Most people these days presume that rope fenders are made by a machine churning them out quicker than you can blink an eye, the reality is fenders are still made by hand and no machinery is involved in the process of construction. The tools are basic hand tools a fid, a spike, a pair of scissors and a pair of pliers.
I taught myself the craft by studying old books on ropecraft, ropework and the arts of the mariners. Learning from my mistakes and asking advice from makers in the trade I honed my skills over time to become a real craftsman.
I started making and selling fenders from my narrowboat and after a year was then lucky enough to be taken on by Tradline Rope & Fenders of Braunston, where I really got a chance to build fenders everyday and perfect my skills over a further 2 year period.
After much agonizing I left Tradline to go back to working from my boat as I found the restriction of shop hours frustrating when trying to complete the vast volume of orders. There is an old saying “you don’t know how to build a fender until you’ve made 10 of them” believe me I certainly exceeded this in my first week there. I must thank Pete & Karen for giving me the chance to experience just how involved running a professional fender business is. And to this day I still enjoy a good working relationship with them.
So back on my boat I returned to putting in long hours and experimenting with other styles of fenders and excelling in bespoke work and even being featured in Waterway’s World magazine for a huge tipcat I built for a widebeam. I always strive to do and be the best I can, just wanting to learn as much as I can and build up my own solid customer base, which I continue to do to regularly.
After spending another 2 years of working from my narrowboat I have now moved into my own premises in Glascote, Tamworth. My shop and workshop is just a few minutes walk away from the Coventry Canal at Glascote and from where I continue to make rope fenders daily. In addition I make and sell mooring lines, ropes, chains, shackles and boating paraphernalia.