View Full Version : Repost-Feedback for the Editor... the latest Wouldn'tBoat

Jim Hillman
06-28-2005, 06:36 PM
Posted by Bob Cleek (Member # 1211) on 10-31-2001, 10:06 PM:

I noticed Matt actually posted a few days back, thanking us for comments on what we'd like to see in WB. I just KNEW those guys lurked! Now, following up on that, and in a genuine effort to provide some constructive input, I'd live to invite a discussion of the content of the latest issue. The first time somebody types "Nazi" or "Bin Laden" or "Global Warming..." it's over! LOL
I know it is "their" magazine, but it's sort of a stand off. WE buy it. So, once that's done, it's OUR magazine, right? I also know they gotta eat and it's all about what they do for a living, so I don't blame them for being commercial. It ain't a charity. That said...

It appears to me that there has been a bit of a slide into slickness in old WB. I grabbed at random (from my complete set... I actually bought the first issue when it hit the stands...) number 39, from March/April 1981 and compared it to the current issue. I took an issue from around that time because it was long enough after the early start up days and yet still one of the classic "staple in the foldout's navel" issues before they went to that fancy edge binding.

Old number 39 had 160 pages all told. Of these, 92 were text, not advertising. (I estimated on the half-pages) It had 12 feature articles. Of those, 7 were related to actually building or repairing boats. (How to disk sand a bottom; how to make your own patterns for casting fittings; kit boats to build; how to make your own Beryllium-copper non-rusting boat knife; repairing and replacing stems; how to hitch fancywork on stanchions and how to make and use a jogglestick.) The fluff piece was photos of the Maine tourist schooner fleet.

Now, the latest issue has 180 pages... 20 more, but of those, 84 are text and the rest advertisements, including some 40 pages or so of just the WB Store catalog bound into the magazine (just like every other month.) There were only 8 features of which but 2 were about building or repairing boats. The article on laid decks was fantastic. One of the best in a long while. Curiously, the author makes an oblique dig at the editors for forbiding him to rag on plywood... a pity because one of the biggest issues on the subject of decks is the plywood underlayment vs. traditional laid decking! Inquiring minds want to know! LOL The other "DIY" article was on how to make a rabet plane. I haven't studied that one in depth yet, admittedly, but, hey... it's a beautiful little number, but a whole lot of very sophisticated work in metal and wood... when a Stanley 93 runs what? $75 bucks or so? That was about it for DOING things. The rest of the content was basically "National Geographic" travelogue coffee tablel sort of stuff. Not that I don't love the history articles and the photography which has risen to the level of some of the best in any periodical around... and the print quality is state of the art, but come on guys... are you writing the "Magazine for Wooden Boat Owners, Builders and Designers," or wannabe dreamers? I have to say that it seems you are slowly sliding downward on your own slickness... toward the depths where the likes of today's "Yachting" and "Sail" have settled. Come on now... you have a reviewer raving about some $130 jig system to sharpen plane blades? Shoot! You can buy the whole plane for less than that and if you are pushing "training wheels" for boatbuilders, where is it going next?

For example, the article about the fellow in Britain who builds the pilot cutters COULD have been great. Fantastic boats, and it looks like he is really out there doing it... but, the article really doesn't tell us much more than that he had a hard time building boats on spec, but survived, thank God, and that he is taking some flack from dyed in the wool traditionalists by calling his boats pilot cutters. (They're a lot closer to pilot cutters than anything Lyle Hess ever called a pilot cutter, BTW! LOL) But, you know, if you read that article carefully, it really doesn't tell us much at all about HOW he builds his boats or designs them. Practically nothing of merit on how they sail. Picturesque flowery descriptions of morning sails on sunny days and all that is just a bunch of fluff. I was left wondering if the author really knew what he was looking at... fortunately he spared us calling the stem the "prow!" If there was a story to the "is it or isn't it a pilot cutter" dispute, why not tell us what differences there are in his designs from the old pilot cutters... besides that they never carried a pilot aboard! Do they handle better; are they easier to sail? See what I mean? The article WASTED a great topic... some really fine boats being built... by just turning it into a general interest piece. If you cut out the few sentences that talked about what the boats were made of, the article could have appeared in any number of magazines that had nothing to do with boats! Even Martha Stewart wouldn't have sent it a rejection slip! Not that it wasn't a good article for what it was, but it wasn't enough for your knowledgeable readership's particularized interests.

Now, I'm not near cancelling my subscription, that's for sure, but perhaps one editorial standard that might be dusted off could be, "Do our readers learn anything from this piece that will contribute to their being able to "own, build and design" wooden boats? Enough of the "eye candy" already... like the eye candy of a different ilk in Mr. Hefner's rag, all of us will always LOOK, but interest quickly fades... it's the real thing we are really interested in reading about.

One other suggestion... hey, why not just stick the WB Store catalog loosely in together with the magazine so we can throw it out easily. Those 40 pages have to go in your $10 slipcovers, you know, and I'm running out of space on my bookshelves!

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? Keep up the good work, guys!

Posted by jack grebe (Member # 2960) on 10-31-2001, 10:12 PM:

most of those articles are submitted by readers
if you want to bitch, send in YOUR OWN!

