International Guild of Knot Tyers

Knots for the Cut by Ben Selfe

Knots for the Cut by Ben Selfe

Quicksilver Publications 2008 ISBN 978-0-9557600-2-0

As far as IGKT members are concerned, Ben Selfe’s Knots for the Cut will be a knotting book plus. ‘Cut’ is the vernacular name for the canal, and the book is aimed at canal users on Britain’s unique inland waterways. In simple straightforward language, and illustrated throughout with superbly clear and delightful original drawings by Helen Gee, Ben Selfe takes us through the basics of rope maintenance and how to moor your vessel. He shows how to make Turk’s Heads for tillers and tables, ocean-plait mats for the floor and all the knots needed to achieve them. He introduces the idea of making your own bottle fenders and includes some fancy ropework such as a safety ladder, cabin strings, and (in colour) keyrings utilising the Star Knot.

For the more ambitious boat owner, there are detailed instructions and useful tips on how to make cores for such fenders as Buttons, Dwarf’s Trousers and Tipcats, and how to cover them. “It’s only blanket stitch,” says Ben encouragingly.

“You can soon learn how to do it.” There is a 24-page colour plate section, part of which is devoted to “Ben’s Bights ‘n Pieces”. This includes the ropework he did for Ma Costa’s barge in The Golden Compass, all of which ended up on the cutting room floor!

With a sturdy spiral binding and acetate outers for protection, Knots for the Cut reveals Ben’s love of knot-tying, and his sailing background shows through too. Conveyed in a friendly, easy-to-follow style, it has the accessibility of a car manual and is destined to become a classic of the waterways.

Trish Mills