About in Books:
February 04: When
I set out to build a boat, I didn't realize that I also would
be building a significant addition to my library collection.
Here are the books that I purchased and read in
the course of making The
I'v made many links to books, booksellers, publishers,
and people mentioned on this page. I had a lot of fun annotating
this Boatliography (in 2002).
Philip C. Boats
with an Open Mind: Seventy-Five Unconventional Designs and
This is the ultimate plywood boatbuilding
dream book. I like Bolger’s designs, and I like his writing
the Six-Hour Canoe. [Design
of the canoe, Mike O'Brien. Illustrations by John Montague.
Lines, plans, drawings by William Bartoo. Tiller Publishing:
1994, 1998.] The canoe plan book came
before the skiff plan book (see
next entry), and although the canoe is clearly easier
to build, the plans are far less clear and helpful that the
skiff plans are. I found it helpful to look at this book as
a way of seeing into the minds of the designers.
Richard, and Montague, John. Building
The Weekend Skiff. [Tiller
Publishing: 1997.] Lots of drawings, text, and photos.
There are a few miscues and one or two somewhat misleading drawings,
but in general the book is a gem.
Boats to Build and Use. [Mystic
bought this one while I was still looking about for a design.
It is interesting, but optional if you're going to focus
on boxy boats of plywood construction. Still, Gardner is
an enormously kind and intelligent writer about boatbuilding;
you deserve that.
An Illustrated Guide to Fine Woodstrip Construction.
and Expanded. Firefly
Books Ltd.: 2000.]
is another one I bought while still casting about for a
design to build. Good detail; many photos. Strip-build boats
are sheathed on both sides with fiberglass and resin.
Thomas Firth. Boats
to Go: 24 Easy-to-Build Boats that Go Fast with Low Power. [International
Marine: 1996. Originally published as Low-Resistance Boats:
1992.] I don't like multi-hull
boats,by Jones or anyone else, but I do like to read about
boat designs and the building of them.
Harold “Dynamite”. Build
the Instant Catboat. [Harold
H. Payson & Co.: 1997. The hayseed
of boatbuilding. That said, he’s also one of the better
writers, and someone I would like to meet. He loves what
he does, and it shows. And he autographs his books if you
buy from him direct.
Harold “Dynamite”. Build
the New Instant Boats. [International
Marine, 1984.] The sections
on materials, tools, and techniques is good; the section
on boat plan options is excellent. Lots of scaled-down
plans and some photos.
Harold “Dynamite”. How
to Build the Gloucester Light Dory. [WoodenBoat
Books: 1982.] This
book is mostly a curiosity; I don't think I'll be building
one, but the many photos and the text offer tips for
building boats in general.
Trailers and Tow Vehicles: A User's Guide.
Marine: 1991.] Old but still good. Everything
you want and need to know about boat trailers.
to Build Boat Trailers. [Second
Edition. GLEN-L Marine Designs: 1996.] This
one gives a sense of the challenges in finding a welder
who will follow the plans.
techniques and tips
Sailor’s Sketchbook: 76 Do-It-Yourself Projects to Improve
Your Sailboat. [International
Marine: 1983.] This
book is long on good drawings; the content is offshore sailboats.
Fred P. Boat
Joinery & Cabinetmaking Simplified. [International
Marine: 1993.] The hidden treasure here are the many
good drawings of jigs and homebuilt powertools.
Backyard Boatbuilding. [International
Marine: 1991.] The
hippie in the boatbuilding woodpile. This is a book about
cheap and dependable offshore sailboats, but the tips and
tricks, and the mindset, are portable. And he writes well.
And in an amusing way.
Thomas J. Ultralight
Marine: 1987.] I found this book to be helpful when
I wanted to do something like make some stern knees and a
breasthook. Clear text and photos.
wife is absolutely dead-set against a gas motor for the
Harmonica canal boat/shantyboat that I'm
building, so I'm learning about electric options.
12-Volt Bible for Boats. [International
Marine: 1985.] Old but still of great
Boats: The Handbook of Clean, Quiet Boating.
International Marine: 1994. Well-done. Many tables of
technical aspects of electric boats. Good photos.
on this photo to go to the Links page.There
are many links concerning the Erie Canal there.
here to go offsite to see a full-sized version
of the photo above.
Cruising Guide to the New York State Canal System: Champlain,
Erie, Oswego, Cayuga-Seneca. [Northern
Cartographic: 2000.] We
use this guide to dream about bike rides on the Erie
Canal towpath. We'll use it for
trips in the Harmonica,
too. Large format (road atlas size). Good amount of information
about locks and lift
bridges as well as bike paths.
Thomas E., and Sholes, Elizabeth C. Images
of America: Buffalo’s Waterfront.
book, though small, has a wealth of amazing pictures of Buffalo’s
waterways. Many of the photos came from the
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.
Canal: Canoeing America’s Great Waterway.
House: 1997.] Text OK; photos a little better.