Posted by Pelican (Member # 3301) on 10-31-2001, 10:13 PM:

Excellent observations Bob. Seems a lot of things kinda go down hill as they get bigger and bigger. Pity.

Posted by dasboat (Member # 1202) on 10-31-2001, 10:25 PM:

Bob I can't speak in the detail you just did.What I can do is add an anecdote that dovetails with your central point of DIY with hands on help from the rag.
When I started to really get after Gatsby(frames,bottom,some floors,transom,and finally both decks) I noticed that early on,each issue seemed to be of some help,even if only as a reinforcement of my work.
As I approached the last part of bringing her back(last 5 yrs.) I had to go back about 6 to 8 years in my WB issues research to begin finding the kind of stuff I was seeking.


Posted by Frank Hagan (Member # 2515) on 10-31-2001, 11:25 PM:

Well, I don't have a quibble anymore. Not that I had much of one in the beginning. Remember my complaint about the lack of western boat builders within the pages? This month's issue (which I finally got today!) has an article on both Ben Seaborn's boat in "Save a Classic" and on the Bartender, born in the pacific nw.
Wow, fast service!

Posted by Gary Field (Member # 3800) on 11-01-2001, 12:07 AM:

I agree with you Bob. As for all the articles being sent in by readers-I doubt that-I suspect the majority of them are paid for it.

Posted by Bob Cleek (Member # 1211) on 11-01-2001, 12:47 AM:

Come on, Jack... I'm the first guy who wouldn't pay $5.00 to read my own stuff... and the rest of you would be right behind me in line! LOL
Darn straight it's the old issues way back when that have the real valuable information in them. Ask anybody with back issues. There's so much information there, you have to use the index to keep track of it all.

Don't get me wrong, I LIKE the WB people. I'm just trying to keep them on the straight and narrow by tugging on their coat sleeves a little bit. Their readership, I'll reckon, is almost entirely men and men who like to do things with their hands besides twiddle their thumbs. Probably, the readership comprises just about everybody who is building or working on wooden boats in America these days. It's about MAKING THINGS, not just looking at pictures. Gondolas times two and Japanese pickle barrel boats were bad enough. We have to go on the alert before it is too late or some day, right there in your mailbox, on the cover of the WoodenBoat you THOUGHT you loved, will be Martha's Hinkley picnic boat(tm)!

Posted by John R Smith (Member # 960) on 11-01-2001, 06:05 AM:

Well, Bob, sadly we don't have Wooden Boat on our bookstore's shelves. So I can't comment on the specifics, but interestingly enough, our own "Classic Boat" magazine ran a story about the same gentleman building pilot cutters in Gweek this very month (did they sell them the same article?).
Even more interesting is that the article shared exactly the same failings as the one you describe - lots of pretty pictures, but no real meat. It was more like an ad for the company than any kind of critical assessment. Which is a pity, because Kate and I had a good look at the boat in build at Gweek earlier this year, and she was very impressive. A missed opportunity, I think. Do topics always have to be dumbed down to make them palatable?


Posted by TomRobb (Member # 1216) on 11-01-2001, 09:02 AM:

Matt. where are you? Care to explain just exactly what your editorial policy is? And why? Beyond making the payroll and keeping the books in black ink of course.
Do other mags have such meddlesome readers? Oh well, they've brought it on themselves.

Posted by Matt Murphy (Member # 787) on 11-01-2001, 10:33 AM:

Here I am, Tom.
Which policy? One policy is that we watch these discussions like hawks, take a deep breath, and don't get defensive. It's your magazine, really, and discussions like this are vital to our steering it. We feel incredibly fortunate to have such an engaged readership.

For your interest: we're currently working on several articles for next year--including an in-depth series on sailboat rebuilding--that I think this crowd will appreciate. Next issue will feature a piece on painting new work. Later, we'll begin a series on building a Fenwick Williams-designed dinghy--a planked 11 1/2-footer whose design has been dormant for about fifty years.

WoodenBoat's readership is diverse. Plank on frame, stitch and glue, cold molding; history, "boat porn," how-to; professional builders, amateurs, experts, beginners; sailors, builders.... Often some have no time for the others, and trying to feed all is challenging--and always fun. It keeps the magazine dynamic

Bob, however, has articulated the standard: we do indeed seek lesson material in all of our articles. Here I go getting defensive, but I was quite inspired by Luke Powell's devotion. He's a rarity, and perhaps that article will move others to the same calling ("Geez, that Powell guy in England lived on navy beans for two years, but now he's sold two boats....") That said, Bob's comments are well taken.

Please keep the comments coming. And do feel free to e-mail me directly (matt@woodenboat.com) if you want to make one for publication--or if you want to suggest an article topic. (please do not e-mail article proposals; send them by postal mail.)

Best to all--
Matt Murphy

Posted by Joe Dupere (Member # 1941) on 11-01-2001, 11:32 AM:

Originally posted by Matt Murphy:

For your interest: we're currently working on several articles for next year--including an in-depth series on sailboat rebuilding--that I think this crowd will appreciate.


