use them for binding the logs

together; if not you must make the ropes from fibre of some kind. Daniel

C. Beard in his book, "Boat-Building and Boating," tells of making a

very strong rope of the inner bark of a chestnut-tree which had been

killed by fire. The fibre torn off in long strips must be twisted by two

persons, or one end may be tied to a branch while you twist the other.

When two are twisting one person takes one end, the other takes the

other end, and, standing as far apart as possible, each twists the fibre

between her fingers, turning it in opposite directions until when held

slack it will double on itself and make a double twist. The ends are

then brought together and the rope kept from snarling until it is bent

at the middle and allowed to double twist evenly all the way to the end.

The fibre rope will be a little less than _half_ the length of the

original strands, and it should be about the size of heavy clothes-line

rope. The short lengths of rope must be tied together to make two long

ropes. Use the square knot in tying to make sure that it will not slip.

When the knot is wet it will be quite secure.



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