Here you will find books to help you learn specific skills in a variety of skilled crafts.

These books have been carefully chosen. I have read at least a good chunk of each and every one of them, in an effort to identify the best books on any given topic. However, I am not an expert in these fields, and if you believe I have not chosen well and would like to make a recommendation, please don’t hesitate to contact me and let me know.

All of the books are for sale, except where otherwise noted.

Wherever possible, I get the books directly from the publisher — but this is not always possible, for a variety of reasons. Just know that it’s important to me to support the good work of authors and publishers. If you have any questions about any of the books, please contact me.

The Catalog is always growing, so check back often.


Creative Ropecraft, 4th Ed.

ISBN: 9781574092486 Softcover. 124 pp., B&W illus. Pub. 2000 by Sheridan House. Free shipping


by Stuart E. Grainger

Knot-tying is a skilled craft that I am actively learning, and this book is awesome for its simplicity, clarity and attention to fundamental principles. The fact that it has been in print since 1975 should tell you something about its quality.

It is an authoritative introduction to creative ropework, meaning the skill of knot-tying that is of nautical origin.  Although not comprehensive in the scope of knots presented, it is extremely thorough in its explanation of principles, and in its instruction in tying about 150 of the most common decorative and useful knots. The hand-drawn instructional illustrations are top-notch and easy to follow.

Note that this is the 4th edition, produced by Sheridan House, which I think is the best. There is a later reprint, produced by Globe Pequot, but there is no new material in it (except for an introduction, not by the author) and it is quite a bit more expensive. So, I prefer this edition.


Smart Lotionmaking

ISBN: 9781620355138 Softcover, 148 pp., B&W illustrations. Pub. 2016 by Shepard Publications (an author collective) Free shipping.


by Anne L. Watson

This is an extremely clear, well-researched and well-written instructional manual on making hand and body lotions at home, or for sale on a small scale.  It covers both the fundamental principles of making lotion, as well as several recipes and principles for designing your own lotions. The book does not contain fancy color photos (or any photos for that matter) but honestly, they would be superfluous and would only make the book more expensive.  I have made lotions using this book, and I can tell you that it simply and effectively enables you to understand how to make great hand and body lotions.

As a side note, Anne L. Watson has written a number of books on similar topics, which I have not yet had a chance to review. She is also a retired historic preservation architectural consultant, which I think is pretty cool.

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