Rather than just griping about the magazine without offering suggestions, here's what I'm willing to do:

First, I will glady proofread your "How to rebuild a sailboat" articles, (the proofs will come with lotsa pictures, right?) well before each issue goes to print.

And second, since you will obviously need a boat which needs rebuilding to use as a model, I will, at great sacrifice, loan you my 1938 Friendship sloop. It'll be perfect for your purposes. It only needs reframing, replanking, a new stem and transom, and a new deck, cockpit and cabin. And if your series goes on to spar repair, it needs a gaff and a boom, the mast is okay.

All I ask in return is that I get it back when you're done.


P.S. Sometimes the contributions of one lone individual can make a difference.

Posted by NormMessinger (Member # 1207) on 11-01-2001, 11:41 AM:

Matt, I don't care what anyone says, you're okay.
Now I guess I should start reading the articles instead of just sitting in there looking at the pictures.

--N RM

Posted by Bryan Robinson (Member # 1247) on 11-01-2001, 11:45 AM:

Thanks Matt. Look forward to reading the articles. By the way, I still haven't received the latest issue, but, I live in the DC suburbs.

Posted by Alan D. Hyde (Member # 2044) on 11-01-2001, 12:01 PM:

Matt, the editorial responsibilities associated with WoodenBoat seem somewhat like the challenge of keeping an old wooden vessel in good condition.
There's always something to do, and no two people are likely to want to do it in exactly the same way.

All-in-all, I think you and the editorial staff at WoodenBoat are meeting the test admirably.


Posted by rdapron (Member # 9) on 11-01-2001, 12:15 PM:

Thanks Bob for the post – well thought out and constructive. Thanks also to Wooden Boat for their years of dedication to fellow rot-heads and for providing the resources to make this forum happen. I agree with Bob, the issues as of late have fallen short of the high standards of the past. Would I stop subscribing? Hell no, for like Bob I have every issue published and I still find the current articles interesting but perhaps as not as informative as past issues. Couldn’t tell you if I’m in the majority or minority of readership but I really appreciate articles on construction and repair – the “nuts and bolts” of construction. I love interviews with builders that have an attitude. I love learning from their past – both successes and failures. Closely related (and you can see this on the forum) I like to read about product use in construction and repair. Look at the number of posts that ask: What kind of glue / sealant / caulk / wood / you name / it should I use in this application? I value the people in the trade of construction and repair and think we collectively could learn much from their experiences.

Posted by CaseyJones (Member # 2212) on 11-01-2001, 12:27 PM:

Gotta ask, Matt.... what's "boat porn"?

Posted by Ed Harrow (Member # 1235) on 11-01-2001, 12:52 PM:

Matt, Matt, I'll go one better than Joe. Not only will I loan you Phoenix to use as your demonstration piece for the duration of the article, but I will renew my subscription, and, (and this is key) I'll give WoodenBoat The Chapel of Our Lady of St Phoenix. A glorious gothic structure, 40' long, 16' wide, 18'high. Such a sweet deal.

Posted by NormMessinger (Member # 1207) on 11-01-2001, 01:11 PM:

"Boat Porn" The pictures one looks at while enthroned.

Posted by Joe Dupere (Member # 1941) on 11-01-2001, 01:17 PM:

Hey Matt, did I forget to mention that my Friendship is only 19', so she would be much more in line with the size boats most of your readers would be interested in repairing. Plus she's in Maine. And there's no huge religious structure to deal with, just a humble open air chapel. Oh, and my
subscription is prepaid for five years. (The check's in the mail, I promise!!)
So, while I'm sure you can appreciate Ed's generous offer, mine is obviously much more economical, which should really appeal to your thrifty maineyankee souls.


Posted by Andrew (Member # 64) on 11-01-2001, 01:25 PM:

One thing I'd like to see in WB is a hints and tips section similar to that in Classic Boat or one of the other British mags.

Posted by Ed Harrow (Member # 1235) on 11-01-2001, 01:32 PM:

ROTFLMHO touche! But Matt, think of the lineage - Sparkman and Stephens, Geo Lawley & Son. Remember that one of the principals of S&S, Drake Sparkman was involved with the development of the Weekender and, in fact, owned Southerly, Weekender #1. Not to mention, that if you took an average of the boat restorations freatured in WoodenBoat, and those done by individuals, I am certain that the average length would be nearer to 35 feet than 19.
So, don't be swayed by the red herrings being waved by this depraved owner of an old, broken-down fishing boat, Phoenix is the perfect example for this series which you are contemplating.

Posted by Matt Murphy (Member # 787) on 11-01-2001, 02:05 PM:

Hoo boy. I hate to disappoint, but the subject boat is rebuilt and sailing, and her identity will remain secret until the series starts.
By the way, would someone please tell me what ROTFLMO means. In fact, I'll send a WoodenBoat cap, color of your choice, to the first, and only the first, person to post a glossary of ten or more of these cute little abbreviations. Do you know how long I spent figuring out SWMBO? (LOL and BTW don't count.)

