Author Topic: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!  (Read 15803 times)

[Inkanyezi] gone

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2009, 12:29:45 PM »
I don't know about Hensel and Graumont, never seen a copy irl, and from my horizon, that tome is not of great importance.

Worse though that there pops up just another knot book about once every decade, with the same old stuff, maybe slightly reorganised, and with the scans mirror flipped and traced with pencil in order to make the copying less obvious. Those books are presented as "the ultimate" book on knots and ropework etc. The last contribution here in Sweden, with an IGKT member as co-author. The balderdash in it can be traced back to Sam Svensson, and apart from adding very little knowledge, it is downright misinforming in a few places. (Joop Knoop mentioned my clash with that book in another post.)

And I guess that's something that goes on not only here in Sweden, but in other countries too in different languages.

To me as a sailor, bibliography and history of knots is of little importance, more so the practical qualities of different methods, where knots are included. Of course for a bookworm (I am one) there's some interest in finding the errors, but as a sailor again, in navigation, I am not interested in where the reefs and underwater stones and other shallow spots are, I am only interested in the water where there's enough depth. Same for knots, I'm not interested in the unsafe ones or those thar cannot be untied, but only the ones I regard as good ones. Some of them are allowed to be difficult to untie, but then only for more permanent use, and most of them must be amply secure and also easily untied.

And it is on those latter points that knotbooks fail so badly. Hansel & Gretel's "Hitched Figure-of-Eight Eye" may be secure, but I haven't seen anything else jam so hard. The worst repeated mistake from the Swedish book is the Blackwall Hitch, which is recommended for lifting load, a heritage from Sam Svensson. It's even claimed to be more secure when doubled! And the Guild is taken hostage in the marketing blurb where the author's membership is presented as if it would grant some quality aspect. Would I want to be a member of the same guild?

And of course, with knotting having just a seedling of science, the grounds for pointing out such "errata" would be only our experience and lore. The latter gives me more confidence in running my own race. Who could say I'm wrong, when there is no norm and the competition so weak.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2009, 12:39:32 PM by Inkanyezi »
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Dan_Lehman

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2009, 07:31:26 PM »
I don't know about Hensel and Graumont, never seen a copy irl, and from my horizon, that tome is not of great importance.
No.  But it's appearance and the claims made for it make it to be a compendium
of the history of knots, from all over.  It is only by careful/attentive examination
that one comes to question this, that one sees in it outright mis-copying (i.e.,
one knows a prior book with knot and words matching (nearly) what H&G give),
copying of nonsense (the knot was bad before, and they echo or change it and
it is still bad), hilarious/ridiculous non-sequiturs (Turks shooting farther on account
of a knot tying bowstring to bow), and entry after entry of makes-no-sense "knots"
that can only be understood as efforts to fill up a page (or else, ... what?).

"not of great importance":  I imagine you could say much the same for the
reports of test data, of knot strength, too.  What sort of test data would be of
relevance to the knots user (better: "to the knots user in <this field> ") ?
Further discussion along these lines is better located under the new thread
Towards a Science of Knotting under Practical Knots .  E.g., cyclical,
repetitive testing for abrasion damage?  Some serious (but not break) loading
to check for knot tightness & ease of untying?  Just a good round of such testing
in a variety of cordage?  Again, "Towards a Science ..." is aimed at bringing
forth such insights.

Quote
Worse though that there pops up just another knot book about once every decade, with the same old stuff,
maybe slightly reorganised, and with the scans mirror flipped and traced with pencil in order to make the copying less obvious.
Those books are presented as "the ultimate" book on knots and ropework etc. The last contribution here in Sweden,
with an IGKT member as co-author.
You must be in a relative backwater from the main flow of this:  such things have struck
me more of --for that one particular author of great popularity-- a book-a-month club !!
But as the count of Budworth's output is now around 20 since 1990 or so (yes, he had a
book prior to that -- which got reissued, thankfully!); Amazon.com enumerates these pretty
well, but one must beware of reissues under different cover/title, or split one into two.
For him to be reusing images for his follow-on works is understandable (though
one might ask for some improvement here and there); but for other authors/illustrators/&
publishers to copy broadly (mistakes and all) really begs the question of any sort of honesty
and checks in publishing!?  There have been a couple cases of joint authorship in Geoffrey's
case which are misleading:  after being unable to continue on a recent work, the publisher
not caring to delay, got another fellow to finish up; and GB was himself tasked with the
similar duties for another, earlier work.

