For a unit interested in putting together their own pioneering kit, a good place to start is to gather the materials necessary to undertake the specific project or projects the unit wishes to build. More supplies can be added to the unit’s kit to meet additional demands for materials, as required by the desire and wherewithal to tackle new and different projects.
The easiest way to make sure that you have all the necessary ropes, spars, and equipment ready to build a pioneering project is to put together a pioneering kit. It saves a lot of time if the pioneering kit is organized and ready to go so you don’t have to spend time gathering all your equipment every time you want to build a pioneering project.
You can always add more equipment as the number of Scouts participating increases, or if some Scouts become more skilled in building a wider range of projects.
Generally, pine makes the best spars because pine trees are straight. Also, when pine is stripped of its bark and dried out, it makes spars that are not too heavy, therefore suitable for “Scout-size” projects.
If pine is not available, cut spars from the straightest trees you can find. It might be to your advantage to make spars from hardwood species of trees. Given the strength of hardwoods, you might be able to use slightly smaller diameters as a weight-saving measure. Don’t overlook softwood spars for light, smaller projects.
Some lumberyards and farm supply stores carry round, treated fence posts that can be used for short lengths. Barn poles might also be available for a few of the longer lengths. Remember that barn poles are quoted at the top diameter, not the butt end. The supply yard might let you select and match what you need.
On all spars, you should remove the bark and cut the ends square. It is recommended that you cut all the spars to exact, even lengths, regardless of their butt diameter, as shown in the chart below.
Both ends of the spars in your pioneering kit should be color-coded with a band of paint to denote length. Here are the colors that can be used to easily show the lengths of the spars without having to measure them each time.
The best all-around rope to use for pioneering projects is pure manila, three-strand, twisted.
All ropes in your pioneering kit should be whipped on both ends. In the case of plastic rope, whether it’s twisted or braided, it must be first melted back and then whipped.
Ropes cut to the standard lengths shown above should have the ends color-coded with a dab of paint to denote the length. Here is a recommended color-coding system for all rope, regardless of diameter of the rope.
You might also have a need for ropes of specific diameters and lengths that are used for projects that are built often. These should be identified with a tag and coiled separately. These ropes, along with slings, grommets, strops, and anchor ropes should be stored in a separate box.
In addition to spars and ropes, your pioneering kit should contain some basic equipment needed for building projects. This equipment includes
- round-point long-handle shovels
- wooden mallets
- pioneering stakes
- binder twine boxes
- bow saw
- hand ax
- welded steel rings, 3/8″ x 3″
You might also find that putting this equipment on a trailer that can be pulled by a truck will help get your pioneering kit to your project site. The trailer will also help you move your pioneering kit to a dry shelter when not in use.