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design in rope
Tenderfoot knot board


Each display is very much a bespoke creation (for example this knot board was produced as a gift for a retiring scoutmaster) and we welcome liaison on the various choices of knots, layout and frame.

We work with the historically authentic natural fibre cords - hemp and cotton - these being hard laid (tightly twisted) which produce a firm and neat knot configuration. We whip each cord end to prevent unraveling as opposed to the modern habit of taping or melting a cut end.

Workshops knot board

Instructional Knot Boards

Knot boards were originally instructional pieces found in rigging lofts and not necessarily framed. We feature a similar display of some of James' pet knots in our Knotting workshops, mounted on canvas in his box of tricks.

Later on knot boards began to appear in more formal settings such as naval and commercial shipping offices, often the work of retired mariners.

Custom made Knot Boards

These images show some of our knot boards made as special orders. Each knot board was custom built with choices of rope, frame, backing and knots.

Ropemaker Knot board Ropemaker Knot board
octagonal knotboard
Square knot board
Knot board

Practical Knots

Most practical rope use requires a working knowledge of maybe four or five knots, a few more for a sailor and it is from this occupation that the majority of decorative rope work has been collected and compiled in print.

Much kudos and respect was due to the experienced sailor who had spent their spare time on long voyages practising their skill to create fancy pieces of knot work.

The frontispiece of the seminal tome on the subject - The Ashley Book of Knots - features the following quotation from Neil Ward's 'The Wooden World' : "He'll allow his superiors on board to be tolerably good Navigators etc! But Alas! they want the Main Point; for show me the Gentleman cries he, that can knot or splice?"

Thief & reef knot Sheepshank knot Tarbuck knot Rigger's bend knot

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