My sense is that certain publishers want a knots book of this sort of Knots-Lots 101 level
and nothing else, and see $uce$$ spelled out as N-E-W, not in sustaining (revisions, additions)
some G-O-O-D effort.  Be done quickly, get it out of the door.  And some general-reader reviewer
will make positive comments on the authors cred.s, the pretty images, and the number and thus
apparent "completeness" of the work, for buyers to suck up.

Quote
The balderdash in it can be traced back to Sam Svensson, and apart from adding very little knowledge,
 it is downright misinforming in a few places. (Joop Knoop mentioned my clash with that book in another post.)
...
The worst repeated mistake from the Swedish book is the Blackwall Hitch, which is recommended for lifting load,
a heritage from Sam Svensson.
I'm skeptical as to Svensson's influence:  Ashley doesn't recognize his work (1940 vs. 1944);
and for the Blackwall Hitch i.p. Ashley cites Steel of 1794 -- well prior any even thought
of Svensson!  And I suspect that the circulation of that knot is broadened in 1800s.  Maybe
someone omitted putting in a stopper in the rope end?  -- a quick stress test beside me with
pulley was held, 5/8" manila on a smallish, like-thickness hook; 300#(?) force.

Quote
Hansel & Gretel's "Hitched Figure-of-Eight Eye" may be secure, but I haven't seen anything else jam so hard.
Which by your initial statement I deduce means that my verbal illustration was
your guide?  I hope it worked (I've been frustrated by others claiming not, and
not willing to pursue further words to clarify, in some past cases).  I just tried it
with soft-laid 1/2" PP and 5/16" diamond-braid PP vs. PES (squarish) ropes,
and found that the knot could be forced loose by pulling end & S.Part apart
after lifting away the outer collar.  The HH does put a load on the two parts,
but they can be used to break that.  YMMV per circumstance, I'll guess.
(Oh, tied around a 1cm 'biner.)

Quote
Would I want to be a member of the same guild?
Would you want to change it from without or within?
Or ignore it -- in favor of ... the freedom of ...  ?!
I understand your thoughts.  I've wondered at inviting those of some
fields such as rockclimbing to be in the IGKT, but, no, we haven't got a lot
to offer that would make a favorable impression.  But we are met -- several of us --
by that association; and are on an IGKT forum now.  And those books testifiy to
how well (not) things were going prior to and besides the IGKT; that the IGKT
has yet to make much influence in that, that its members are following in the
not so great publishing footsteps, is something to recognize and something
to step beyond.  "step beyond" doesn't come best by "stomping upon",
as Dale Carnegie might point out.

Quote
And of course, with knotting having just a seedling of science, the grounds for pointing out such
"errata" would be only our experience and lore.
In part, right.  But also continued (begun!) research with many eyes SEEING
what is done, where, how, why.

--dl*
====
« Last Edit: August 13, 2009, 05:34:36 AM by Dan_Lehman »

squarerigger

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2009, 07:35:59 PM »
Quote
The worst repeated mistake from the Swedish book is the Blackwall Hitch, which is recommended for lifting load, a heritage from Sam Svensson. It's even claimed to be more secure when doubled! And the Guild is taken hostage in the marketing blurb where the author's membership is presented as if it would grant some quality aspect. Would I want to be a member of the same guild?

