The Premiere Internet Resource for All Things Pioneering





Electronic Books:

Pioneering Projects Big and Small, edited by Andrew J. Miller -- contains all of the pioneering projects found at the HDPPP [link broken]. Free.

Scout Engineering, Scout Handbook, Scouting Ireland -- The pioneering section of the Irish Scout Handbook.  A good overview with material lists and instructions.  Free.

Ropework, Scout Handbook, Scouting Ireland -- The ropework section of the Irish Scout Handbook.  A good overview of knots and lashings.  Free.

Scout Pioneering Badge Notes, Hong Kong Scout Association -- a compilation of drawings of pioneering projects and general rope work, some of which I have extracted and put into the projects section. The book is in Chinese, so I can't say whether or not the text is of good quality; I certainly enjoyed the pictures. Free, as far as I can tell.

Knots, Splices, and Rope Work, by A. Hyatt Verrill -- Very comprehensive e-book with figures, written in 1917.  Free.  (from Project Gutenberg)

The Knot Book, New Bedford Cordage Company -- drawings and explanations of elementary knots, also explains splicing and rope care. Free, as far as I can tell. (from

Pioneering Projects, IMPEESA NYLT, National Capital Area Council -- 8 pioneering projects with materials lists.  Free.

A Few Good Knots, by Forbes Pettigrew -- Excellent introduction to knots, hitches, and bends. Free.

Pioneering Projects, Uganda Scouts Association -- 18 pioneering projects, with list of necessary equipment. Free.

Pioneering Projects, Three Fires Council Wood Badge C-09-01 -- 10 pages of projects from Scout Pioneering and two books by John Thurman (see Print Books section). Free.

Bushcraft, Scouting, and Woodlore Notes -- A very comprehensive book on woodcraft skills, including three chapters on ropes and pioneering projects.

Leader Training Conference Participant's Notebook, Orange County Council, BSA -- Contains section on pioneering projects, equipment needed, procedures, etc. Contains a good number of projects. Free.

Fun With Ropes and Spars, by Michael Holmes -- 165 pages of projects, knots, and more. $19.95. Contact him by e-mail.

Progressive Pioneering, by John Thurman -- one of four books written by the Gilwell Camp Chief in the 1950's. In this book, Thurman gives diagrams and instructions for more advanced projects.

Pioneering Principles, by John Thurman -- one of four books written by the Gilwell Camp Chief in the 1950's. In this book, Thurman gives various ways to tie knots and lashings.

Fun With Ropes and Spars, by John Thurman -- one of four books written by the Gilwell Camp Chief in the 1950's. In this book, Thurman gives instructions and diagrams for elementary and intermediate pioneering projects.

Pioneering Projects, by John Thurman -- one of four books written by the Gilwell Camp Chief in the 1950's. In this book, Thurman gives even more projects with instructions, diagrams, and materials lists.

Print Books:

Scout Pioneering, by John Sweet -- the classic; not published in the U.S., but available from Scouts Canada. approx. $7 CAN.

Pioneering in Town and Country, by John Sweet -- marginally more useful in combination with Scout Pioneering. If you have to choose between the two, use Scout Pioneering. Available from Scouts Canada. approx. $4 CAN.

The Boy Scout Handbook, Boy Scouts of America (11 ed.) -- has 6 pioneering projects (pp. 144-5). approx. $10.

Pioneering Merit Badge Pamphlet, Boy Scouts of America -- has a few pioneering projects; concentrates on knots more than projects. approx $2.

Note: has several excerpts from the previous version of the Pioneering Merit Badge Pamphlet here.

The Knot Book, by Geoffrey Budworth -- 160 pages on knots, supposedly targeted to beginning and intermediate knotters. Having never seen the book, I can only suggest checking it out. $8.76

Handbook of Knots, by Des Pawson -- a short, comprehensive book on knots. Step-by-step illustrations on how to tie them. The one omission is that it does not include a tautline hitch, but, otherwise, highly recommended by those who have read it. $13.56

The Morrow Guide to Knots, by Guido Regazzoni, Mario Bigon -- 70 knots, 600+ pages, lots of color illustrations. Highly recommended by those who have read it; perfect for sailors. $12

The Splicing Handbook: Techniques for Modern and Traditional Ropes, Second Edition, by Barbara Merry -- a short book that teaches you how to splice various different ropes with various different splices. $11.16

