The Fender Book: The DIY Book of Fenders by Colin Jones
1996 ISBN 9780952838708
Reviewed by Stuart Grainger. There is a big readership waiting for this book, which has been some eight years in preparation and I do not think that potential readers will be disappointed. If you are a boat owner, who wants to know how to make practical ropework fenders in a traditional style, this book will provide the guidance required, from start to finish, in well-illustrated detail. Anyone who has published or handled books about knots will know that there is a demand for a book specifically about making fenders and here, at last, is the response. Colin Jones has been a Guild member since 1985 and has been working professionally with rope since he was a boy. He is not a professional writer and, here and there, it shows, but he writes clearly, concisely and didactically, as befits an experienced teacher of the craft. Colin is not a trained artist either, but his drawings, and they are his own, are of a high standard, clearly illustrating what is intended. They show that much care and thought has been used in their preparation and that most difficult of subjects, the human hand, has been treated admirably.
I am insufficiently qualified to criticise the methods,. recommended in the book, indeed there are few who are. The number of Colin's satisfied customers and pupils testifies to the quality of his advice on this subject, which he knows far better than most. I confess to a minor disappointment that he has not said more about the generality of fender-making. Having told us in his introduction that, in his quest for the 'traditional' fender, he has found that "Each river or sea area have their own idea on what is 'traditional'." Very little appears in the body of the book about design variations, although to be fair, he does exhort his readers to experiment and try new ideas, it would have been interesting to know what other traditional methods have been tried. Telling a reader to cut the side walls off an old car tyre is not as helpful as it might have been with the addition of the vital necessity of lubricating the knife with washing-up liquid. It would have helped many readers also to have given them some advice about sources of supply for the recommended cordage. Although real enough, these are minor criticisms, of which a reviewer is expected to find some. My overall opinion is that this is a most worthwhile book and one that will be around for many years to come.