Author Topic: "Over 4,000 Knots" --or Not : ABoK count  (Read 1304 times)


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"Over 4,000 Knots" --or Not : ABoK count
« on: October 22, 2021, 10:45:38 PM »
For a long time, it has bothered me to see the
Ashley Book of Knots --our "knot tyers' bible"--
asserted to contain somewhere around 3,800 or
more knots, when it obviously has far fewer,
as one would hope even a casual reviewer would
suspect.  And yet the assertion persists, carried
on the book's various covers (fascinating to see
the several of these shown in Des Pawson's KM#138
article!), and echoed in other places, forEVER.

I registered a protest at km141:11 for getting a decent
idea on "How many knots ...?".  And with some
trepidation, I set out to find a rough count, myself.
As the parroted counts (!) are clearly based on ABoK's
>>image #s<<, I guessed then that the count was more
nearly a third;many knots are shown repeatedly, and many
images are not of knots.  A glance into the Index should
reveal that there is much repetition of knots, as e.g. for
"bowline" there are 9 cited pages (6 with images; another
6 pages missed), and for "clove" hitch varieties there are
33 citations (21 with images; and another 4 missed pages).
And by "knots", I mean the finished, definite entity --not
counting a variety of methods to achieve it (not at all to
dismiss importance of tying methods, but they are not
a matter for this counting).

My so far conclusion?  Pretty much right at 50% (a handy
portion to remember, being both of included/excluded!);
I count 3,858 image numbers (3,854 plus some "1/2" #s),
and 1,932 distinct "knots".

For practical knotters, the count is vastly fewer.
There are probably more reductions to be made amongst
button & lanyard knots, and plats & sinnets & coverings?
Argh, my eyes runneth cross-eyed.

As expected, Chapters such as 2, Occupational knots,
and 40 & 41, on marlinespike seamanship, repeat knots
that are presented in the knots-by-function chapters.
And of these latter, hitches e.g. get repeated in chapters
from ring- to spar- to pile-hitched objects.

Yes, I counted sennits & matts, but frankly these things
seem dubious as "knots".  And I considered as unique each
of two loadings of a particular structure --e.g., a clove hitch
termination & a crossing knot : that's 2 knots, per me.  I think
that I was fairly generous.  I might sometime try to put out
a different display of counts as per-chapter/function --e.g.,
to count how many hitches, which will take the main chapters
and some others and combining tallies.  But, I'm not now in
any hurry to return to squinty-eyed reviewing!



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Re: "Over 4,000 Knots" --or Not : ABoK count
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2021, 09:04:00 PM »
I will briefly protest that decorative knots are still knots.  I'll help you split the hairs on sennits, though.  Some braids (eg. pigtail 3 strand braid) with no interlocking move (eg. crown sennit) are counted as knots and there's a case to be made that they are not proper knots (until you join up a few ends and end up with THKs).   ;)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2021, 09:04:35 PM by KnotMe »