An interesting comment about the Blackwall Hitch, recommended by Nares in his treatise on seamanship from 1862 for lifting a load with a tackle.  Brady and Lever both also mention that it may be used for setting up rigging but do not recommend against using it for lifting a load.  I have used it and its fellow the Double Blackwall for lifting a 600 lb anchor sucessfully and without incident hundreds of times - what is it about the hitch that so appalls so many?

Have you had practical experience with setting it in place and found it to slip under load?  Is there a specific kind of fiber with which you would not tie it (I have used it with manila, hemp and Roblon, a form of polypropylene), and I now have a 600 lb fender hanging in my back yard suspended off a tripod some 14 feet in the air which has been hanging there for several months using a nylon rope (a bit weathered and stiff, but nylon nonetheless) cast on an open hook with nothing more than a Blackwall Hitch.

Is there something about the kind of load suspended i.e. a dead load or a dynamic load?  Whose literature has some definitive testing that shows the hitch to be defective such that its use should be condemned?  Whose literature says with definitive testing that it should only be used for lifting loads?  What august body has provided something, anything, that shows the hitch to be defective?  Is there any other body of testers or users who has something to condemn use of the hitch?  More information, please, so that we can collectively put this to the test - inquiring minds need to know! ;D

SR

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2009, 08:00:39 PM »
An interesting comment about the Blackwall Hitch, recommended by Nares in his treatise on seamanship from 1862
for lifting a load with a tackle.  Brady and Lever both also mention that it may be used for setting up rigging but
do not recommend against using it for lifting a load.
I have used it and its fellow the Double Blackwall for lifting a 600 lb anchor sucessfully and
without incident hundreds of times - what is it about the hitch that so appalls so many?

Have you had practical experience with setting it in place and found it to slip under load?
Is there a specific kind of fiber with which you would not tie it (I have used it with manila,
hemp and Roblon, a form of polypropylene),
and I now have a 600 lb fender hanging
in my back yard suspended off a tripod some 14 feet in the air which has been hanging
there for several months using a nylon rope (a bit weathered and stiff, but nylon nonetheless)
cast on an open hook with nothing more than a Blackwall Hitch.
When we get through with logical explanation of the badness of this hitch
expect that fender to fall, by conviction!  :D

This is exactly the sort of check-&-see evidence that is valuable.  And here
from one knowing what he is doing (i.e., choosing deliberately a definite
structure) and with pretty well identified gear & loads, repeatedly.
I wondered --and wanted to better check this in my just-now stressing--
if orienting right-/Z-laid rope around the hook clockwise (moving towards
end) would make it such that the hook-side lay ran parallel with it and so
might be pressed open to give some additional grab !?

One can wonder if there's some not-so-distant tipping point at which
the confluence of material structure, condition, hook shape, and load
can yield slippage (which once begun with much load will surely spill it)!?

I'm reminded of the Lyon Equip (2001?) testing in which a Clove Hitch failed
in almost all tests --at considerably different forces-- to hold, but did hole each
time (three) to break in the one tested dynamic rope!?  So a rockclimber takes
successful experience into caving (or canyoneering) with a different but similar
cordage and maybe has a problem!  Actually, there was a fellow at Sterling Ropes
who did some drop tests on a Clove hitch and there they all? failed, until stopperd.
Climbing fall arrests in practice would be well less than this severe, device-wrought
static load drop test, but it does give one pause.  The Clove h. is used regularly
in anchoring the belayer, but also with some back-up.

Quote
Whose literature has some definitive testing that shows the hitch to be defective such that its use should
be condemned?  Whose literature says with definitive testing that it should only be used for lifting loads?
What august body has provided something, anything, that shows the hitch to be defective?
Further discussion along these lines is better located under the new thread
Towards a Science of Knotting under Practical Knots .


Consider:  a typical slow-pull test device drives a pin farther from an achor and
thereby exerts force upon a joining structure; but intermediate failures in the structure,
and some tightening-adjusting will at times significantly lessen the force upon it
-- as the slowly distancing pins are moving at a preset rate.  Whereas in practice
a suspended load is in constant bearing upon the structure, and a sudden bit of
yield in it will only accelerate the load to apply force with some increase, no
slacking up!?