Posted by Ed Harrow (Member # 1235) on 11-01-2001, 02:14 PM:

ROTFLMHO = Rolling on the floor laughing my head off
ROTFLMAO = same as above but laughing another part of the anatomy off

(AKTC) sometimes appended to the above = and kicking the cat

SWMTMH = She who mostly tolerates my hobbies

SWWBO = She who will be obeyed

Hmmmmmm LOA = length over all

LOD = Length on deck Ohh, you already knew them?

SWIMPAL (not certain) = She who is my pal

How am I doing? Barely in the running?

RAM = random access memory

DRAM = dynamic access memory

EPROM = electonically programmable read-only memeory

FLAME = sorry, can't tell you this one on line

[This message has been edited by Ed Harrow (edited 11-01-2001).]

Posted by Andrew (Member # 64) on 11-01-2001, 02:25 PM:

OBMTOPI - occupancy by more that one person illegal
GTM - get the marshmellows

MOBAH - my other boats a Hinkley

ILWB - I love Wooden Boat

GBTWCTCM - get back to work Chad, the cap's mine

[This message has been edited by Andrew (edited 11-01-2001).]

Posted by cs (Member # 2910) on 11-01-2001, 02:25 PM:

BTW = By The Way
IMHO = In My Honest Opinion
AAMOF = As A Matter Of Fact
B4N = Bye For Now
BAC = By Any Chance
BAD = Broken As Designed
GD&W = Grinning, Ducking and Weaving
RTFM = Read The F***ing Manual
NBD = No Big Deal
KWIM = Know What I Mean


Posted by Alan D. Hyde (Member # 2044) on 11-01-2001, 02:39 PM:

Well, Matt, I was going to e-mail this to you off-line, but since you're here anyway...
The above boat suggestions were of course made facetiously, but there is, I think, perhaps the germ of a good idea in them.

A modest shed or two and a little bit of foreshore not too far from the WB offices, might provide a place for perhaps a pair of worthy old power boats, and another pair of worthy old sail boats, vessels that are "worth saving," but don't look too likely to be saved otherwise.

Then as an adjunct to the WB school, you have a continuing self-financing project of fixing these up under the eye of some practical yankee with years of experience.

People like the participants on this Forum come to Brooklin (with some tools) for a week or two, for a fee, and help fix 'em up while getting lots of pointers from a guy who's done it for years. A much different thing, in many ways, than building a NEW wooden boat. And, it would appeal to a somewhat different group of people.

You could try it in a small way, see if ends meet, and go on with it if it works. Sell the results, of course, with participants getting first crack at buying...

Might be fun, and might do some good also. What do you think? (If "my plate's full already" is the answer, perhaps we could recruit some volunteer organizers.)

And, of course, each boat saved could eventually end up as a good story for WB to tell.

Best regards,


Posted by Joe Dupere (Member # 1941) on 11-01-2001, 02:50 PM:

Old broken down fishing boat!?!? Old broken down fishing boat!?!? OLD BROKEN DOWN FISHING BOAT!?!?! Okay, well, maybe she is. And what's with this depraved owner stuff. DEPRAVED OWNER!?!? I haven't been depraved, thank you very much. I still have the prave I was born with. And it still works!
And as for you Matt, that sure took the wind out of my sails, if I had any. I forgot to mention that part. Along with no boom and no gaff, I have no sails. Well, I'm positive that the series will be excellent anyway, but you sure missed a rare opportunity.

Joe "Subscriber Wants My Boat Overhauled" Dupere

Posted by rickprose (Member # 1245) on 11-01-2001, 02:54 PM:

jeez, WBs got enough money already. if you're willing to pay to learn how to re-build an old boat, i've got enough projects in the yard to keep you duffers busy from now until we win the war on terrorism, maybe longer...

Posted by Bob Cleek (Member # 1211) on 11-01-2001, 02:58 PM:

Oh, Matt! Do you think we cyber-craftsmen would give up the tricks of our trade for a HAT! Hat? Hat? I don' gotch to tcho you no stinking hats! LOL
Thanks for your response! I know the upcoming how-to articles will be eagerly awaited. WB created a monster, you know. There are all sorts of "newbies" (more cyber-slang) out there playing with wooden boats than ever before and all are hungry for some decent information about how to do it. WB is in an excellent position to save the wooden boats of America from being encapsulated in epoxy, fibreglass, 5200 and Git Rot! It's not too late!!!

Thanks for so graciously playing Thomas Flemming Day to my L.Francis Herreshoff, as short a distance as that comparison may go.

Posted by Thaddeus J. Van Gilder (Member # 2633) on 11-01-2001, 03:06 PM:

Mr. Murphy,
How does one submit articles to Woodenboat for publication?
Please E-mail me the details, because I have written lots of accademic - type stuff, and I would love to do a how-to article or two!

Posted by Alan D. Hyde (Member # 2044) on 11-01-2001, 03:09 PM:

That long, Rick?
What have you got?

Maybe you can Tom Sawyer some of us into coming over, but you might be looking at a two-edged sword...


Posted by Matt Murphy (Member # 787) on 11-01-2001, 03:20 PM:

And the winner is...
Chad! (Ed: Random Access Memory? Length Overall?)

