Timber Wolf, Lake Superior, Ontario

A lone timber wolf greets
paddlers along the north shore
of Lake Superior, Canada
(Photo by Michael Neiger)


One knot
in a thread will stay
the needle's passage
as well
as five hundred.
   -- R. Bolton


Pray you,
undo this button...
   -- William Shakespeare


Knots aft
on the port si',
forward on the starboard;
opposite the left eye,
all around and inboard.
[The Rigging
Lanyard Knot]
   Sailor's Work Rhyme


[The two-strand
lanyard knot]
is the knot
sailors use to
ornament the lanyards
they hang
their knives from,
when they
wear them
round their necks.
   -- Caulfield and Saward
   Dictionary of


In the way of knots,
especially for sea use,
there can be
nothing more,
I think, to invent.
   -- Sir Edwin Arnold


With this knott
the bowling bridles
are made fast
to the creengles,
but it is also used
in any other wayes.
   -- Sir Henry Manwayring
   The Sea-mans
, 1644


For a running noose,
this new ketch
is but a fool to him.
   -- Ned Ward
   The Wooden World,


Here I have made
the true lovers knott,
to try it in marriage
was never my lott.
   -- Stephen Blake
   The Compleat
      Gardener's Practice


Dry sun,
and dry winde;
time to reap,
and time to bind
   Old weather adage


Made on the
footropes of jibbooms
in place of
an overhanded knot,
the turk's-head
is much neater--
and considered
by some an ornament.
   -- William Brady
   The Kedge Anchor,


thou mortal wretch,
with thy sharp teeth
this knot intrinsicate...
   -- William Shakespeare
   Antony and Cleopatra


I thought I heard
the old man say,
"Give one more haul,
and then belay!"
   Sea Shanty


To hitch,
is to catch-hold
of anything
with a roape,
to hold it fast.
   -- Sir Henry
   The Sea-mans
, 1644


Instead of tying,
seamen alwayes say,
"make fast!"
   -- Captaine John Smith
   A Sea Grammar,


Hitch your wagon
to a star.
   -- Ralph W. Emerson


With old sailors
it was, and is,
a matter of pride
to be able
to make knots,
the more difficult
and obscure the better.
   -- Albert R. Wetjen
   Fiddlers' Green,


Knotting ought to be reckoned,
in the scale
of insignificance,
next to mere idleness.
   -- Dr. Samuel Johnson's    Dictionary


fastening two ends
of a rope together,
with uncommon slight--
to execute which
requires no ordinary skill;
as I can venture
to say not
one seaman in twenty
can perform it.
   A Naval Repository,


Every finger
a marlingspike,
every hair a rope yarn.
   Sailors' adage


It can be done
in another way,
but it requires
a good and neat
marlingspike sailor
to do it.
   -- William Brady
   The Kedge Anchor,


Make and end
of this discourse
with a knot.
   -- Captain John Smith

The Rucksack Masthead
By Michael A. Neiger (aka: LandNavMan), Marquette, Michigan
Wilderness tripper: backpacking, winter camping, swift-water canoeing
Web site URL: http://therucksack.tripod.com • E-mail: mneiger@hotmail.com
Contents copyright © 1984-2007 by Michael A. Neiger • All rights reserved.


Bush Skills

By Michael A. Neiger
Copyright 2001

Last updated on October 19, 2008

Contents of page

      Knots worth knowing
      Knot links
      Knot books

Looking for
wilderness tripping
equipment and
For 100's of sources for wilderness tripping equipment and supplies, visit the sources for gear page on this Web site.

Need help
finding a book?
Trying to buy a new or used copy of a book, but can't locate one? Want to find a library somewhere in the country that will lend you the book at no cost? Then visit the handy book finder page on this Web site.

a book, catalog,
or Web site.
If you know of a useful outdoor-related book, catalog, or Web site not listed on this Web site, e-mail the book's title, subtitle, author, publisher, date of publication, and short description; or the catalog's address and phone number; or the Web site's URL to Michael Neiger at mneiger@hotmail.com.

