The best books for learning knots

10 November 2020

There’s a saying that if you can’t tie knots, do lots. It’s a bad saying! Anyone that’s been tasked with untying a nasty tangled mess with cold hands on the bucking foredeck of a yacht in bad weather will know the pain.

A best-seller on Amazon, Steve Judkins and Tim Davison has written a very popular book on knots and how to tie them. And it comes in at a very reasonable price. The book is entitled Knot Know-how. The beautiful ‘small-format’ full-colour book covers knots, splices and whippings too! The other knots are grouped by use so that if, for example, you want to make a loop you have eight knots to choose from. Each stage of each knot is illustrated and its uses, strong points and weak points are highlighted. The knots needed for an RYA course are included.

The RYA’s Pocket Guide to Boating Knots does what it says on the can. It’s relatively small size and its spiral-bound, laminated pages make it great for using on the water. 

Knots & Splices, again written by Steve Judkins and Tim Davison, is a beautifully illustrated book covering the knots and splices commonly used at sea. In full colour, it illustrates clearly how to tie each knot using sequential diagrams and a step-by-step approach. Topics covered include the ten knots everyone should know (plus many others), splices and whippings, how to choose the right rope for the job, the use and benefits of each knot and times where special care is needed. At £3.99, it’s a bargain.

The Ashley Book of Knots is a huge tomb of a book available in hard copy and paperback. It’s an encyclopedia of knots written and illustrated by Clifford W. Ashley. First published in 1944, it was the culmination of over 11 years of work and it contains exactly 3854 numbered entries and an estimated 7000 illustrations!  The entries include knot instructions, uses, and some histories, categorized by type or function. It remains one of the most important and comprehensive books on knots. A book for the knot aficionado! 

And last, but not least, there is Geoffrey Budworth’s all-encompassing and aptly entitled “The Ultimate Book of Everyday Knots.”. This beautifully illustrated, full-colour guide unties the mysteries of more than eighty knots. Using clear photographs and diagrams, as well as straightforward, easy-to-follow instructions, any reader can master knots for all sorts of uses including fishing, climbing and sailing.

Of course, there are some great apps for learning knots too! !

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