Book Reviews

International Guild of Knot Tyers

Bungee Jumping for Fun and Profit by Nancy Frase

ICS Books 1992 ISBN 9780934802819

Lester Copestake writes

“In the second of these short notes I venture, greatly daring, to ask Geoffrey Budworth to try again to ‘get on’ with Annie Proulx. But first I offer a review of a cheerful book which takes you to the boundary where knots begin to have shortcomings. It is a paperback entitled Bungee Jumping for Fun and Profit by a lady called Nancy Frase

She explains that Bungee Jumpers leap head first from a great height attached by Rubber Shock Cords, also called Bungee Cords and that this is done for fun; She goes on. “It is usual to use five cords for safety and the ends have to have some sort of loop or eye in order to attach to the cliff above and the jumpers heels far below. It is, she says, her opinion, that TYING the ends is one of the more dangerous methods and if used it is surely with “much trepidation”. Yes Indeed! Certainly heed Clifford Ashley’s Warning in his BOK(*1017 p399) “If you propose to trust your life to a knot, rehearse it a few times in the back-yard before going afield, afloat or aloft with it; and —

Tie it carefully and deliberately — “Nancy Frase says proprietary fittings can be used but another method is to “Bend the end of the shock cord over once and then fasten the end with whipping.” She explains that whipping is waxed thread applied with the end loop under 100% extension. When the tension is relaxed the seizing tightens up and remains firm even when the diameter of the cord contracts; as it will as the load comes on. Typically with 5/8” diameter cord the working load is 500lb at 100% extension.

All she says is most instructive.

Surely it is fair to say this procedure is tying a knot - A seizing loop if you like. But distinguish her loops from the late Harry Asher’s “seizing bend” KM37/23 which is very different. Almost she tempts you to join her fun. If so you might try the perfection loop (GB’s KB *46 p89) also called the angler’s loop (CA *1017 p186). It is said this knot will hold in shock cord as well as in wet gut and nylon.

All the same test and rehearse first. Five knots might bulk too large. For Safety, Jumping gear has five of everything in parallel excepting only the intrepid jumper herself, who is on her own.


This second notice arises from Geoffrey Budworth’s review of the wonderful book by E. Annie Proulx about life in Newfoundland called the Shipping News (A Touchstone Book, Simon & Schuster Inc 1994)

This is the book whose chapter headings are quoted with illustrations from knotting books mostly Ashley’s. I have looked them all up except the one on Quipus because Cyrus Day’s book is published in Kansas. You don’t need to do this. Just get on with the book itself (and Geoffrey Budworth do try again, skipping past the first few chapters).

Soon the action moves to the maritime coast of Canada and the quirky characters come to life. In the end the spell of the witch’s knots or whatever is exorcised and you are left with a hope of happiness for the lonely journalist, his entrancing small daughters and the aunt too. Books as real as this are rare. Annie Proulx didn’t get the Pulitzer prize for nothing. The knots are a bonus. Most local libraries will have a copy.