** Recommended




Animated Knots

Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue Group--Knots

Knots on the Web
by Peter Suber
   An excellent site. Lots of info on knot tying, knot theory, knot art, knot books, etc.

International Guild of Knot Tyers

Net Knots
   Good knot-tying instructions. Select outdoor knots section.

Ropers Knots Page
   An excellent site. A good place to learn how to tie particular knots and includes an extremely useful Knot Index, a compilation of sites on the Net that illustrate or present info on knots.




American Canoe Association's Knots for Paddlers, by Charlie Walbridge (Menasha Ridge Press, 1995)

Book of Camping Knots--How to Correctly Tie and Use Knots Essential for Every Camper, by Peter Owen (Globe Pequot Press, 1999)

Book of Climbing Knots, Peter Owen (Globe Pequot Press, 2000)

Book of Outdoor Knots, by Peter Owen (Lyons Press, 1993)

Climbing Knots for Lefties and Righties, by Michael S. Noonan (Globe Pequot Press, 1997) This is a very thorough and well-illustrated book.

CMC Rope Rescue, edited by James A. Frank (CMC Rescue, Inc., 1998) This oversized text addresses rope rescue in a number of different wilderness settings.

Confined Space and Structural Rope Rescue, by Michael Roop, Thomas Vines, and Richard Wright (Mosby Year Book, 1998) This oversized text addresses how to conduct rope rescues in challenging situations, particularly confined spaces.

Engineering Practical Rope Rescue Systems, by Michael G. Brown (Delmar, 2000) This oversized text covers all aspects of rope rescue.

How to Climb--Knots for Climbers, by Craig Luebben (Falcon Publishing, Inc., 2000)

Knots and How to Tie Them (Boy Scouts of America, 1978)

Knots and Ropes for Climbers, by Duane Raleigh (Stackpole Books, 1998). An excellent guide to 19 fundamental, climbing-oriented knots. Also includes an excellent discussion of several unsafe knots as well as ways knots can be improperly tied.

Knots for Climbers, by Craig Luebben (Globe Pequot Press, 2001)

Knots for Hikers and Backpackers, by Fran Logue and Victoria Logue (Menasha Ridge Press, Inc., 1997)

Knots for Mountaineering, by Phil D. Smith (1959)

Knots for Paddlers, by Charlie Walbridge and Grant Tatum (Menasha Ridge Press, Inc., 1994

** Knots for the Outdoors, by Cliff Jacobson (ICS Books, Inc., 1999)

Knots--More Than 50 of the Most Useful Knots for Camping, Sailing, Fishing, and Climbing, by Peter Owen (Book Sales, Inc., 2000)

L.L. Bean Outdoor Knots Handbook, by Peter Owen (Globe Pequot Press, 1999)

** Morrow Guide to Knots, by Mario Bigon and Guido Regazzoni (Quill, 1981). An excellent knot book with step-by-step color photos of 70 knots.

On Rope--North American Vertical Rope Techniques, 2nd edition, by Bruce Smith and Allen Padgett (National Speleological Society, 1996) This very-detailed, oversize text covers the rope skills needed descending and ascending vertically in wilderness situations such as caving, rope rescue, climbing, river rescue, etc.

** Outdoor Knots, by Cliff Jacobson (Globe Pequot Press, 1999)

Ropes, Knots, and Slings for Climbers, revised edition, by Walt Wheelock (La Siesta Press, 1991)

Scouter's Guide to Knots--The Original Field Edition, by James R. Sisson, 2000)

Swiftwater Rescue--A Manual for the Rescue Professional, by Slim Ray (CFS Press, 1997). This excellent book takes a detailed look at how to conduct rescues in situations involving swift rivers and floods.




Advanced Ropeworking, by Leonard Popple (Brown, Son, & Ferguson, 1959)

Alternative Knot Book, by Harry Asher (Sheridan House, Inc., 1989)

ARCO Book of Useful Knots, by John Russell (Hungry Minds, Inc., 1981)

Art of Knots, by M.P.G. Berthier (1977)

** Ashley Book of Knots, by Clifford W. Ashley, revised by the International Guild of Knot Tiers (McGraw-Hill, 1990). A superb, oversize, 620-page tome with 7000 drawings depicting over 3900 knots--a definitive work. "If you can only buy one knotting book, buy Ashley's...unrivaled for scope and utility...," writes Peter Suber on his Web site, Knots on the Web.

