Favorite Boat Building Resources

A robust guide to down home boat building, Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding gave me the confidence to begin. I ended up buying the plans for Luna from the author. No hoighty-toighty high-brow nonsense here-- if you want to build a sturdy boat to go to sea in, have little money but a lot of persistence, this is the book for you. Buehler's writing style is eccentic and makes for a fun read. Pour some whiskey over ice and enjoy it.

You might want to put away the whiskey and get out the red wine for this one. The classic reference for wood boat builders, Howard Chapelle's Boatbuilding: A Complete Handbook of Wooden Boat Construction is comprehensive but can be a bit formal and overwhelming for the first time builder. If I had read this book first instead of Buehler's, the dream probably would have died. I do find it useful to learn about all the lovely yachty tidbits that make a boat seaworthy and salty looking. For example, there are plans for a homemade box ventilator that will probably be a hundred dollars less to build than buying something shiny from a chandlery.

At the moment, I have diesel engine parts on my porch, in my living room, and in my bedroom closet. Not sure how exactly they are going to go together yet, but I'm thinking that this book will help me more than anything else I could find. I've only read through the first couple of chapters, but I've been impressed by the clarity with which Calder explains the ins-and-outs of marine diesels. Maybe my $500 Universal clunker will hum just yet.

The Marlinspike Sailor is a charming book that brings to mind the long gone golden age of sail. While some modern day sailors might dismiss the book as a relic from a bygone era, I find this slim volume to be a handy resource for the boat builder on a budget. There are some fantastic instructions for making your own (very attractive) fenders from garden hose and old rope, for example, or salty rope-stropped blocks.