Eric Johns has now retired from the business and has passed this site on to me as well as his personal tools & the last fender he made, I would like to thank Eric for his frienship and time over the last few years and wish him all the best of luck in his new adventures. I will be updating this website over the the next few weeks and will leave Erics amazing canal story on the site as well as updating it as Eric moves on to new adventures. I am a time served fendermaker who takes great pride in my work and hope you will continue to use this site for all your marine fender and rope needs. Phil English
- Keep them dry before fitting or they won’t bend into shape.
- You can gently tap them in to shape with your lump hammer after attaching them.
- Look at some of the other boats it’s simple. The less chain links & shackles etc. the better. Simple is neat, the back button should be 1″ higher than the tipcats.
Barlow Button Rope Fender
The name Barlow Button comes from Samuel Barlow’s coal boats that mainly worked coal from Coventry during the later years of the working boat days.
It has a very appealing and distinct style of hitching compared to other fender methodology. This fender takes time and skill to make.
Currently available in Manila rope, I certainly feel my fingers have worked hard by the time I have finish one (almost a whole day’s work).
Working on a U Fender
The name comes from the U shape and Alf Langford (See the history page) developed this fender in the 1970’s. Alf was the first Canal Fender Maker to make a special button that had legs on the back that would fit the bow of modern non working narrow-boats. It is clever because it will easily bend to fit any shape bow. I developed the best way to half hitch over the rope core for him and straight away we sold many of them. Nowadays, they are a very common bow fender on the canals.
Working on a Tipcat Fender
This name comes from a game which consists of tapping a short billet of wood. The Tipcat Fender is mainly used on the stern of Narrow boats to protect the rudder. They were often made by boatmen on wooden barrels, made straight and then hammered into the shape around the stern of the boat. Nowadays, I make them ready curved so boaters can fit them more easily. The method of neatly half hitching the jacket over the rope core took me years to develop. Another Fender maker told me he had bought one from me and then taken it apart to discover my method!