Category Archives: Techniques

Knots book includes handy knot selector

Bob Holtzman knot book 2

Bob Holtzman’s new book on knots, The Field Guide to Knots, is out now and available from Amazon!

There are already a lot of knot books out there, so what makes this one different?

Bob Holtzman knot book 3

Bob tells me that it’s designed to help readers identify most functional knots they are likely to encounter – which is why he’s called it a ‘field guide’. It also explains how to untie each knot – which we all know can be an issue!

And, finally, it provides a quick way of selecting the most appropriate knot for a job (see above) – rather than forcing the reader to go through lengthy descriptions of dozens of knots to find one that seems right. I think that’s a strong selling point…

Here’s a typical knot tying page:

Bob Holtzman knot book 1


Percy Blandford’s autobiography is on sale now!

Percy Blandford - A Life Full of Hobbies

Publlishing phenomenon and prolific post-war era canoe and boat designer Percy Blandford’s family have had his autobiography published, and it’s now obtainable from them. To obtain a copy, message his grand-daughter at

I think the foreword  (see below) explains it all as well as anyone could… I should add that the grand old fella wrote his autobiography at the age of 95.

Percy Blandford was a man of many talents, interests and achievements. A world-renowned boat designer and builder,
a pioneering Do-It-Yourself expert and the author of countless books and magazine articles on an extraordinarily wide range of technical subjects, he was also a leading figure in the Scouting movement for well over eighty years, an unrivalled long service record for which he was honoured with a unique certificate that had to be created specially for him.

Born in Bristol on October 26th, 1912, Percy was apprenticed to a large local engineering firm before qualifying as a technical teacher and going to work in a school in London.

During the war he was recruited as a technical writer for the RAF, producing manuals for new aircraft. After the war he returned briefly to teaching before launching his career as a small boat designer and all-round technical journalist, making a name for himself in the post-war D-I-Y boom.

In his workshop at home in Newbold-on-Stour he designed and built prototypes of scores of canoes, kayaks, dinghies,
trailer-sailers, yachts, cabin cruisers and – in the sixties – even surfboards! Altogether, he sold more than 78,000 of his D-I-Y boat plans worldwide. They are still available and his boats are still being built today. He himself was a keen canoeist, narrowly failing to qualify as a candidate for the 1948 Olympics, although he was very proud to be appointed a timekeeper and judge for the rowing and canoeing events, staged at Henley.

As well as writing thousands of magazine articles on technical subjects ranging from net-making and ropework to
blacksmithing, knife-making, upholstery and every aspect of woodworking, Percy also published 113 books on an equally broad range of subjects.

For more posts about Percy and his boats, click here.

I’d like to underline the point that his boats are still being built by sharing this shot of one of his PBK canoes launched by Dundee-based canoeist Bill Samson.

Bill Samson pbk canoe

Building Emma and a video diary of building the Fairlie 55

Two contrasting videos: in my mind, the first should be titled ‘Building the beautiful Emma’!

My thanks to reader Keith Johnston for letting me know about these two.