--dl*
====

squarerigger

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2009, 08:46:41 PM »
There is a likelihood that someone applying any knot, hitch, splice, bend or other conjoining of lines or forming of stoppers, incorrectly, will end up with a mess.  There seems to be very little that one could do to obviate this.  Yes, the configuration that I have found specifically to work is wrapping of the right-laid line (no testing yet with braided line) such that the hook is loaded on its left side when facing the bill and having the shank at the rear or side away from the observer.  The shank shape also is important, in that it must have a nock that will permit the crossing toward the eye of the hook (ring of the hook) and will not have a shape that requires the hook-body to be smaller or larger to accomodate the size of line.  A small line in a large hook will definitely not work!  Also, a very large line in a very small hook (sorry, no sizes that I can quote you, as yet) will not work.  It is also necessary to gradually load the line so that a purchase is effectuated.  When and if I see the load slipping, even a tiny amount, I stop the action, re-assemble as a Double Blackwall and again end up with the load to the left using right-laid line.  Invariably, when I get slippage, it is because of the relative size of the line and hook, a vital component of the Hitch not identified in knot-books (including my own) - then again, I am not trying to teach people with a few simple photographs how to become an effective rigger.  It is a truism that, if you follow advice from a book alone, with no further personal advice, counsel, training or trial, you are a fool.  Thanks for asking!

SR

[Inkanyezi] gone

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #35 on: August 01, 2009, 10:08:36 PM »
Yes Dan, the verbal description is easy to follow. First a single hitch around the standing part, then a "backhanded", i.e. around the SP and back around the load and up through the half hitch along the SP. it draws up, and keeps the nip after once drawing up. When heavily loaded, it jams and is a bit difficult to untie, but it works if the "backhand" bight is turned to the side, which loosens the knot.

However, there are several knots that are just as easily tied but behave better. I wouldn't use it if I didn't specifically need a jamming knot.

Re Blackwall Hitch: This knot and a few more has led to a total banning of knots for lifting. For professional use, no knot is permitted for lifting, only slings may be used. There are scores of knots that are much safer, without so much careful working or having to match the line to the hook size. Ashley states that it is used in setting up rigging when you have a short lanyard end, and he says it should not be tied to a cargo block. I know how to make a half hitch that holds, but everyone don't, and if you use it for cargo, and the load just touches something that for a moment releases the knot, the situation may change rapidly. The Blackwall Hitch does not have a lot more security than the balancing pole hitch.

So, of course, given the right size of hook, one could suspend a load indefinitely, but what for? The knot does work, when the hook is the right size for the rope, the friction is reasonable and the load is carefully applied. But considering what such knots might be used for, I would not recommend it. The three most common lifting scenarios with small boats are:
  • 1, lifting and stepping the mast (when stepping, the load is released when the foot hits the deck, and the mast will come down)
  • 2, lifting a small boat (slings work a lot better)
  • 3 lifting an engine and putting it in its cradle (the knot might release the load at any moment whenever it hits an object, particularly while lowering)

 In neither case will the blackwall hitch be easier to use than one or more slings.

So I wonder, why would one include a questionable knot where a malfunction might be fatal, when there are safe routines for that kind of work?
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squarerigger

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #36 on: August 01, 2009, 11:46:57 PM »
Quote
So I wonder, why would one include a questionable knot where a malfunction might be fatal, when there are safe routines for that kind of work?