Basic Knots--How to Tie Ten Basic Knots (Globe Pequot Press, 2001)

Book of Decorative Knots--Complete Instructions for Over 60 Functional and Beautiful Knots for Home, Camp, and More, by Peter Owen (Lyons Press, 1996)

Book of Knots and Ropework--Practical and Decorative, by Eric C. Fry (Crown, 1983)

Challenging Knots, by Geoffrey Budworth (Anness Publishing, Inc., 2000)

Complete Book of Decorative Knots, by Geoffrey Budworth (Globe Pequot Press, 1998)

Complete Book of Knots and Ropework, by Eric C. Fry (David & Charles Publishers, 1996)

** Complete Book of Knots, by Geoffrey Budworth (Barnes and Noble Books, 1999)

Complete Guide to Knots and How to Tie Them, by Walter B. Gibson (Lifetime Books, Inc., 1997)

Complete Guide to Knots and Knot Tying, by Geoffrey Budworth (Sebastian Kelly, 2001)

Encyclopedia of Knots and Fancy Rope Work, by Raoul Graumont and John Hensel (Cornell Maritime Press, 1971). This oversize, 628-page tome is truly an encyclopedic work.

Essential Knot Book, by Colling Jarman (McGraw-Hill Professional Book Group, 2000)

Essential Knots and Basic Ropework, by Geoffrey Budworth (Anness Publishing, Inc., 2000)

Fell's Official Know-it-All Guide Knots, by Walter B. Gibson (Frederick Fell Publishers, 2000)

Fell's Knots, by Walter B. Gibson (Fell, Frederick Publishers, Inc., 2000)

Fell's Official Guide to Knots and How to Tie Them, by Walter B. Gibson (Fell, Frederick Publishers, Inc., 1991)

Fifty Practical and Decorative Knots You Should Know, by Percy W. Blandford (McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing, 1988)

Forget Me Knots, by Karl E. Rohnke (Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 1994)

Fresh Approach to Knotting and Ropework--Knots Arranged According to Their Structure, by Charles Warner (Charles Warner, 1992)

Great Knots and How to Tie Them, by Derrick Lewis (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1999)

Hamlyn Book of Knots, by Geoffrey Budworth (Hamlyn, 2000)

Handbook of Knots and Splices, by Charles Gibson (Barnes and Noble Books, 1996)

** Handbook of Knots, by Des Pawson (Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 1998). This excellent, well-illustrated book covers over 100 knots.

Harrison Book of Knots, by P. P. Harrison (State Mutual Book and Periodical Service, 1987)

History and Science of Knots--Vol. 11, by J.C. Turner and P. Van De Griend, editors (World Scientific Publishing Co., Inc., 2000)

Identifying Knots--The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier, by Peter Owen (Book Sales, Inc., 1996)

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Knots, by Geoffrey Budworth (Globe Pequot Press, 2000)

Introduction to Knots, by E. T. Davis (State Mutual Book and Periodical Service, 1987)

Klutz Book of Knots--How to Tie the World's 25 Most Useful Hitches, Ties, Wraps, and Knots, by John Cassidy (Klutz Press, 1985)

Knot Book, by Geoffrey Budworth (Sterling Publishing Co., 1985). Very comprehensive book.

Knot Handbook, by Maria Constantino (Sterling Publishing Co., 2001)

Knot Throwing--There Are No Square Knots, Only Square People Tying Really Cool Knots, by Bill Fry (Canmore Press, 1998)

Knotcraft--The Practical and Entertaining Art of Tying Knots, by Alan A. MacFarlan (Dover Publications, Inc., 1983). Good section on history of knots.

Knots (Creative Publishing International, 2000)

Knots and Applications, by L. H. Kauffman (World Scientific Publishing Co., 1995)

Knots and How to Tie Them, by Walter B. Gibson (Wings Books, 1996). Very good guide to 75 knots.

