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Audlem Mill Limited

The Wharf


Cheshire   CW3 0DX

T: 01270 811059

F: 07006 022604



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Audlem village

Audlem Mill Limited

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Knots for the Cut is aimed at narrowboaters and cruiser owners the length and breadth of Britain’s unique canal system, and other perfectionists. There are over 30,000 boats on Britain’s inland waterways. Most owners soon bond with their vessel and take a pride in doing things correctly, with historical authenticity and accuracy.

They take the time and care to cheese down – coil a rope in a tight circle on the roof – and would be ashamed to leave it in a wet tangle that could actually cost them their lives in an emergency. Likewise, they like their moorings and their knots to be reliable, elegant and accurate. Knot tying is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

And now, in simple straightforward language, with superbly clear original drawings by Helen Gee, Ben Selfe takes us through the basics of rope maintenance and how to moor your vessel. He introduces the idea of making your own bottle fenders and includes some fancy ropework such as a safety ladder, cabin strings, and keyrings utilising the Star Knot.

For the more ambitious, there are detailed instructions and useful tips on how to make cores for such fenders as Buttons, Dwarf’s Trousers and Tipcats, and how to cover them. “It’s only blanket stitch,” says Ben encouragingly. “You can soon learn how to do it.”

Of the many satisfied customers who have bought his fenders, most will be aware that the sacrificial Turk’s Head was almost Ben’s trademark. He shows how to make Turk’s Heads for tillers and tables, ocean-plait mats for the floor and all the knots you’ll need to achieve them.

Knots for the Cut is filled with Ben’s knot-tying knowledge and expertise, conveyed in a friendly, easy-to-follow style. It has the authority and accessibility of a car manual and is destined to become a classic of the waterways.

About the author

Born the son of a sailor who was a sail-maker in both the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy, Ben Selfe grew up with ropes, probably from his pram. He had his first sea-going boat at the age of nine, and barely set foot on dry land since.

He was a local landmark and tourist attraction in the Saul Junction area near Stroud, not just as a fender maker, but also as a raconteur extraordinaire, an historian, an author, and was a devoted member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers.

Ben, who died in late summer 2014, was keen to commit his knowledge and expertise to paper, concerned that the old skills and traditions should carry on and be remembered.

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Knots for the Cut

Ben Selfe

Written especially for canal boaters. Illustrated with diagrams, pictures and full instructions for knots, fenders, turk’s heads etc.

Coil bound