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Animated Knots by Grog - Part 2

by Jeraldine Kennedy on 14 Jul 2011
Fishing Knots - Animated knots by Grog .
By far the most popular way of learning how to tie knots, be it for boating, fishing or climbing, is via the internet where the animation allows you to see and follow every twist and turn.

The website and now iPhone app that leads the way is Animated Knots by Grog. You can click through to those animated knots on our website, as well finding links to the iPhone apps.

Here is part two of our interview with Grog himself: (part one is linked below)

‘When the reference bible of knots, The Ashley Book of Knots, was written there were no synthetic materials. These days there is obviously different technology in rope material and coverings on rope that affect what knots will work and not work.

‘Some of the slide and grip knots, the classic sailing one being the rolling hitch, in modern materials does not grip as well as it did in tarred hemp and cotton. In some modern materials it doesn’t grip at all.

‘I have just had a very interesting email from a guy in New Zealand looking for a science project for his son to do and his question was ‘can I guide him to the science underlying knot tying?’ I thought about it and I said ‘you know I don’t think there is any. Not good science because even if somebody does some research (which they do today) they research on whether some fishing knots break at 100% of line strength or not.

‘The result is all peculiar to that day, that temperature, that bit of line, whether it is immersed in water and so and so on. So to think of a general science thesis … well I would be astonished if there is any such thing.

‘Temperature with synthetic materials is pretty significant. If you run a knot briskly, for example some great big fish is going away from you at 30 knots and pulls the line tight, it gets hotter. Even underwater it heats up.

‘Testing is all done very slowly in a lab. That’s totally different and you can get astounding variations.

‘Someone will claim to you that his version of a Bimini Twist or whatever, always holds up to 100% of the rated strength of the line, and yet other guys will tell you on their testing it broke at 20%. You just can’t get at the conditions to explain it.

‘Obviously it has been trial and error. One knot slips routinely and you don’t get your fish; another one hangs together etc. You can see that as you start reading up about the fishing knots; you can get a very strong impression that others have found out what knot has slipped and what knot didn’t.

‘For all our fishing knots we use large cord and big and large metal hooks because if you were to use fine fishing line you could not see the detail.

‘But the fishing line does not behave the same way. The mono-filament line - it’s very hard to describe but in some of these knots you put a whole lot of spirals into the line. When you pull it tight the spirals transfer from being an outer wrap to being the inner straight line and what was a straight line becomes the outer wrap. It is a fascinating process and you cannot duplicate it in parachute cord. To really demonstrate some of these knots is a challenge.

‘I had the Animated Knots by Grog website up and running in 2001. I was resolved never ever to monetize it. I was never going to take advertisements and I was never going to ask for money. My sons and my wife said ‘do you know you are nuts?’ People were constantly writing asking for a version on a disk. Requests came from scout troops, fire departments, search and rescue teams, and people with slow internet connections.

‘So I asked my sons to help me. We started Grog LLC: my older son David provided programming expertise and son Martin provided graphic design experience.

‘We turned the PHP based website into straight HTML on a disk which would run on Windows or on a Mac. Even before the disk was available we had a lengthy order list. And then, just as we had completed the disk, we started getting requests for a download version. We produced two versions, again one for Macs and another for Windows, both of which are popular. The pleasant surprise is that the disks continue to sell well too.

‘We started selling that for $15USD plus $5USD p&p. After we had done it for about a year the iPhone came out and both my sons jumped on it and said Dad we have got to come up with an App.

‘Initially I thought I could program it myself….. My ‘can do’ attitude. My wife and I listened to the instructional videos from Apple and we drowned. I thought I am too old for this and my wife rapidly said the same.

‘So in 2009 we went back to my programmer son. He produced a draft version and it looked like a fairly life-like simulation of an app. We sent it off to a team he used to work with, because they had begun to program for the iPhone. We spent quite a lot of money on external programming. We did all the assembly of the database, the images, the logic and the text and they just had to do the heavy lifting at the end.

‘The App was finally released in late June 2010. For some days we sold only a few - partly via our own website and partly because friends and relatives felt we needed support.

‘Then we suddenly hit success - Apple featured us as one of their favorites and for July 2010 we were the most profitable and most popular amongst iTunes' paid Reference Apps.

‘Even six months later the App still sold well. The major complaints came from users who felt we should have included a number of other useful knots, and from Android and iPad owners who wanted their own versions.

‘The original photographs were taken on the kitchen table. When the sun shone the photos were bright; when it rained they were dark.

‘During the last three months of 2010 and the first month of 2011 nearly every animation was re-photographed using new technology and more consistent conditions. Also, prompted by requests from website visitors, thirty new animations were added to reach a total of over a hundred.

‘The new material was the basis for the update of this website and for the release of a new version of the App in February 2011. We are currently working on developing versions for other platforms including the iPad and phones based on the Android operating system.’

So on rocks Grog, now 76 years old, and with Animated Knots by Grog a great success, there are more new projects in the pipeline.

But that’s another story...

We are pleased to announce that we have released the Android version of our popular App - Animated Knots by Grog. Read more about it at:

Order it directly at: Animated Knots website

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