Chad: e-mail your address and favorite color to betsy@woodenboat.com, and you'll be sportin' yer fine new stonewashed woodenboat lid in about a week.

ps For Alan: We've considered the scenario you propose--in fact, we've had it pitched many times. We've found it rife with trouble for us. Our school's facilities are currently running full tilt, and in a very fine tune and balance. Running them well--like our staff does--is a huge undertaking. We don't have the space or the class format for the project you describe. And we don't have an army of practical Yankees with years of experience (PYYEs) at our beck and call. They tend to drop by for a few weeks in the summer to teach, and then return to their own busy shops.
The International Yacht Restoration School (Newport, RI), however, does close to what you describe, choosing their projects on a very selective basis.

Posted by John B (Member # 2113) on 11-01-2001, 03:28 PM:

I don't want my boat restored in America but I really feel that it would be a good idea to email the magazine to me as the most voluble representative of the South Pacific/Tasman sea.
I would guarantee not to critisise any part of it.
Yours gratuitously,
I.M. Anutter.

Posted by htom (Member # 919) on 11-01-2001, 03:31 PM:

I, too, think you're doing a fine job.

I do have a nit to pick with someone; I'm fairly sure that Mike O'Brien did not mean to say on page 88 that
<<He stretched the 14'x5'10" hull to 17'4"x7'1". Because a hull's volume increases exponentially with respect to its length ...>>

It was "length" that clanked, because a length-stretch would be linear, not exponential. "Scaling" is probably what he meant, ie displacement * (17'4"/14')^3 ~= 1.9 the original , not displacement^(17'4/14')

Posted by adampet (Member # 1199) on 11-01-2001, 03:37 PM:

When I told my older brother, who got me started in boats, that I subscribed to WoodenBoat, he said ,"Oh Boat porn." When I asked him what he meant he said, " you know, beautiful, glossy pictures of exquisite creations that you will NEVER own. If you're lucky, you might get close to one at the dock!"
Personally I really liked the cruising Dory story, but Dory rowers are a breed apart anyway.

Posted by Ed Harrow (Member # 1235) on 11-01-2001, 03:49 PM:

Well, tis better to have tried...
Congratulations Chad!

Posted by cs (Member # 2910) on 11-01-2001, 03:57 PM:

Thanks Matt
Aahh Ed you were a worth opponent indeed. I will wear the hat with pride knowing that I defeated a worthy challenger!

Matt just to let you know I really liked the Port Medway Boat and Tropic Bird articles.


Posted by Ed Harrow (Member # 1235) on 11-01-2001, 04:09 PM:

Well, truth be told, my giant, ego-swelled head probably wouldn't fit in it anyway, LOL. (But if Matt conceded that I was first, with more than ten, and with none of the ones he disallowed (you'll note he did not disallow SWMBO!), I'd be willing to give it a try, LOL.)

Posted by Shang (Member # 2329) on 11-01-2001, 04:15 PM:

Reading Wooden Boat is a little like the story of the fellow who said he read National Geographic for the same reason he read Playboy: To see pictures of places he wasn't going to get to go.

Posted by dasboat (Member # 1202) on 11-01-2001, 05:26 PM:

OK Chad,lets see the list so we can make sure there is no secret code.

Posted by ken mcclure (Member # 2957) on 11-01-2001, 05:30 PM:

Couple more acronyms. I got into this contest a little late
AFK2P - Away From Keyboard .... (for real-time chat stuff)

SNAFU - Nah. Everyone knows that one.

FUBAR - ... Beyond All Recognition (or Repair, in some cases)

Posted by rickprose (Member # 1245) on 11-01-2001, 06:49 PM:

in the long-term category i've got a 30' bahamian sloop, a 23' spartan and an unknown 25 foot something or other that a neighbor wants me to haul away. if you're talking short-term instant gratification sort of a deal, i got boats out the proverbial ying-yang. not to be confused with yin and yang, the taoist concepts of perpetual equal-opposite interaction...

Posted by edsr (Member # 3252) on 11-01-2001, 08:38 PM:

From the perspective of a first time builder almost all the articles in WB are helpful. I especially enjoy the "How to" articles. As long time readers, I'm sure you are all aware of the issues which feature multiple help items. Those are the ones that get dog eared in my collection, still have some in the current pile reading pile after ten years. As a construction phase is completed and a new phase challenge arises, the back issues become more pertinent. Currently I am reviewing the issue which shows how to gold leaf a boat name. Go figure.

Posted by Ross Faneuf (Member # 904) on 11-02-2001, 08:17 PM:

It occurred to me that there's a reason that the WB folks, and all of us, should be elated that there's so much more advertising in WB now than 20 years ago.
One of the main reasons is that there are so many more people who have woodenboat-related businesses; probably most of them exist, at least in part, because of WB.

Even for the rest, it's interesting that we woodenboat people are now worth an advertsing buck - are worth paying attention to.

