By Peter Madsen • The Bulletin

Knot it!: The Ultimate Guide to Mastering 100 Essential Outdoor and Fishing Knots (hardcover) retails for $24.99.

It will be available at Target and Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe.

Bend author John Sherry, who wrote the how-to knot-tying book “Knot it!” wants you to know he’s not a knot expert.

In the knot-tying world, it appears, a knot tier can be sufficiently authoritative about knots to be asked by a book publisher, as Sherry was, to write a how-to book on tying 100 knots and still feel uncomfortable being pegged as any kind of knot authority.

“There are thousands and thousands of knots,” Sherry said. “I can reliably tie about 25 of them. I’m a lifetime student of knots.”

He’s been an avid fisherman — and, thereafter, an avid knot-tier — for more than three decades. Sherry got his start in the knot-tying world in the mid-1990s when he began making instructional waterproof cards with step-by-step pictures showing how to tie knots.

The cards’ popularity accelerated Sherry’s business, Pro-Knot. He has sold 1.2 million card packs. He moved the business from San Luis Obispo, California, to Bend in 2015.

“I just want to encourage people to get involved with knot tying — try it out,” said Sherry, 64. “There are lots of resources you can tap into.”

With “Knot it!,” Sherry added another trove of knot-tying instruction to the fray.

To fill its pages, Sherry drew careful diagrams and provided written instructions for each knot. He broke knots into categories such as bends, loop knots, hitches, binding knots and special purpose knots. A thin rope and a booklet of Sherry’s instructional knot-tying cards are included with the book.

Sherry wants to make clear he’s not some kind of bigwig.

While John Staley, the president of International Guild of Knot Tyers’ North American branch, agrees with Sherry’s assertion that there are no experts in the knot-tying world, he insists that Sherry is no slouch, either.

“(Sherry) is obviously a serious knot tier,” Staley said after perusing Sherry’s Pro-Knot website, which includes downloadable knot-tying apps for smart phones and a link to NetKnots, where Sherry warehouses plenty of free knot-tying instruction. “That’s quite impressive. A lot of work has gone into that. But even though he has a lot of information, it’s only a start. Studying knots is a lifetime hobby.”

You don’t need to tell that to Sherry.

“The impetus behind the cards is that I couldn’t personally remember how to tie knots,” Sherry said. “I wished there was something in the field that would give me a little prompt.”

Sitting at Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe, which will carry “Knot it!” in its Local Interest section when it’s released Dec. 17, Sherry was wearing sunglasses around his neck that he’d secured with a fly-fishing line by looping tiny one-sided fisherman’s knots through holes in the sunglasses’ ear pieces.

“The fisherman’s knot is not actually used by fishermen,” he said. “I don’t know why it got that name.”

Sherry was originally introduced to knot tying as a Boy Scout. Knot know-how didn’t stick with him until it became crucial to Sherry when he began fishing in his 30s.

The instructional knot-tying card idea occurred to Sherry while on a diving and fishing trip off Baja California in 1993. He noticed how divers wore plastic cards that listed air compression tables that are important for knowing how long one can stay underwater.

“I thought, ‘Oh, maybe somebody should print knots on waterproof cards so fishermen, boaters and sailors can take them with them,’” Sherry said.

Sherry dedicated his first booklet of 20 knots to fishermen. Then he broadened the technique to help boaters and general outdoor types.

REI and Costco have been longtime card customers, and Sherry is waiting to hear if they’ll carry his book. So far, his publisher has printed about 2,500 copies, he said.

When the publisher, Familius, approached Sherry about making a book about knots, he was hesitant.

There were already so many knot books out there, Sherry said, mentioning ones devoted to the histories of various ropes and knots.

Sherry thought of himself as an entrepreneur instead of an author. Nonetheless, he agreed on a book that would provide careful illustration and simple instructional text.

“I’m quite excited and proud of the book,” the reluctant author said. “More so than I thought I would be.”

Sherry drew all the knot diagrams using CorelDRAW, an illustrative computer program. He brightly colored the rope images, adding cheerful dotted arrows that show where the rope will tuck in next.

“I found the process therapeutic,” Sherry said. He kept pieces of rope near his keyboard to help with visualization. “I fiddle around with ropes.”

The most complicated, “dumbest knot that has survived the test of time is the sheepshank,” Sherry said.

“It’s a Boy Scout knot — they teach it — that is kind of clever,” he said. “It’s used to either shorten a rope or isolate a bad section of rope. But it’s incredibly fragile. If it loses its tension, and it gets pulled again, the entire thing can fall apart. And yet it’s been in every knot book since the 1600s. No one uses it. And if you did, you’re really at risk. Another dumb knot is the square knot. It has its uses but it’s just not to be used in critical situations.”

Sherry includes both knots in his book with ample disclaimers. Sherry’s favorite knot is the trucker’s hitch.

“It’s extremely useful for tying things down,” Sherry said. “If you’re on a rafting trip, on a boat or a canoe, it provides a ratcheting effect. It’s like a homemade block and tackle — you can pull your line as tight as a guitar string.”

Sherry is one of 500 members in The International Guild of Knot Tyers’ North America chapter.

There are about 1,000 members worldwide, according to Staley, the North American president.

Staley doesn’t count any one member as having more expertise than another. Some knot tyers have taken an academic approach to knot tying. Others specialize in artisanal knots, such as the weighted, shot-put-looking monkey paw knot, which can make a handsome doorstop, for example. There are many kinds of knot tiers in between.

“We’ve got a lot of great knot tiers,” Staley said. “Is anyone the best? Nah.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7816,