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Knot Tying Resources in Praise of the Humble Knot

By Bryan Black

Knot Tying Resources in Praise of the Humble Knot

If you’ve been reading ITS for awhile, it will come as no surprise that we’re advocates for learning the skill of Knot Tying. In this article, I’d like to highlight some great resources for learning more about Knot Tying through books, videos and of course through our own archive of ITS Knot of the Week articles.

First off, I’d like to present a phenomenal video from the New York Times Style Magazine interviewing Master Knot Expert Des Paulson of Ipswich, England.

Something which really stuck with me from this video, is that Paulson points out “a Nuclear Submarine still requires rope and knots to tie it up when it comes in to dock.” Think about that for a second and you might agree that society as a whole is largely dependent on knots and rope. Even in this digital world we’re living in, it still makes sense to learn about rope and knot tying.

Ocean Plait Mat Knot of the Week

I like to say that many of the skills we advocate here at ITS are those that are forgotten or not as sexy as other skills you can learn. Take shooting for example. I fully endorse and practice shooting proficiency myself, but I also recognize that I’m far more likely to need to tie a knot to secure something, than I am to draw a firearm in defense. Not to take anything away from shooting, I very much enjoy it and feel its practice to be therapeutic.

My point in the comparison is that when you look at practical skills as a whole, or the bigger picture if you will, there’s plenty of things we take for granted on a daily basis. Building a fire is just another example of one of these skills that not enough people take the time to learn, but I digress.

Knot Tying Books

Knot Tying Resources in Praise of the Humble Knot

A few of my favorite knot tying books are reflected in the list below. These are my go-to sources when I need information for tying a knot; there’s just something about picking up a book to me that just feels right when it comes to knots. However, as you’ll see below, I appreciate good video instruction due to being a visual learner. This being said, if I do pick up a book, it has to have pictures or diagrams like the books below feature.


Here’s a few YouTube channels I really like and that I try to keep up with. As mentioned above, I’m a visual learner and this is the main reason I’ve tried to create ITS videos to go along with our Knot of the Week articles. There’s just something about seeing a knot being tied that can’t be replicated with photos.

  • TyingItAllTogether – JD Lenzen is one of the most talented guys out there and his channel is definitely worth a visit to check out his Fusion Knots.
  • Stormdrane – David Hopper has run his Stormdrane channel for an extremely long time and is another artist I admire and respect.
  • ITS Knot of the Week – Here’s a link to all our Knot of the Week videos on YouTube.

KOTW Samurai Dragonfly Knot

In addition to our ITS Knot of the Week videos, we have many accompanying articles with detailed photos and instructions that you can reference as well. Here’s a direct link to those.


The skill of tying knots isn’t glamorous, but it’s certainly one I use on a regular basis, more so than any other tool in my tool box. To quote the earlier video above from Des Paulson, “It was knots and rope that made us civilized and we still need knots to make us civilized today.

Get out there and practice and take the time to share your knowledge with those around you. We’d all be better off if more people knew how to tie a few basic knots and didn’t live by the adage of “if you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot.

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  • Terry Hagan

    That’s knotty….. U0001f479

  • Stacy Little

    My Grandaddy taught me how to tie knots and to plat leather, these two books are very informative as well. The one on the right helped me when I was making rawhide knife sheaths a lot.

  • Stacy Little

    Here are a few where I laced t he edges of the sheaths using some of the techniques shown in the book.

  • Noah Dillard

    I love my copy of Ashley. Wasnt cheap though.

  • bullitt4686

    The COB of the sub I was on back in the day used to say “If you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot!”  I think of that often when I tie an actual knot.  He sure was a crusty ba$tard!

  • Mike_Adams

    “A knot is either exactly right or it is hopelessly wrong. Make only one change and either an entirely different knot is made or no knot may result.” – Clifford Ashley

    When you rely on rope and rigging as your life safety equipment, that should be your mantra.

  • Brushpopper

    Posted these books on Facebook yesterday, but thought I’d post them here as well for everyone to see in case they wanted to look them up.

  • Jason M Graham

    Brian Wenner, consider this a tribute to people of the knot.

  • I’ve found this website to be a fantastic resource. – really awesome views of how to tie a whole range of knots, step by step and reverse instructions. It’s made a huge shift in my knot tying abilities. 

    They also have an iOS app that’s pretty great (I honestly haven’t been to the website in months because I use the app more often than not.)

    ***I want to mention that I am in no way affiliated with the above website, just a very fond knot monkey.

  • Sue Hitchcock

    Looks interesting for jewelry.

  • Bill

    The best practical book I’ve seen is The Outdoor Knots Book by Clyde Soles, published by The Mountaineers. Ashley is indeed a massive collection but it doesn’t tell you why or why not to use a knot and it lists a lot of useless ones. OKB does a better job of presenting just the ones you need and how to tie them, plus a lot of info on types of ropes and webbing.

  • Pete

    They’re all great resources. One slight correction though: that’s Des Pawson, not Paulson. He’s a great guy with a vast knowledge of knots and knotting.

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