Posted by ROWE BOATS (Member # 2150) on 11-02-2001, 09:12 PM:

I must admit that I don't devour my WoodenBoat's as voraciously as I once did.It could be the aging eyes or the fact that I keep nodding off while reading. I find that even though the articles on gondolas, curraghs and the like aren't relative to what I'm doing they are nonetheless informative. It would be nice to have a feature like "methods of work", or "tips and techniques."Speaking of Martha Stewart (go way back in this thread) My LFWSWM and I were sailing between the Cranberries and SW Harbor when I needed to heed natures call. Since there were no boats in sight I proceeded to go over the stern rail. Now being well past 50 my manifold pressure isn"t what it used to be and I wasn't quite done when a picnic boat roared out of SW Harbor and crossed our transom. You guessed it, Marth Stewart. And me without a signal flag!!!!! It's a good thing!!!!!!

Posted by Bob Cleek (Member # 1211) on 11-03-2001, 03:22 AM:

Geeze... I gotta say, Matt, Rowe oughta get a hat for that one! ROTFLMAO!!!

Posted by Peter Sibley (Member # 2942) on 11-03-2001, 04:35 AM:

This is a good thread to have running....the first WB I bought was No. 18 and that was a long time ago.WB is definitely changed and for me the changes aren't really positive,
Like everyone else I like how to articles and those rare ones about truly inspirational individuals (like Luke Powell) who get their act together in a big way.I'm a professional woodworker these days,not a professional boatbuilder and I still need those shop tips,articles on methods of work,measuring ,setup you name it but it has got to be about "stuff",things I can use.The boat porn (not a bad name really),leaves me cold,I get halfway through an article and then let it go.The best thing WB could do these days is to find another Bud McIntosh (yeah,I know impossible ...one of a kind) but to find a man who can write ,really write about technical subjects without becoming wooden(?),this would be a joy indeed!

I guess in brief.....a change from beautifully photographed articles without much content and more nuts and bolts,screws and rivets and the joys of selecting the right cloth and resin.And if you don't mind stealing from "Classic Boat",that shop tips section of theirs is a beauty .

Posted by Ben Fuller (Member # 1027) on 11-03-2001, 07:30 AM:

Buried in articles are often gems of practicality..... how many people picked up the anchoring system used to keep the cruising dory off the beach in the current issue? But I wish there had been a good photo that showed the tiller system.... how to get around the mizzen. The question is how to pick these up and not be repetitive. Most "how to" oriented magazines repeat subjects every three years or so. WB belives its readership is smart enough to actually look things up in back issues.... It speaks well to the staying power of the articles that people do so.

Posted by rbgarr (Member # 88) on 11-03-2001, 01:46 PM:

The lack of repetitiveness mentioned by Ben, the maintenance of indexes (hard copy and online) and the coming availability of WB on CD are proof to me that our sponsors focus on the reader community in a sustained way. Congratulations on a job well done.

Posted by Steve Souther (Member # 737) on 11-03-2001, 03:36 PM:

Here's what I'd like to see:
A wooden boatshop on TV similar to the New Yankee Workshop. Only it would be constructing a popular boat like the Haven 12.5 and have two guys like John RSmith and Bob Cleek build it. They could crack jokes like the brothers on Car Talk. It would be funny, but also have lots of wood shavings. None of that Norm Abrams all power tools stuff.(no offense, Norm) I watch that show every morning. This could also run as a feature article in Woodenboat as well. By the way, make it real to life where stuff doesn't always fit perfect the first time...

This would really interest me, and I think it would go a long way in promoting woodenboats.


Posted by Ironmule (Member # 1065) on 11-04-2001, 10:40 PM:

This thread has made me think a lot, and both WoodenBoat and I have changed since I was lucky enough to chance across #2 on a news stand. The magazine hasn't always been what I needed at the time, but I have needed different things at different times. It has always, let me say, ALWAYS been an interesting read.
Whether it was exactly what I needed in any issue, it was always interesting. I have different tools now, live on the other side of the country, have twenty five more years of history reading behind me, etc..........
I'm glad WoodenBoat was there, and is here.

My biggest quandry at the moment, is how to justify the purchase of a complete set, and whether it ought to be the CD or a hard copy set off E-bay, or both. After all, research is a tool, and boat builders need tools, right???

WoodenBoat isn't perfect, but it comes pretty close, and I don't come as close to being perfect myself.

I think the thought that made me go HMMMMMMM, was the one about the increase in advertising. When I got into this, good tools could only be had by finding them at garage sales. Hardware stores no longer carried good wood working tools. The kind of people who appreciate Woodenboat now comprise a population of sufficient size to support companies who can be viable making good tools.
Not everything in the world is the best that it could be, but woodenboats are doing pretty good.


Posted by whb (Member # 3998) on 11-04-2001, 10:55 PM:

And the new feature is called
"This Old Boat"

Posted by whb (Member # 3998) on 11-04-2001, 11:03 PM:

and the new feature is called
"This Old Boat"

Posted by ken mcclure (Member # 2957) on 11-05-2001, 07:43 AM:

Mule, I bought the complete set. Cost me a lot more than the CD, but remember - you can't read the CD from the head.

