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Thread: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

  1. #1
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    Question Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    So, I'm relatively new to boat building. And wood working. And the world. (18 here!)

    I need suggestions for some good boat building books. I have rowboats and sailing dinghies in mind, I'm not building any cabin cruisers here!

    I'd greatly appreciate some referrals to good titles to help a novice with one (poorly built) sailboat under his belt. If there's already a library thread I've missed, link please!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    How To Build A Wooden Boat by Bud McIntosh

    https://www.woodenboatstore.com/prod...t/boatbuilding

    Even though the focus is on larger boats I think it's a must-have. There is no better book for understanding how a wooden boat is built. Regardless of what technique you are planning, I think having a good knowledge of the concepts covered in this book will be a good foundation.

    I'd also recommend Modern Boat Building by Ed Monk if you can find a copy.
    Last edited by cstevens; 03-13-2017 at 12:43 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    John Leather, Clinker Boatbuilding https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Cli...her/0713636432
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    John Gardner's Dory Book

    https://www.amazon.com/Dory-Book-Joh.../dp/0913372447

    Worth it for Manning's illustrations alone and Gardner is a great writer. As ctstevens notes above, this book has more general information about boat building in general than just dories.

    Go up one level on ctstevens link, and you will find the entire Woodenboat boatbuilding library, lots to choose from.
    Steve Martinsen

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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Two of my ageless favorites are, "Boat Building" by Howard Chapell and "The Common Sense of Boat Design" by L.Francis Herreshoff. These are books that
    hark back to the time that boat construction was well suited to the backyard boat builder. A more modern, in depth, treates is, my friend Larry Pardy's book Details of Classic Boat Construction.
    Jay
    https://www.amazon.com/Details-Class.../dp/1929214448

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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    For a good overview of various boatbuilding methods Greg Rossel's "The Boatbuilding Apprentice" is good as is his "Building Small Boats".
    https://www.woodenboatstore.com/prod...ers_Apprentice
    https://www.woodenboatstore.com/prod...ng_Small_Boats
    Nick

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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    I followed all of your links, and believe me, I'd buy every one if my wallet was a bit deeper.
    I've noticed on all of your links, Boatbuilding Manual was referred in suggestions.

    https://www.amazon.com/Boatbuilding-...G25ZGA385TCNJZ

    The pricetag is a bit friendlier here, which I like. Does anybody have any experience with it?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Even cheaper at Abes. For a new book. https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Sea...ortby=17&sts=t

    Many of these books are available used for a considerable discount.

    Save your pennies on the books so you do not have to scimp on your tools or materials.
    Steve Martinsen

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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    There is a lot of wisdom in very little space in Dynamite Payson's "Instant Boats." I often find myself skimming back though it, and Phil Bolger's designs are so simple they beg to be built.

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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    I second Nick.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Good suggestions here. "Boatbuilding Manual" by Robert Steward is another.

    For some of these more traditional 'bibles' that have been mentioned I might suggest going to your local library and seeing if they can bring them in on an inter-library loan for you. That way you can look them over for a week or two and decide if you want to make the investment.

    These are some names that will become very familar if you hang around wooden boats at all. They have all left indelible marks.
    L.Francis Herreshoff
    Howard Chapelle
    John Gardner
    Phil Bolger

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    For some of these more traditional 'bibles' that have been mentioned I might suggest going to your local library and seeing if they can bring them in on an inter-library loan for you. That way you can look them over for a week or two and decide if you want to make the investment.
    Also try craigslist, even out of your area. I managed to get most of the books people are listing here - McIntosh, Monk, Chapelle, Herreshoff, Culler, Gardner, etc. - for next to nothing by watching craigslist in a few places and getting the sellers to ship them to me. Look in New England, Pacific Northwest/West Coast and British Columbia. But careful - I found that building a boat library is almost as addicting as working on boats...

    Oh, and one more for you if you are interested in small rowing craft: R. D. Culler "Boats, Oars and Rowing". Out of print and possibly rare (I've seen copies go for over $60.00) but a wealth of information on traditional row boats, oars, technique, etc. Looks like there is a decent copy on Amazon for $30.00 though.

    https://www.amazon.com/Boats-Oars-Rowing-R-D-Culler/dp/0877420947

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Regarding the Culler books, there are two versions, the original being the rather scarce one. The later one is a compendium of his writings that covers much of the same ground, and I believe readily available. And again, reading Culler is as much about the philosophy of wooden boat building as it is about the specifics of any one design or particular technique.
    Steve Martinsen

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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Quote Originally Posted by SMARTINSEN View Post
    Regarding the Culler books, there are two versions, the original being the rather scarce one. The later one is a compendium of his writings that covers much of the same ground, and I believe readily available. And again, reading Culler is as much about the philosophy of wooden boat building as it is about the specifics of any one design or particular technique.
    Ah - probably the case. I should compare the two I suppose, since I have both. But I find that I always read the older volume since it's the one that we had when I was a kid. Very much about the philosophy more than a technical guide (although there is a smattering of that as well) but I think that the philosophy is important because otherwise how do you know what you want to build? You have to have the philosophy first. and then the design and then the construction. Of course I say that without having ever actually built a boat myself so I am in no position to pontificate.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    I've looked all the books over, and I've ordered a copy of Boatbuilding Manual Fifth Edition as it seems pretty popular and highly rated. After I give this one a good reading, I'll see about ordering some more. I hope to have a library when I'm older, and one can't have too many books! (One can, however, have too few dollars.)