The Complete Book of Sailing Knots : Stoppers, Bindings and Shortenings, Single, Double and Triple Loops, Bends, Hitches, Other Useful Knots, by Geoffrey Budworth -- 100+ knots illustrated and explained with usage notes. $15.16

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Knots, by Geoffrey Budworth -- over eighty knots in a reference work with many illustrations. It has very clear illustrations, and explains how to tie them well. $23.96

The Ashley Book of Knots, by Clifford W. Ashley -- the standard when it comes to knot reference books. Hand drawn illustrations, the history of the knot, and much more. It might be a bit overwhelming for the beginner (in which case Pawson's book might be better), but a good reference work. Highly recommended by all who have read it. $52

There are, of course, many more books on knots.'s section on Knots and Splicing has, at last count, 342 different books on this subject. While some of the books might string you along and are knot worth the trouble, most are worth checking out.


Web Sites -- An excellent site with many projects, lesson plans, and other resources (YouTube videos!). Absolutely fantastic!

Pioneering Made Easy -- Contains equipment needed and instructions to build over 100 different projects.  Very comprehensive!

The Dump, Repository of Scouting Reference Material -- Towards the bottom of the "Scouts" page there are a number of e-books on pioneering.  A great resource.

Ropes and Poles Blog -- Focuses on new and unusual pioneering projects, with pictures and construction details. Scouting Knots -- Great collection of knots showing step-by-step tying instructions.

Boys' Life Magazine Knots Page -- Good tutorials for a limited selection of knots.

Scoutweb South Africa Pioneering Page -- A few projects and many lashings, all in pdf format. The Pro-Plan charts are excellent! Pioneering Page -- contains links to a few projects. Organized by type, with a few diagrams and a brief description.

ScoutBase UK, Scouting on the Web -- a site redesign has reduced the comprehensiveness of this web site, though there are a few projects left, with instructions.

Portuguese Pioneering Website (Pioneirismo) -- contains several different projects, including Church altars and sailboats.

How Stuff Works' Page on Pulleys -- Pulleys, vital to some pioneering projects, are explained here.

Knots on the Web -- an extremely comprehensive site with links to knot tying resources (if you have a knot you want to tie, this page has a link to it.). Highly recommended.

Ropers Knot Pages -- page with many links to knot resources. Comprehensive, with links to multi-language sites. If it's not on Knots on the Web, it's probably here.

Why Knot -- page with links to about 37 knots. Gives uses, diagrams, and instructions for each knot. Knots Page -- comprehensive, A-Z index of knots. It does not provide instructions, and occasionally provides a picture; it does, however, provide a brief history and usage notes. Pioneering Merit Badge Requirements -- contains the Pioneering Merit Badge requirements and has links to other sites.

Knot Books and Pamphlets, -- an extensive bibliography of books on knots and pioneering.

Norfolk Scouts Pioneering Page -- A good selection of projects complete with explanations [Broken link as of 12/28/04].

SR320, Troop 1 Pioneering Page -- pioneering meets campwide game. This website is part 1 of 3 of a campwide game involving pioneering skills. It looks fun... [Broken link as of 12/28/04]

Uganda Scouts Association Pioneering Projects -- Lists resources found in e-book listed above. [link broken]

4th Tyldesley Scouts Knots and Lashings Page -- A good resource for knots and lashings with well-illustrated step-by-step instructions. Highly recommended. [link broken]

Some More Excellent Pioneering Projects -- A selection of pioneering projects from John Sweet's Pioneering in Town and Country. Also has general information on pioneering and bushcraft, which you can find here. [links broken]

Web of Roses Pioneering Projects Page -- very comprehensive, has photos and drawings, though some of the drawings don't always work. Good links to knot-tying resources. Has a page with links to animated knot-tying instructions. [links broken]

Hurricane District Pioneering Projects Page, Hurricane District, Miami Area Council, Boy Scouts of America -- very comprehensive, many good resources and links. Includes photos of projects being built, as well as instructions for some of them. [link broken]



(Note: I do not collect any proceeds from the sale of any items; links are provided as a convenience and, hopefully, a source of inspiration)

Pioneering Models -- from The Scout and Guide Shop (UK)


Have we left off your favorite web site? Is your favorite book knot listed? Write us so that we might correct this egregious error!

This page was last modified on 04/01/09.