Knots and Lines Illustrated, by Paul Snyder and Arthur Snyder (McGraw-Hill Cos., 1987)

Knots and Netting, by Irene Waller

Knots and Rope, by Fremont Davis

Knots and Ropework, by Eric C. Fry and Peter Wilson (ARCO Pub., Co., 1977)

Knots and Ropework, by Nola Trower (Crowood Press, Ltd., 1996)

Knots and Splices, by Cyrus L. Day (McGraw-Hill Professional Book Group, 1990)

Knots and Splices, by Jeff Toghill (New Holland Books, 1999)

Knots and Splices, by Percy W. Blanford

Knots and Splices, by Steve Judkins and Tim Davison (Sheridan House, Inc., 1998)

Knots and Their Uses, by Robert Thompson (Tubbs Cordage Co.)

Knots Around the Home--A Practical Guide for Practical People, by Bill Newman and Tami Knight (Menasha Ridge Press, Inc., 1997)

Knots in Use, by Colin Jarman (Adlard Coles Nautical, 2000)

Knots that Everyone Should Know, by Robert Thompson (Great Western Cordage Co.)

Knots, by Brion Toss (Hearst Books, 2001)

Knots, by Peter Owen (Courage Books, 1993)

Knots, by Trevor Boundford (Harper Collins UK, 2001)

Knots, by Walter Gibson (F. Fell, 2000)

Knots, Splices, and Ropework, by Alpheus H.Verrill

Knots, Ties, and Splices, by J.T. Burgess (George Routledge & Sons, 1977)

Knots--A Step-by-Step Guide to Tying Loops, Hitches, Bends, and Dozens of Other Useful Knots, by Kenneth S. Burton, Jr. (DIANE Publishing Co., 2000)

Knots--Useful and Ornamental, by George R. Shaw (Random House Value Publishing, Inc., 1984)

Knotting with Modern Rope--Over 75 Knots You Should Know, by Percy W. Blanford (Brown, Son, and Ferguson, 1995)

Lots of Knots, by Ian Boyd (Troll Communications L.L.C., 1996)

Mastering the Art of Knots and Splices, by Robert Thompson (New Bedford Cordage Co.)

New Encyclopedia of Knots, by Derek E. Avery (Brockhampton, 2001)

Practical Guide to Knots--Selecting and Tying the Right Knot for Every Situation, by Colin Jarmin (Apple, 2001)

Practical Knots and Ropework, by P.W. Blanford (1980)

Rope Knowledge for Riggers, by Robert Thompson (Columbia Rope Co.)

Rope Roundup--The Lore and Craft of Rope and Roping, by Bill Severn (David McKay Co., 1960. This is an excellent book that is interesting and fun to read as it covers the history of ropes, rope making, knots, and by whom and how ropes have been used.

Shell Combined Book of Knots and Ropework--Practical and Decorative, by Eric C. Fry (David and Charles, 1981)

Simple Knots and Basic Ropework, by Geoffrey Budworth (Southwater, 2000)

Simple Knots for a Lifetime, by Eric Bagai (Foreworks, 1998)

Spur Book of Knots, by T. Brown and R. Hunter (1978)

Stage Rigging Handbook, 2nd edition, by Jay O. Glerum (Southern Illinois University Press, 1997). A definitive work on the use of knots, ropework, and hardware for theatrical stage rigging.

Top Knots--100 Dependable Knots, How to Tie Them, and How to Use Them, by Collin Jarmin (T. Allen, 2000)

Tough and Versatile Knots--78 Key Knots Made Easy in Step-by-Step Photographs, by Geoffrey Budworth (Southwater, 2000)

Tying Knots, by Victor Terry (Masquerade Books, 1998)

Ultimate Encyclopedia of Knots and Ropework, by Geoffrey Budworth (Hermes House/Anness Pub., 1999). An excellent, coffee-table-quality knot book with superb color photographs.