Posted by J. Dillon (Member # 650) on 11-05-2001, 09:15 AM:

Dear Matt,
Thought a lot before offering my 2 cents. But here goes:

The cover says, "The magazine for wooden boat owners, builders and designers". It seems to me the builders, designers and historical buff, interests are well covered but owners... maybe. Once the boat is finished, the reader is dropped. He either starts another one or fine tunes what he has improving her as experience is gained. I'd like to see just how and what he did and why. I liked the recent article about Tropic Bird as it related how one owner\builder Ed Davis improved his boat and changed it to suit his needs, then used innovative ideas to provide a better boat for him all around as in the homemade shelter he rigged up. (I'd like to know just how he "dropped the jib instantly". My jib also set flying needs careful tending when being lowered or else it ends up over the side and in the water.) Also I wonder just how the kick up rudder was made and rigged, fitting so neatly under her stern.

The magazine has plenty of articles dealing with building and repair but few to inform the reader on how to improve the boat for performance, speed and safety, creature comforts, etc. Articles like "How I improved comfort and safety in my 18' cruising Kayak" or "10 things you can make for better storage in a 20' weekender sail boat", or just how to "prettify" your boat, like the name board article published a while back . This would give owners users something to mull over for their boats.

Just glancing in "My Wooden Boat" it seemed to me the vast majority of boats were under 25 feet. Not all were built by their present owners but I ‘m sure they would like to see how others faced different problems with their wooden boats and solved them or achieved goals not related with repairs. I think Woodenboat can and should show them.

A golfing friend of mine once glanced through the magazine and remarked "Your guys just build and fix em , do you ever use em" ?


Posted by Ian McColgin (Member # 32) on 11-05-2001, 09:49 AM:

I'm with those above who think the more ads are a sign of health.
I also think that one of the wonderful things about WB is that it's not repetative to any great extent. I have friends who found that after a year or so of Sail or Cruising World type rags, they had the sense of reading the same articles over and over.

But the down side of that non-repetition is that the old issues become truely valuable and interesting. I wish I had more of them. Because I'd once written to John Gardiner, I was one of those who got that 'give us $100 to start this new magazine and you'll have a life time subscription' solicitations way back when. It was the depths of one of Oregon's recessions and I was living by bartering ling cod I brought up by hand longline from Leeward and I had no way to get $100. So sad. I did get every copy as it came out, and lost the lot before '91 when Hurricane Bob removed Goblin from my life. Unamuno was right, life's a tragedy.

I agree with J Dillon that some more wee project ideas would be good - rather like that bookshelf article some couple of years back.

And while there are lots of books and such on various forms of seamanship, I think it would be wonderful if we could get good descriptions of slick boat handeling tricks that probably only we WB types really use. Running an inlet with a Bartender v. backing down through surf in a power dory maybe. Or how to break out and cat home that noxious fisherman style anchor when you're shorthanded. Or how to sail a large boat backwards or sideways for coming along side a pier.

And maybe even some lifestyle stuff - not just the Carr's, who are awesome, but the rest of us. Interviews with the families of WB addicts and how they need their own support groups.

And definatly keep with the lush photography. We can alway get Playboy for the articles, but WB is especially for the pictures.

Thanks for all

Posted by charles carini (Member # 3083) on 11-05-2001, 10:13 AM:

now that i have my own copy of Sensible Cruising designs i'd like to reply that one of the many questionable tactics vied by Himself (L.F.Herreshoff) of Rudder zine was the ads, especially the less truthful ones featuring scantly clad women to sell boats. All ads may contain spin but at least WB maintains a higher base when it comes time to run an ad, so i'm certain that even Himself would not be bemoaning WB for such material.

Posted by rbgarr (Member # 88) on 11-05-2001, 12:45 PM:

To J. Dillon-
IMO, Small Boat Journal focussed on the 'how owners use/improve/enjoy their boats' type of article. Unfortunately, the magazine went under, although various issues come up on ebay from time to time.

Posted by John Gearing (Member # 47) on 11-05-2001, 07:58 PM:

When "The Woodenboat" began, wooden boatbuilding was about at its ebb in America. John Gardner was doing a fabulous job keeping traditional small boat design and building methods alive via his columns in "The National Fisherman" (now that's something I'd like to see....all of those columns collected into a book!). Add to the efforts of Gardner et al the renewed interest in getting "back to basics", "back to the land", etc that grew out of the hippie/"natural" movement, and the fact that there was still a hardcore group of wooden boat fans out there and you have the genesis of WoodenBoat. When it began, the magazine had a fairly narrow focus, on designs from the past and building methodology, and rightly so because there was a real need for this kind of information. And WB succeeded in helping to kick off "the wooden boat revival"--which was, as Martha Stewart says, "a very good thing".
As the readership grew, and interest in wooden boats in general increased, the magazine had to expand its vision to meet those interests. Just think of the many, many categories of articles that Woodenboat could cover: small craft, workboats, cruisers, racers, "yachts", power boats, carvel, lapstrake, glued lapstrake, cold molding, strip planking, sheet plywood, and the list could go on and on. My point is that the wooden boat "universe" has been expanding hugely over the past 25 years, BUT there is a limit to how big the magazine can get. Therefore it is inevitable that no single issue will be able to provide a comprehensive selection of articles. What I think the staff is doing--what I think they have to do--is to shoot for a long-term balance.