Very good question and not one to be sneezed at.  Frequently, one is attempting to do something that has been tried time and again, with no fear of losing the load, no fear of the load landing on anything that will suffer loss and so on and so on.  None of this is an excuse to use something different, but, when needs must, when it is simple and safe to use for that application, it is a useful hitch to know.  I would not recommend its use where it is banned, for whatever reason, nor would I use it if someone's life depended on it.  However, in raising an anchor from the water's surface to the caprail on an old squarerigger, it is perfectly feasible, it works and there is no reason to change to anything different.  I sail on old squareriggers (hence the nickname) and I have had nothing but success with it.  I am not responsible for what other people do - if I were I would recommend against any knot that was not tied by someone with years of experience.  In the front of my own books I have the reminder that no knot should be relied on for life safety - if I did not do that, there would be no knots in the book!  No knot is foolproof and no knot, hitch, bend, splice or any other fixing with a flexible fiber (do not read in here that a steel rod is flexible and therefore should not be used) should be used in any life safety application, unless assembled by someone with insurance against all possible accidents - yes, even your slings can be mis-applied and the strapping is frequently loaded to a maximum, because it is used by idiots.
Your advice is well taken, but taken nonetheless with a pinch of salt - thanks for the feedback!

SR
 

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2009, 03:17:00 PM »
Yes Dan, the verbal description is easy to follow. First a single hitch around the standing part, then a "backhanded", i.e. around the SP and back around the load and up through the half hitch along the SP. it draws up, and keeps the nip after once drawing up. When heavily loaded, it jams and is a bit difficult to untie, but it works if the "backhand" bight is turned to the side, which loosens the knot.
Well, that to my following is way different than what I described.
As I said, proceed as though tying the venerable Clove H. to the S.Part
(aka "Two HHitches"), BUT just at the point where you would tuck the
end to make that 2nd HHitch, instead pass a little OVER the crossing
part, and reach towards the hitched object to u-turn through the 1st
(only) HH and loop made by the end in place of a 2nd HH.  The end
makes a HH, then makes an encompassing Overhand knot in which
it passes through the HH and so this Overhand is kept rather open,
and the end might be used in combination with the S.Part to pry
loose the Half-hitch.  (Definitely no backhanding & no going back
again around the load/object.)

--dl*
====
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 04:47:23 AM by Dan_Lehman »

[Inkanyezi] gone

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2009, 06:28:50 PM »
Got it now...

Not jamming, behaves rather well, but not really beautiful.
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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #39 on: August 04, 2009, 11:36:51 PM »
Whilst I'm grateful for the warning never to buy a knot book that sounds like a fairy-tale (is this a "too good to be true" book ;)  ) how can I or any beginner be sure that the book I have just purchased is reasonably error--free?

This weekend, I taught 2 young ladies the Diamond/Lanyard/Chinese, tied in hand, and the Viking Fingerweaving I picked up at Yorvik, which is useful because from a single cord they can now practice making bracelets, key fobs, or - as their motivation - copies of my camera wriststrap.  I didn't pick Solomon/Portuguese because they haveno access to a tool to pull through with.

I will be recommending them Stewart Grainger's "Knotcraft" or "Creative Ropecraft" - I know for sure the latter is available through the public library system.  Both have good progression, beautiful illustrations, and lead naturally to projects.  As I trust, they are error-free.

But how do I tell them: caveat emptor; here be possible errors, when I don't know whether a book does or doesn't have errors?

The amount of trust involved in buying a knotting book as an amateur/new knotter is huge.

Regards,
Glenys
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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #40 on: August 05, 2009, 10:50:12 AM »
Glenys

With the best will in the world even the best and most meticulous author can have their work altered before publication - probably inadvertantly in many cases - and no-one is perfect.  Personally I find a much greater problem with fancy knots where I simply cannot follow the illustration/text even though it quite correct. And yet another author showing the same knot may be easy to follow. Nowadays I tend to use the web to learn or look at a knot I am not familiar with - chances are there are several sites often offering different interpretations (not wrong, just different!) - and there may be a comment section as on Youtube where you can see others opinions.  I buy books for enjoyment as books rather than a manual these days

Barry

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #41 on: August 06, 2009, 05:59:57 AM »
...
In the front of my own books I have the reminder that no knot should be relied on for life safety
 -- if I did not do that, there would be no knots in the book!  No knot is foolproof and no knot, hitch, bend, splice or any other fixing
with a flexible fiber (do not read in here that a steel rod is flexible and therefore should not be used)
should be used in any life safety application, unless assembled by someone with insurance against all possible accidents ...
And yet rockclimbers, arborists, cavers, et al. continue to rely on knots
for life safety as they have done for decades!?