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Quote Originally Posted by QuinnSchick View Post
    I've looked all the books over, and I've ordered a copy of Boatbuilding Manual Fifth Edition as it seems pretty popular and highly rated. After I give this one a good reading, I'll see about ordering some more. I hope to have a library when I'm older, and one can't have too many books! (One can, however, have too few dollars.)
    Quinn

    I just acquired a library with about 30 books and now I have some duplicates, Rabl's Boatbuilding in your own backyard and Buehler's Backyard boatbuilding. PM me with your address if you would like them.

    Kent

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Oregon View Post
    There is a lot of wisdom in very little space in Dynamite Payson's "Instant Boats." I often find myself skimming back though it, and Phil Bolger's designs are so simple they beg to be built.
    +1 This is a great way to start, along with "Build the New Instant Boats". All plywood, but that gets you afloat quickly and will teach you some basics. Iain Oughtred has a good book on building his designs too, which will get you into some beautiful clinker boats, still using plywood but in narrower planks.

    The most important thing is to start, don't worry about getting it right first time, it's a journey!

    Jamie

    PS One word of caution, don't use polyester resin as recommended in some of Payson's earlier writings, epoxy has eclipsed that both as adhesive and for sheathing ply.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Methods of boatbuilding have undergone a complete revolution with the coming of epoxy adhesives. Most of us think that's a good thing.

    To understand what can be done today, an essential read is the Gougeon book on boat construction. Sometimes called "the Good Book" or "The Gospel According to Meade". It's available as a free download from West System.
    http://www.westsystem.com/ss/assets/...k%20061205.pdf

    Particularly for small home-built boats, there are a number of very different methods. Cold molding, glued lapstrake, strip composite and stitch&glue, to name a few are very different ways to build a good boat. I'd suggest picking a design that you like and then get a good book on its construction method.
    Last edited by JimConlin; 06-05-2017 at 08:25 PM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    "Boatbuilding for beginners and beyond" by Jim Michalak. Good for someone new to woodwork and contains layman's explanations of boat design principles. Written by an aerospace engineer with humility!

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Cold-Molded and Strip-Planked Wood Boatbuilding by Ian Nicholson

    If possible borrow these books from your ocal library - Hereabout it is often possible to get old or out of of print books through Īnter Library Loan" - don't know if this is available where you are.

    Preview...
    https://books.google.co.uk/books/abo...on&redir_esc=y
    Someday, I'm going to settle down and be a grumpy old man.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Quote Originally Posted by QuinnSchick View Post
    I followed all of your links, and believe me, I'd buy every one if my wallet was a bit deeper.
    I've noticed on all of your links, Boatbuilding Manual was referred in suggestions.
    The esteemed P.I. Stazzer-Newt has got it right ... see if your local library has any of these books. If not, they probably have an interlibrary loan program that could get you pretty much anything you want. I use this strategy all the time. I plow through library books from the Seattle Public Library. When I find something worth my shelves, I buy a copy.

    It might also be worth a road trip to the main library in SLC. Looks like they have a pretty decent collection. Here

    BTW, I just remembered ... I used xerex'd copies from a John Gardner book that I got at the Seattle Public Library to build my first boat. I didn't buy the book until years later. The copies are still floating around here somewhere.
    Last edited by Yeadon; 06-06-2017 at 12:08 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    The Dory Book
    Building Classic Small Craft
    How To Build A Wooden Boat

    Both Gardner and Macintosh write well and simply and their explanations are easy for the layman to understand. Macintosh's chapter on spiling a plank is as good as it gets.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Here's a pile of good stuff for a good price:

    https://maine.craigslist.org/boa/6148484364.html

    Tempted to pick it up myself, but I really need to build some more bookshelves before I continue with my book buying habit.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Suggestions: Good Boat Building Books?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Oregon View Post
    There is a lot of wisdom in very little space in Dynamite Payson's "Instant Boats." I often find myself skimming back though it, and Phil Bolger's designs are so simple they beg to be built.
    I couldn't agree more! - Dynamites 1979 "Instant Boats", 1984 "Build the New Instant Boats" and 2007 "Instant Boatbuilding with Dynamite Payson"

    He also has many fine tidbits about tools, such as how to sharpen a hand saw. I just got an excellent used hardcover copy of his 1979 book for three bucks on Amazon! I highly recommend all three books.

    Also, since I don't think anyone else has mentioned it, take a look at Gavin Atkin's "Ultrasimple Boatbuilding".
    After decades of dreaming about it, this is the book that actually got me going building my own boats.

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