Fair Woodworking

April 23, 2014

Do your handles hang low?

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Skill development — fairwoodworking @ 2:21 pm

Do They Wobble to and Fro?
Can You Tie Them in a Knot?
Can You Tie Them in a Bow?

Do your handles…  hang…  low………?

Sing it along with me now!

You know there has been a lot of talk lately about the future of woodworking. Some say it’s going to die, others say it’s alive, well, and coming on strong. Personally, seeing a generation of children that don’t know what a pencil is for, know their moms iPod inside out, and yet aren’t smart enough to get past a child safe cabinet door, gives me little hope that they will ever be capable of any hobby beyond the world of Warcraft. Say what you want, but once technology no longer requires the use of your hands to operate , kids will look at you strange when you ask if they are right or left handed.

Forget woodworking. The future of fine motor skills in general are in jeopardy.

But anyways this post isn’t about woodworking, not really. It’s about handles, and a different ancient craft that few can argue is really and truly, a lost and dying art.

I am a knot tying idiot. I’ve learned to tie many cool knots, but if I don’t tie them all daily I forget them as quickly as I learned them. What I have managed to develop is some very rudimentary knot creating skills, and with that I managed to make what I think are some pretty sweet handles for a current project I’ve been working on.


I really like rope handles. They are custom fit, super comfy, and they don’t rattle when they are hanging freely.


Knot tying is super cool when done well, and the history behind knots is pretty cool too. One of my favorite books is considered by some as the knot tying bible.


The Ashley Book of Knots , shown here perched comfortably on some fine Swedish furniture, is a rather expensive guide to knot tying. The thing is, it is also an exhaustive resource to the history of how and why each knot was used. I really do wish every woodworker could somehow incorporate more of this book into their projects.



  1. Hi Chris,

    I’ve been looking for, and not finding, suitable drawer pulls for a bureau rehab. Knotted handles might be the answer. A $72 book on how to tie them is not. What is the name of the knot shown in your pictures? (There’s a lot of k/nots in this reply…. sorry)

    Comment by Jim Abbruzzese — April 23, 2014 @ 2:40 pm

    • Ya I know! Where in the world did I come up with that kind of cash for a book of knots? I’m glad I did though.
      I believe that handle is commonly referred to as the Fair de La Woodworking #3. I pretty much made it up while watching TV. There may be a real knot with a real name that is similar and/or better. I’m sure there is, but I don’t know it off hand.

      Comment by fairwoodworking — April 23, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

  2. Damn you! This blog post just cost me £34 as I had to buy my own copy of The Ashley Book of Knots.

    Comment by Alex Jeffries — April 23, 2014 @ 3:00 pm

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