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The Boatbuilder's Apprentice: The Ins and Outs of Building Lapstrake, Carvel, Stitch-and-Glue, Strip-Planked, and Other Wooden Boa Hardcover – January 5, 2007

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The Boatbuilder's Apprentice: The Ins and Outs of Building Lapstrake, Carvel, Stitch-and-Glue, Strip-Planked, and Other Wooden Boa + Boatbuilding Manual, Fifth Edition + Building Small Boats
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

There is a peculiar form of insomnia that afflicts amateur boatbuilders. It consists of lying awake at night, reviewing the details of a boatbuilding project and wondering, "How am I going to do that?" Greg Rössel helps answer those questions.

Wooden boats have been called "the most lifelike" of man's creations. Their beauty can inspire even inexperienced woodworkers to attempt their construction, but their complexity can bedevil the most determined. In The Boatbuilder's Apprentice, longtime WoodenBoat writer and professional boatbuilder Greg Rössel helps weekend builders choose the best boat design and construction method for their first, second, or twentieth project.

Beginning with the question, 'why wood?,' and focusing on wooden boats less than 20 feet long, Greg provides a complete overview of the methods used to build small wooden boats, from traditional carvel or lapstrake planking to modern stitch-and-glue, strip-planked, glued-lap, cold molding, and others. He discusses their pros and cons, their adaptability to different boat types, and their degrees of difficulty in both construction and maintenance. He explains the basics of boat design and of hull form and function and helps the beginner decide which type of boat will best suit his or her needs, skills, and desires.

Greg also covers the essentials of every boatbuilding project, including:

  • Tools, wood types, fasteners, adhesives, and coatings;
  • Shop setup and safety;
  • Whether to build right-side up or upside down;
  • How to go about steam bending, cutting rabbets, scarfing, and laminating;
  • Oar and spar making;
  • Building knees, gaff jaws, and cleats, and taking the lines off an old classic.

Writing with wit and an engaging style, Rössel makes light work of that most feared of all processes for the beginning boatbuilder-lofting. He shares his extensive experience on problem solving, shows you how to work efficiently, and offers hundreds of ingenious techniques for surmounting age-old difficulties. He also includes a glossary as well as an extensive appendix of sources for plans and materials.

About the Author

Greg Rössel is the author of Building Small Boats, coauthor of Kayaks You Can Build, and a long-time contributor to WoodenBoat magazine.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 1 edition (January 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071464050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071464055
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Robert Holtzman on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
All too often, first-time boat builders select a design mainly because they like the looks of it (often making their decision based on a small-scale profile plan or photo that they see on a magazine or online), order the plans, and then start trying to figure out how to build the thing. Then they discover that the design is intended for a certain method of construction (lapstrake, cold-molding, whatever) and they buy a book that explains how to do it. At that point, they may find that they've bitten off more than they're willing to chew and just chuck it, or they may actually begin building the boat before reaching that conclusion and ending up chucking considerably more in terms of time and money. Maybe they even finish the boat, and then find out that, while it looks nice, it doesn't really suit their needs.

This is the book that every aspiring boatbuilder should read first -- before choosing the design, before deciding what construction method to use. It assumes very little knowledge on the reader's part and proceeds to explain just about everything that the first time boatbuilder should know before he spends money on plans or planks. Like: how to figure out what kind of boat is suitable to your needs. Like: how to assess the performance characteristics any given boat design and determine whether they will satisfy said needs. Like: what are the differences between carvel, lapstrake, cold-molding, strip-building (etc.)? How difficult are they? What do they require in the way of special tools, time, skills, money, maintenance? Once you know the answers to these questions, *then* you'll be ready to decide what boat to build and how to build it.

Author Rossel gives the ins and outs of tools and materials. He explains how to set up a good, cheap, workable, *portable* boatshed.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. Ford Reid on February 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Although it's not too old, my copy of Rossel's book is dog-eared and stained. That's because it lives not on a shelf but on the work bench in my shop. I refer to it, and Rossel's earlier book, frequently. Building a boat involves hundreds of small tasks, some of them a bit tricky. Because many of those only come up infrequently, it's easy for even the relatively experienced amateur builder to need a little help remembering how it's done. This book is perfect for that.
It is equally well suited to the beginner. I wish it had been around when I first started messing around with wooden boats. It really is the next best thing to being a real life apprentice to a master boatbuilder. If you can't build a boat with the help of this book, maybe you should consider taking up golf, or some other hobby.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Sanders on October 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book! I have been planning (dreaming) of building a wooden boat for a number of years. Only space and time have held me up. Now that I have both, I can begin serious research of the various methods and materials and set those dreams in motion. I have a couple other well-acclaimed books on the topic of wooden boat building, but they are focused on details of design, engineering and frame structure which is good, but they was too detailed and seemed to pass over the topics I needed to understand planking and such. This book was perfect. The author had separate chapters on each planking method as well as a rather exhaustive explanation and illustrations on the crucial task of lofting and steaming the frames. I wish I had bought this book first. I could have started my dream sooner and with confidence. If you want a good, useful overview of wooden boat building, start with this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Brown on January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Step 2 is to purchase a book that describes in detail the construction of the particular boat you plan to build (and order detailed plans if not included in that book). But to make that decision, this book is the perfect place to begin.

The introductory chapter, "Selecting a Small Boat to Build," provides an excellent overview of style and design considerations based on the primary use or method of propulsion of particular types of small wooden boats.

Subsequent sections describe Methods of Hull Construction, Setting Up Shop, Building Techniques, and Boats to Build.

While this book does not have plans for any one boat (see Step 2 above), the author provides detailed descriptions of construction techniques, conventional wisdom, etc. It is a treasure trove of information. I wish I had seen this book before I read the "Step 2" books. I now understand the pros/cons, strengths/weaknesses of various types of small wooden boats and construction methods and have been able to make a well-informed decision about what boat I will build.

Though I've decided what boat to build, this book will be an essential reference through the construction process and any future boatbuilding projects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Our Man in Texas on February 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Appears to be a rehash of an early book by Mr. Rossel and not very in depth. Much better books out there, including his earlier and very good book "Building Small Boats.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tony H on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book can be appreciated by boat builders and do it your selfers. It has great photos, historical and practical information. Definatly a coffee table book for any one who enjoys any wood working craftsmanship. This book helped me build a Lap Strake dingy. It was a better resource than the instruction book that came with the template paterns I purchased to build my dingy.
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The Boatbuilder's Apprentice: The Ins and Outs of Building Lapstrake, Carvel, Stitch-and-Glue, Strip-Planked, and Other Wooden Boa
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