Perhaps a way to think of the magazine is as though each issue is just an installment in a much larger story. If an article does not go into as much depth as one would have liked, or focuses on a different aspect of the story than the one that piques your interest, fear not. This story is not going to be the last on this subject. There will, I'm sure, be another story on pilot cutters in the future, with a different slant--perhaps more on the evolution of the design (say, within the UK and then comparing UK designs to French designs like Jolie Brise).

Then too, as regards boatbuilding articles, remember that in the beginning about all we had was Chapelle's "Boatbuilding" and Robt Steward's book. Now there are many books about boatbuilding--just check out the WB catalog--and one might be able to make the claim that because of all these books, there is less of a need to include "standard" boatbuilding information in the magazine.

WoodenBoat is evolving, just as wooden boat design and building practices are evolving. The trick I think, is to make sure that each article is as good as it can be for what it is. That is, if an article is about how to fair the hull, I think the editor and the writer have to agree on whether the article will focus on one specific layout technique a boatbuilding school has used with great success, or whether the article will cover hull fairing in its entirety, showing how this new technique works in the overall process.

Yes, I'm speaking of Karen B's article in last month's issue. Overall it was quite good, but to my mind it wandered a bit and could have been more specific in a few places where it was general. For example, the school's hull fairing method was said to allow even beginners to achieve perfect results. It is the marking-off of the hull into areas of minimal surface curvature change that is the key to the technique. So the questions naturally arise: how easy a skill is it to learn to judge the variation in surface curvature? Do the students do this themselves, or do the teachers handle the marking? This may sound trivial, but it can make a difference in the truth of the basic premise--that this is a method that allows beginners to achieve perfect results. If it's a method that requires an experienced boatbuilder to mark off the hull for the beginner, then the claim is a bit misleading. Phrased another way, the question becomes what is this article about? Is it about explaining a method the amateur builder can use to fair his hull? Or is it about a technique that teachers use to teach hull fairing? If so, then the intended audience might be experienced boatbuilders who are teachers rather than inexperienced amateurs. Or it may be that an experienced amateur would find it fairly easy to use this method. The question: who is the intended audience?

Assuming that any of the above is rational, then here's an example of where the editor and the writer have to work together keep the article crisply defined. This isn't always easy, I'm sure, and I'm sure that we'd all agree that the vast majority of WB articles are excellent, but the problem is one that no doubt will crop up again and again in the future as the magazine's field of view continues to broaden--keeping the articles tightly focused within the broad spectrum of wooden boat designers, builders, and owners.

Okay, 'nuff said. Now I'm going to go make some sawdust....

Posted by dasboat (Member # 1202) on 11-05-2001, 10:20 PM:

Only gripe here is I have to listen to you "Easties" discuss WB content for two weeks before mine arrives.

Posted by Mirelle (Member # 3862) on 11-06-2001, 05:12 AM:

Well, I liked the article on proper decks. The article on Luke Powell was a bit fluffy - sorry Jenny, but please stop playing Martha Stewart! Anyone building big proper boats professionally, singlehanded, must have a wealth of techniques - you covered none of this.

Posted by Mike DeHart (Member # 1665) on 11-06-2001, 09:12 AM:

Another acronym:
Don't Ask Me How I Know This!

It reads surprisingly close to the actual utterance at the time the lesson was learned.

Posted by ken mcclure (Member # 2957) on 11-06-2001, 10:45 AM:

It occurs to me to note that WB is not, in fact, an encyclopedia. It is a periodical publication that is limited in the amount fo space it can devote to articles with "meat" in them.
The amount of space available is dictated, to a large extent, by the amount of advertising that is sold. The more ads, the more stuff can be printed. Don't forget, WB has to pay to have these things printed, and printing costs continue to rise year by year, and sometimes more than once per year.

For in-depth coverage, and to maintain space in each publication for all of the 'regular' features, it is common to split in-depth treatments over multiple issues. This also has the sideline benefit of guaranteeing that everyone who wants to see "how it came out" will buy the whole series.

You have to remember that magazines that do not sell enough ad space go out of business. I think WB has done an admirable job of keeping focused on the needs of the majority of the readership while attracting advertisers to pay the bills.

No easy task, and my hat's off to the staff!

(oops, hat's back on...too much glare again)


Ultimate Bulletin BoardTM 6.2.0

Memphis Mike
06-28-2005, 06:39 PM

Memphis Mike
06-28-2005, 06:40 PM

06-28-2005, 06:41 PM
The first time somebody types "Nazi" or "Bin Laden" or "Global Warming..." it's over! "Nazi", "Bin Laden", "Global Warming", "WMD" (for extra credit! ;) )

One can only hope! :rolleyes:

06-28-2005, 07:54 PM
Meerkat do you love woodenboat magazine?

I remember one of the early issues had a boat built in england designed for deep sea sailing built like the old irish carag of st brendan only using tared canvis insteed of ox hides

I miss that kind of stories

maybe americans these days or people these days are just to standardized even isthey are wooden boaters I don't want to be normal

06-28-2005, 07:56 PM
I wish for more how too articles as well. I have an old wooden boat and seeing how to solve some of her issues would be nice.