“It is the intent of this book,” the authors write, “to demystify and standardize braided rope splicing …We have done our best to avoid illustration shortcuts, so that every step is as clear as it can be; and the supporting text is meant to provide detail and advice where problems are typically encountered, yet stay out of the way when the illustrations can carry the load.”

Splicing is still a skill, they remind the reader, and mastery of this art requires patience, focus, and practice.

Brion Toss is not a newcomer to rigging. He’s written Knots for Boaters (Chapman Nautical Guide), The Complete Rigger’s Apprentice, and a selection of articles for sailing magazines, as well as producing The Master Rigger Video Series. This particular field guide on basic braided splices is one of a series of seven books in the Working Rope series he utilizes in his Brion Toss Yacht Riggers Apprenticeship program.

In this manual, as in the workshops he teaches, Brion combines the traditional art of the sailor with modern tools and technology available today. The spiral-bound handbook is user-friendly, offering a hands-off guide for hands-on tasks. Brion and co-author Margie McDonald provide a comprehensive list of splicing terms, recommend the use of a tool they manufacture called the “splicing wand,” and supply a measurement table indicating multiples of rope diameter.

The value of this manual unquestionably lies in the inclusion of tips, techniques, and shortcuts from professional riggers, along with information on the characteristics of each particular type of rope: durability, flexibility, elasticity, strength, ease of handling. An abundance of clear illustrations are large enough to refer to easily as one works. In the written text accompanying each set of sketches there are step-by-step instructions for splicing conventional ropes, like Dacron and nylon, as well as the new high-modulus lines like Spectra and Vectran.

This book, along with information on the other books in the Working Rope series, is available at http://www.briontoss.com.

Working Rope: Field Guides for Rigging: Basic Braided Splices by Brion Toss and Margie McDonald (2004; 122 pages)