As a camping activity for kids, and a woodcraft lashing project, this Indian Weather Rock Forecaster is a common sight around Boy Scout camps, and never fails to bring a chuckle from new campers, and even a knowing grin from more experienced ones that have seen them before.
That’s probably because it is just a rock or stone suspended by a cord or rope, with a sign that explains the rock’s forecast:
If it’s wet – it’s raining, if it’s white – it’s snowing, if it’s swaying – it’s windy, etc.
Free printable instructions and materials list to make your own Tripod Weather Rock:
Download Weather Rock Instructions (pdf file)
Jokingly attributed to early Indians, the Weather Rock can be as simple or elaborate as you want to make it. And as small or large as you want.
The accompanying forecast sign can also be simple or detailed. The one shown above is typical, but some may include as many as 10 or 12 forecasts, like; Rock shaking – Earthquake, or Rock Burning – Solar Flare, just use your imagination. (ps. most signs are just written on a piece of paper or cardboard)
Teach Woodcraft with the Weather Rock
The Weather Rock is a popular woodcraft project for Scouts because it can be used to teach basic lashings and knots. The tripod lashing also includes the clove hitch knot, and the lashings to hang the rock can include both the Bowlan and Timberhitch knot.
- A fist-size, (or larger), rock or stone
- 3 pieces of wood – usually fallen wood, as straight as possible, minimum 1” in diameter and 24” long. (can be any size you want)
- 4 to 6 feet of lashing material – rope, cord, or twine
- Something to write and make the sign with – can be a sheet of paper, cardboard, or flat wood you can write on
- Lay the wood for the tripod legs as shone below – top of 2 legs on outside facing one and the top of 1 leg in the middle facing the other way. – as in Figure 1 of download instructions
- Start with a clove hitch on one leg. – it’s a simple knot that works – learn it, or use any knot you want.
- Make 4 to 8 loose wraps around all three poles as shown in the top picture of Figure 1. **Don’t make the loops too tight, the “frapping” turns will tighten the lashing for you.
- Make two frapping turns around the lashing between each pole, (as shown in figure 2). Pull each turn tight before making another one.
- Finish off with another clove hitch as shown.
Notes and discussions:
If you are teaching the lashings, use rope or cord for the project because it is easier for learning new knots, but if the project isn’t for learning woodcraft – sisal baling twine is a better choice because it can be cut and discarded when it’s time to leave.
Amazon has some great prices on parachute cord and sisal twine. Compare these prices before spending too much at a hardware or outdoor supply store.
The best reason for Sisal twine is that when it’s time to break camp you cut the lashings and throw it all away or into your last campfire.
No coiling, wrapping or storing. Plus it is inexpensive and strong enough for almost every lashing project.
Natural Sisal Baling Twine
Another good choice for lashing cord is 550 parachute cord. Called 550 because that is it’s weight capacity, this stuff is super versatile. Works for everything from lashing projects to hanging bear bags. ParaCord is also available in neon colors and braid designs.
Amazon prices for Parachute Cord
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Here are some samples of other woodcraft and camping tools available on Amazon, once you have one of these camp tools you will wonder how you ever did without it. Especially when you see how inexpensive they are when you buy them online.