Ashley Book of Knots Hardcover – Jun 21 1944
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The Ashley Book of Knots takes us back to a time when knots saved lives and put dinner on the table. Whether out at sea or in a pioneer cabin, knots were a part of daily life, one that is nearly lost today. But in this attractive, well-organized archive of more than 3,900 different knots--presented through 7,000 illustrations--the art of knot tying lives on, both as a historical reference and a reservoir of handy knowledge.
About the Author
Clifford Ashley was born in 1881 at the whaling port of New Bedford, Massachusetts. He sailed on many kinds of boats in many capacities, from ship's surgeon to interested observer. His ruling passions were marine painting and knot-tying, on which he was one of the world's leading authorities. His paintings are represented in the permanent collection of many American museums and libraries. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
In his pursuit of ropework, Mr. Ashley spent six months at sea on the whaling bark SUNBEAM; and six weeks on a Delaware Bay oysterman called a 'bugeye'. He interviewed tradesmen, such as: steeplejacks, cobblers, truckdrivers, butchers, electric linesmen, and boyscouts as well as sailors and sea captains to document each nuance of knot unique to its trade. He was taught a few knots by Mr. Ringling himself of circus fame; and taught a knot to Mr. DuPont, a captain of industry.
The result of Mr. Ashley's research was a significant collection of 7,000 drawings of 3,900 knots and their application in a 620 page knot tyers tome which has become a veritable bible for rope workers the world over. In just about any capacity that a rope can be utilized has found its way into THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS. Mr. Ashley has covered: netting, lashings, block & tackle, splices, hitches, and bends. He went from purely decorative knots with no practical value to knots applied to industrial use. He included a whole chapter on rope tricks and puzzles. There is an amusing catalog of small figures the author drew to rate the quality of each knot described, such as a deuce of clubs to designate 'unimportance', or an kedge anchor to indicate 'reliability'.
Equally important as the knot's description was their utilization on incidental equipment. Mr.Read more ›
There may be books with easier to follow directions for different knots, but this one is relatively concise and once you puzzle out how his nomenclature works you are well on your way to tying just about any knot in the book.
This book is expensive but is well worth the price. It is a main stay of my personal reference library.
Another factor is that it was written for traditional ropes so the knots aren't always suitable for modern ropes so care needs to be taken to ensure the suitability for use - particularly if you are a climber!
In a nutshell this book is best for fans of knotting who want to know as many kinds of knots as possible or gain understanding of the history of ropework.
The involvement of Mr. Ashley with knots began as he relates, in his early childhood when his two uncles that were whaling captains taught him the first lessons in knot tying, after this he began the gathering and practical study of every kind of knot that crossed his path. The result is this imposing book that took him 11 years to finish.
The book presents in an organized way knots of general utility, and others that are used in more particular circumstances as fishing or camping. You can find and discover scores of very interesting uses for knots from simple ornamental to practical and useful purposes. The sections that I enjoyed the most are the one about occupational knots and the section about tricks and puzzles, one can spend hours and hours navigating through the book that is so full of interesting details and curiosities.
If you are like me a beginner in knot tying, you could find some of the illustrations and directions a little difficult to follow at first, but I can assure you that if you keep trying, in a short time you will get the knack of it, and you will agree with the author when he says: "To me the simple act of tying a knot is an adventure in unlimited space."
There are a handful of modern knots that aren't here in this edition, but that's very minor quibbling. The only people that will care about this, are people who will absolutely need Ashley's book in any case!
For the person wanting to get started, while he or she may soon find the need for Ashley's book, there is so much information that overload is bound to occur. I'd recommend "The Handbook of Knots" by Des Pawson for the beginner who doesn't want to put that much effort into it and wants a fast start. But as Ashley pointed out as his reason for having only one book, instead of also having a simplified book, the fact is that even children who were really interested in the subject proved themselves able to make even the most complex knots from his complete book, so he felt no need for a simpler book. If you have that degree of interest, then indeed you need nothing else, but if you're looking for quick, easy, yet everything you need to know to get going pretty well, then some of the smaller books are better choices (and I think the above-mentioned Pawson book is best.)
Most recent customer reviews
I have wanted a copy of this book for as long as I've known it exists (many years now), and it is exactly what I hoped it would be. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ben Linley
Easy to read and understand. More information than I had expected. Would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about knot tying.Published on Nov. 22 2013 by Andy Culbertson
I have wanted this book for years, so has my entire family. We are all sailors and have been our whole lives and have always thought of this book as the Holy Grail. Read morePublished on Dec 29 2011 by Nick Ta Mere
I gave this book a 4 for just one reason, a lack of detailed drawings. Although it is the most extensive book of knots known to man. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2002
Excellent from the beggining to the end. Suitable boath for kids and adults. It gives the reader how and why for every of 3854 knots listed. Read morePublished on Nov. 30 2001
... This book is indeed the Bible of knots and ropework. It's entertaining and darn near comprehensive. Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2001
This is THE authoritative work on knots. There is simply no better book available. Every kind of knot for every purpose is detailed along with every variation (good or bad) that... Read morePublished on Sept. 11 2001 by Harold McFarland