Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Handy Book of Knots: Learn to Tie Knots for Boating, Climbing, Caving, Crafts, and More


The Handy Book of Knots is an encyclopedic and well arranged book of knots and their uses by Geoffrey Budworth & Richard Hopkins. Released 13th Oct 2020 by Quarto on their Chartwell Books imprint, it's a solid 240 pages and is available in flexibound format. 

Knot tying is a fascinating and ubiquitous subject of knowledge - tied (sorry) inextricably to humanity's growth and the development of society. Knots can be utilitarian to decorative (often both), and utterly simple to fiendishly difficult. There are subsets of such disparate subjects as mathematics and crime scene forensics dedicated to the study of knots and knot techniques and materials. This book gives a solid overview of knots in all situations. 

This is a well written book - the authors are extremely knowledgeable and accessible in their writing. It's not a dry or pedantic treatise at all. They're both very engaged with the craft and lore of knots and it shows brilliantly in their writing. They genuinely *want* readers to see and experience the fun and utility of knots themselves. I can imagine they're both gifted teachers/lecturers (it's not clear to what extent each of them contributed to this volume - therefore I say both). 

The book has a logical layout - knots are grouped thematically: overhand half-knots & half hitches, figures of eight, bowlines & sheet bends, crossing knots, wrap & tuck, mavericks & mutations, and a short overview gallery of crafts with knots. Each of the knots contains a clearly photographed step-by-step tutorial series which is easy to follow and includes any necessary extra equipment (poles, carabiner rings, etc). The descriptions of the utility knots also include necessary safety observations and advice for use. The authors have included a glossary, links/bibliography list for further reading, and an index. 

I was a girl scout and avid camper and even did a spot of rappelling in my long vanished youth. Some of these knots were familiar to me but the vast majority were not. I'm not familiar with a better or more thorough treatise on the subject. This would make a superlative selection for campers, self-sufficiency folks, smallholders, crafters, fiber-arts enthusiasts, general knowledge readers, and the like. Five stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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