When I see advice to seek personal training on Net forums, I have
to ask how it is that someone in person suddenly becomes so wise
vs. perhaps that same person via the Net -- and one can remark here
at accounts from students/clients of what their for-hire trainers have
instructed them to do that is decried by experienced practitioners,
and contrary to state of the practice.

Books/documents that ask for fee in purchase then quickly disclaim
"we give no assurance that anything here is helpful or even correct"
leave me wanting to go upside a lawyer's head!   :(

Information delivery should be better than this.
(I do recall one of Geoffrey's books making what to my mind was a
quite sensible disclaimer -- some common sense reminder of issues
while proclaiming some effort at correctness.)

--dl*
===

ps:  My, what an amazing bunch of cleat hitches I found !
   -- and an eye splice for the record books!!  :P

squarerigger

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2009, 07:11:03 AM »
Dan,

I could not agree more - however, we are blessed or besieged by lawyers, who are ever wont to decry their lot by saying it is other people who want them to sue someone, not the action they themselves might take.  It may be a free country but it is awfully limited when you try to do something!

Here is my take on personal training - if someone is trying to tie right in front of your eyes, you can see so much more and have so much more control over their actions, inactions, assumptions and misunderstandings than you can when you sell them a book.  As an author I have precious little control over how the book is used.  A little like a rope manufacturer stating that the breaking strength is X pounds, when the user tries to pull that load and the line breaks, they wonder why and blame the manufacturer for lying to them.  The user has misunderstood the meaning of breaking strength (actually average BS) and they have abused the line or purchased it as part of a job lot that has been sitting in someone's warehouse heat for five or six years.  The manufacturer has NO control over how the rope is used, abused, misinterpreted and the facts that they give (breaking strength = BS) are NECESSARILY an average - it wouldn't make sense for them not to be.  Similarly I have no control as an author over how many pages the publisher will allow, what level of stupidity the reader may lack or possess, what errors have crept in during ineffective proofreading, etc., etc.  It's something that I learned when I came to the USA - it is called CYA!!!

As for those cavers - they were trained not by a book alone, nor do they practice alone - they are in company and have received personal guidance or they would not be allowed access.  They do not rely solely on the use of knots, they also use carabiners, stitched and proof-tested webbing, safety belts, helmets, two-way radios and a host of other safety precautions - and they also practice using backups, not just a single knot.

Thanks for your comments anyway...

SR

PS:  here is Geoffrey's publisher's caution: "Do not use any of the knots, bends, hitches, etc. in this book for a purpose that involves forseeable risk of loss, damage, or injury without the appropriate training and equipment.  Cavers, climbers, rescue workers, wilderness or ocean-going adventurers who wish to use a particular knot for those (or any other) activities and pursuits are strongly advised to seek the advice of qualified practitioners first.  This book is intended only to be a safe and simple introduction to knot tying."

How's that for common sense? :o

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Re: Bull Feathers -- How Bull Flies w/o Hitting the Fan!
« Reply #43 on: August 12, 2009, 12:04:50 AM »
Hi,

Just burning up some Mbs on my cousin's brand new wifi!  We weren't able to get on line as we'd expected to during our stay at Exeter.

Thank you for the post, Barry, I nearly got so carried away that I forgot how much pleasure there was in just doing.  That got rectified on the M6/M5, just learning a couple of "new" (as in, only tried them once before during a really long print run) knots that I can put into my retinue of "good to know when you need them" knots :)

Regards

Glenys
Lesley
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