Useful Knots for Everyone, by Edward Montgomery (Scribner, 1973). Covers basic, non-technical knots for everyday use.

Wyoming Ropecraft Manual, by James M. Nichols (University of Wyoming, 1973)




Art of Knotting and Splicing, 4th edition, by Cyrus L. Day (Naval Institute Press, 1986). An excellent, detailed guide to knots and splicing. This jumbo-sized knot book is full of useful tips and tricks.

Art of Rigging, by George Biddlecombe (Dover Publications, 1990)

Book of Practical Knots, by Geoffrey Budworth (Adlard Coles Nautical, 2000)

Book of Sailing Knots, by Peter Owen (Globe Pequot Press, 1999)

Chapman's Nautical Guides: Knots, by Brion Toss (Hearst Marine Books, 1998). An excellent book covering boating-related knots.

Complete Book of Sailing Knots, by Geoffrey Budworth (Globe Pequot Press, 2000)

Complete Rigger's Apprentice, by Brion Toss (International Marine, 1998). "One of the few must-have books," writes Peter Suber in his Web site, Knots on the Web.

Creative Ropecraft, by Stewart E. Grainger (Barnacle Marine, 1991)

Handbook of Knots, by Raoul Graumont (Cornell Maritime Press, Inc., 1971)

Handbook of Seaman's Ropework, by Sam Svensson (Dodd, Mead & Co., 1971)

Handling Ropes and Lines Afloat, by Paul Snyder and Arthur Snyder (Nautical, 1989)

How to Make Knots, Bends, and Splices as Used at Sea, by Tyrrel E. Biddle (Nome and Wilson)

Introduction to Knots, Bends, Hitches--Marlinespike, (United States Power Squadrons)

Island Cruising Club Book of Ropework for Yachtsmen, by Robert Dean (Trafalgar Square, 1987)

Knotcraft--The Art of Knot-Tying Afloat and Ashore, by Allan MacFarlan and Paulette MacFarlan (Association Press, 1967)

Knots, Ties, and Splicers--A Handbook for Seafarers, Travellers, and All Who Use Cordage, by John Irving and C. Searl (Routledge, 1978)

Knots--A Champman Nautical Guide, by Brion Toss (Hearst Books, 2001)

Knowing the Ropes--A Sailor's Guide to Selecting, Rigging, and Handling Lines Aboard, 2nd edition, by Roger C. Taylor (International Marine Publishing Co., 1993)

Modern Marlinespike Seamanship--Knots, Splices, Cordage, Terminals, and Rigging, by William P. MacLean (Macmillan Publishing Co., 1979)

Modern Rope Seamanship--Synthetic and Natural Fibers, by Colin Jarman and Bill Beavis (International Marine Pub. Co., 1976)

Nautical Knots and Lines Illustrated--The Essentials of Smart Line Handling, Knotting, and Splicing, in Color, by Paul Snyder and Arthur Snyder (Aldard Coles Nautical, 1998)

Sailing Knots, by Jaun Altimiras (ACRO Publishing, 1984). A practical, colored guide to 50 essential knots.

Sailors' Knots, by Cyrus L. Day (Dodd, Mead & Co.)




Complete Book of Fishing Knots and Rigs, by Geoff Wilson (Frank Amato Publications, 1998)

Complete Book of Fishing Knots, by Geoffrey Budworth (Globe Pequot Press, 1999)

Fisherman's Knots and Nets, by Raoul Graumont and Elmer Wenstrom (Cornell Maritime Press, Inc., 1977)

Fisherman's Knots and Wrinkles, by William A. Hunter (A. & C. Black, 1956)

Fishing Knots Handbook, by Peter Owen (Globe Pequot Press, 1999)

Geoff Wilson's Waterproof Book of Knots--Basic Fishing, by Geoff Wilson (Frank Amoto Publications, 1999)

Practical Fishing and Boating Knots, by L. Kreh and M. Sosin (1976)


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In God's wilderness lies the hope of the world,
the great, fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.
— John Muir 1838-1914, Alaska Wilderness, 1890

Content Copyright © by Michael A. Neiger
All rights reserved.
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