Artificial River: The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress,
Wang: 1997.] This
is an expanded doctoral dissertation. The
writer picks among many subjects,
leaving plenty for others to develop. The book by RonaldShaw,
listed next, though longer and more traditional, is less
interesting. I finished this one, but not Shaw’s.
Ronald E. Erie
Water West: A History of the Erie Canal, 1792-1854.
University Press Kentucky:
Everything you want to know about Clinton and the rest
of the politicians, done in traditional style with the
usual sort of admirable competence. In other words, stiff
Houseboats: Independent Living Afloat.
[International Marine: 1992.] One
books about the how-to of houseboat
building with 55-gallon steel drums and such. Good drawings
and text. Covers all the aspects.
A River Way of Life. [The
University Press of Kentucky: 1953.] As you
might be noticing, I read a lot. Most books that I
start, I finish, but this one I can't bring myself
to finish, because when it’ over, I'll be sad. So
I'm about a third of the way along. This one is still
in print. Hubbard projects a wonderful persona, and
and woodcuts are amazing.
And his wife, Anna ... just lovely. You'll fall in
love with her, I'm sure. For a build buff, this one
is pure magic.
Aaronovitch, David. Paddling
to Jerusalem: An Aquatic Tour of Our Small Island.
folks who write about boats are builders first, and
writers second, or third, or worse. Aaronovitch is
the opposite – writer first, paddler second, builder
not at all. But he is funny, frequently, and
honest. Like the others I'm commenting on here, he
present the reader with a persona that satisfies;
someone you would enjoy meeting.
Michael Patrick. The
Annotated Huckleberry Finn,
by Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens). [W.W.Norton:
The first time I read Huckleberry Finn,
I was 8 or 9 and in the hospital with a
bad case of tonsillitis. I'm a sucker for
new editions of the book; I've gotten several.
This one is unique in the number of drawings
and photos. An excellent buy.
William Least. River-Horse:
Across America by Boat. [Penguin
Books: 2001.] William
Least Heat-Moon is a writer
of considerable skill (Blue
Highways), with whom I have a love-hate
relationship. I appreciate his skill, and I enjoy
his works, but I find myself wondering if I would
him. This book, like Raban’s
on the Mississippi, Old
below) describes the thrills and dangers of
boating on big river waters.
A Private Voyage. [Simon
and Schuster: 1987.] Raban takes a sailing
trip around England, in a converted fishing boat.
A Voyage Down the Mississippi. [Vintage
Departures, Vintage Books: 1998.
Originally published by Simon and Schuster, 1981.]
Long trip. Lots of weird folks, and some wonderful
to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meaning.
[Vintage Departures, Vintage Books:1999.]
Raban loves boats, and loves to write. This book weaves
together stories from early explorers of the waters
of the Northwest with a solo trip he makes. Brace yourself
for a big surprise at the end. Honest?
Boats: In Pursuit of the Perfect Craft at an American
one takes the writing to a new level. Ruhlman has
the skills of the best; he makes boatbuilding come
Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific.
Books: 1992.] I never have like Theroux much
as a person, based on the
persona he describes and shows
in his travel books, but at the same time I have
read them all and am waiting for the next one. Go
figure. This book has a constant reference to boats.
and other line items
Charles E. Handbook
of Knots & Splices. [Barnes
& Noble, Inc.]
Essential Knot Book. [International
Hervy Garrett. The
Marlinspike Sailor. [International
Marine: 1993.] Wonderful drawings.
a Boat for Pleasure or Profit.
Mechanics Company: 1941.] This one reminds
me of my father's boat books, boat plans, and
de Graff, Inc.: 1977. Revised American Edition.]
Cold moulding gives complex curves to plywood
boats, but I like the box boats just fine. It
looks like a tremendous amount of bother and blather
-- unless you can't live without a round bilge.
sailmaking, rigging, rigs
Sailing Rigs: Straight Talk. [Phil
Bolger & Friends, Inc.: 1998.] This book gave
me many ideas and lots of technical help in designing a
sail for the Weekend
Todd E. Canoe
Rig: The Essence and the Art: Sailpower
for Antique and Traditional Canoes.
[WoodenBoat Books: 2000.] Bradshaw
covers all aspects of making spars, riggings, and sails,
and he offers many scale drawings of many difference kinds
of sail plans. This book is worth gold to me.
Rigs and Rigging.
Edition. International Marine: 1985,
High-aspect-ratio bermuda rigs. Who needs 'em.
Derek Van, with Haggerty, Don. The
Chinese Sailing Rig: Designing & Building Your
Cay Publications: 1993.] Fun to read about; not too
practical for small sailboats, though. Rivals gaff rigs
Sailmaker’s Apprentice: A Guide for the Self-Reliant Sailor.
Illustrated by Christine Erikson. [International
Marine: 2001.] This book, along with Bolger’s and
Bradshaw’s, completed my booklist for the self-taught Sail
Rigs 101 course that I set out for myself when building
and rigging the Weekend
Stuart H. A
Manual of Sail Trim. [W.W.
Norton: 1985.] Bermuda rigs. Next to useless for the
direction I chose. Extremely technical. Someone had to write
it; glad it wasn't me.
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