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Ashley Book of Knots Hardcover – Jun 21 1944

4.9 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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  • Ashley Book of Knots
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  • The Marlinspike Sailor
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  • The Arts of the Sailor: Knotting, Splicing and Ropework
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (June 21 1944)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385040253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385040259
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 2.6 x 28.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 717 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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of more than 3,900 different knots--presented through 7,000 illustrations--the art of knot tying lives on, both as a historical reference and a reservoir of handy knowledge.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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Format: Hardcover
THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS (c.1944) by Clifford W. Ashley, is the definitive reference work on knots, splices, and ropework in general. Born in 1881 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Clifford W. Ashley was an antique dealer and artist, who spent eleven years writing his magnum opus, THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS, and died three years after its 1944 publication.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
If I were to have to chose a book to be the Bible of knot tying this one is it. It covers many of the aspects of Marlinspike Seamanship and just about anything knot tying you might ever be interested in.
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not necessarily the book for you if you want clear step-by-step illustrations of frequently used knots but if you're knotty and want to understand the range of different knots within their almost-extinct fields of use it is a fascinating read. It is a key reference for knots and other books often refer to the Ashley number for particular knots.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is the fruit of a live passion for knot tying; it contains approximately 3900 knots, sinnets and splices accompanied with individual explanations and 7000 drawings.
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."
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Format: Hardcover
For anyone wanting to know more than the very basics, Ashley is a must: an absolute best. No one has ever done it better, and this is the standard reference work.
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.)
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