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The KNOTSMITH Library    
A Few Books on Braiding, Knots, Birddogs, and Wingshooting.


I have found the following books entertaining and or useful, and I recommend them to you. I have provided a very efficient and cost effective way for you to order them, a link to Amazon.com. Happy reading, braiding, and hunting!

The Tattered Autumn Sky: Bird Hunting in the Heartland,
Tom Davis, 2004. 
Tom's writing style entertains and communicates his love for dogs and bird hunting in a real and very personal way that resonates with those who also love bird dogs and share his compulsion for bird hunting.  Tom writes about his dogs and about bird hunting the way it is becoming today, here in the real world. Click on the picture and buy a copy for yourself and a couple for your friends!  This and other books by Tom are also available through Collectors Covey.
Read Tom's columns and feature articles in Sporting Classics
Shooting Sportsman, and Pointing Dog Journal.

WINGSHOOTING: More Birds in Your Bag,
Peter F. Blakeley, 2012.

Pete uses  his revolutionary unit lead system to illustrate and emphasize how to apply a specific lead to a specific target.  This provides a  new and more effective approach to shooting quail, doves, pheasants, ducks, and geese. Be sure to read and digest chapter 8.  It works!  Buy the book directly from Pete or from Amazon.

Luis Ortega's Rawhide Artistry: Braiding in the California Tradition (The Western Legacies Series), Chuck Stormes, Don Reeves, 2010.
An acclaimed rawhide braider of horse gear, Luis Ortega elevated his craft to collectible art and influenced a generation of gear makers. This book is the most comprehensive overview of his life, art, and career and the first book-length work on rawhide braiding in North America, charting changes in horse gear over five decades.
Leather Braiding, Bruce Grant, 1950
"Dedicated to my mother who was thoughtful enough to see that I was born in Texas."
Amen! A good starting place. After briefly discussing the romance of leather braiding, braiding tools and general techniques, Grant presents the basics: flat braids, round braids, buttons, edge lacing, buckle coverings, Spanish ring knots and Turk's heads, and braided appliqués. This book shows the elements of lanyard making: 4X, 6X, and 8X round braids, and herringbone and pineapple knots. Clear instructions and illustrations make using this book effective and efficient. This is a good "techniques" book.

How to make Cowboy Horse Gear, Bruce Grant, 1953
In his second book on braiding, Grant concentrated on rawhide: the romance of rawhide and making and working rawhide. True to the title, Grant shows how to use braiding and braided knots to make horse gear: bosals, hackamores, bridle headstalls, reins, quirts, riding crops, reatas, hobbles, and decorations for other gear. There is a bonus section, "How to make a Western Saddle", by Lee M. Rice. This is a good "applications" book.

Encyclopedia of Rawhide and Leather Braiding, Bruce Grant, 1972
This definitive, authoritative book on rawhide and leather braiding includes most of the first two books and adds an equal volume by expanding the treatment of every category and adding new topics. The expanded section on braided knots is particularly useful in making lanyards. No braiding library is complete without this book. Get it while it is still in print! 

Chapman Knots for Boaters, Brion Toss, 2009
A  collection of knots and splices useful in various projects other than boating.  For example, using 3-ply nylon rope and appropriate hardware and  the eye and shackle splices clearly described in this book, one can easily make better dog leads for field use than one can buy.
The Ashley Book of Knots, Clifford W. Ashley, 1944
True to his heritage of New England sailing and maritime culture, Ashley presents an exhaustive reference book on knots and braiding using cord and rope rather than the leather and rawhide from the vaquero and gaucho cultures reflected in Grant's books. Among the useful items in this reference are basic knots, binding knots, whipping, a section on flat and round sinnets (braids), and a section on Turk's heads listing all possible knots up to 24X40.
This is a valuable general reference book on knots, but for learning to braid and tie braided knots using leather and or rawhide lace, it does not provide instruction as well as the Grant books above do.

Encyclopedia of Knots and Fancy Rope Work, 4th ed.,
Raoul Graumont & John Hensel 1952 (originally 1939)
This book is truly encyclopedic. Like Ashley, these seamen work with cord and rope, their illustrations are clearer, and they include more projects and applications than Ashley. The fancy rope work is impressive. There is a good section on Turk's heads, and the eye splices and shackle splices are useful for making leashes and traffic leads for dogs from nylon rope, but very little is applicable to working with leather or rawhide lace.


For other books and videos on leather braiding, dogs and upland bird hunting:

For a wealth of books presenting outdoor writing and photography see Collectors Covey:

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