Fine Wood Water Craft Designer, Boat Builder Canoes and Kayaks


For The Self Educated Small Wood Boat Builder
Reading For The Self Educated Small Wood Boat Builder

Books For The Self Educated Small Wood Boat Builder and Designer

Here is a sample of a wooden boat design and build library. This list was compiled as a reference to consider if you are interested in further study of wooden boat building.

My path began with with three kayak books to study 3 different methods: skin-on-frame, wood strip and stitch and glue.

I attempt to provide a sentence or two explaining why I found the book useful.

Canoe Building & Design

Canoe Craft Ted Moores and Marilyn Mohr

If you can afford to buy ony one canoe building book, especially strip canoe building, I highly recommend this one. I have yet to built a strip boat, however when I come to glassing, trimming and finishing a canoe, this book always lays ready on my bench for reference. The illustrations are beautiful, the photos appropriate and writing clear and understandable. I built the strong back described when I built my lapstrake canoe.
Firefly Books, Willowdale Ontario, or Camden House; 1983; 1994. 145 pages with plans

Building a Strip Canoe Gil Gilpatrick

It packs good solid material and it offers the reader an excellent section on caning canoe seats in the traditional manner, with plans.
DeLorme Publishing Co., Yarmouth, Maine 04096

Building the Maine Guide Canoe Jerry Stelmok, Lyons and Burford

An infinitely valuable resource for the person interested in building, repairing or owning a wood and canvas canoe. It offers a rich history of this canoe's heritage and technology.

The Wood and Canvas Canoe - A Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration and Maintenance Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow

This is a very well done book on the topic. Tilbury House, Publishers 2 Mechanic Street, Gardiner, Maine 04345

Featherweight Boatbuilding Mac McCarthy

A gold mine when I built my first glued lapstrake canoe. WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine 04616, 1996

Canoe Rig, Sailpower for Antique and Traditional Canoes Todd E. Bradshaw

Perhaps one of my all time very favorite books! It is the most comprehensive books on the subject of powering your canoe by sail. Utterly delightful, comprehensive and easy to understand. Todd has been an active contributor on the Wooden Boat Forums. WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine 04616, 2000

Ultralight Boatbuilding, How You Can Build Light, Elegant, and Simple Boats and Canoes using Plywood and Epoxy Thomas J. Hill

International Marine Publishing, Camden, Maine, 134 pages1987

Building Sweet Dream: An Ultralight Solo Canoe for Single and Double Paddle Marc F. Pettingill

Tiller, St. Michaels, MD, 21663 1996

Canoes and Kayaks for the Backyard Builder Skip Snaith

It covers the construction of a Wee Lassie type solo canoe and lots of kayak building coverage. A lot of useful info, however, today, we're not likely to tape boats on the outside of the skin as described in this book. International Marine Camden, Maine 1989

The Canoe Shop, Three Elegant Wooden Canoes Anyone Can Build Chris Kulczycki

A follow-up to his very instructive "The Kayak Shop," this book introduced us to the patented lap stitch technique which will net you an attractive lapstrake style solo canoe. Instructive when developing the layout of the plans for "2 Sheet Solo Boats." Ragged Mountain Press/McGraw Hill, Camden Maine, 2001

Building Your Kevlar Canoe, A Foolproof Method and Three Foolproof Designs James Moran

I love the idea of creating my own kevlar canoe. If I wrote this book, I'd first design and build a strip boat, then use it for the mold, instead of the method described in the book. 184 pages, 134 illus., International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, P.O. Box 220, Camden Maine, 1995

More Building Classic Small Craft John Gardner

Building Classic Small Craft, Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 boats

This compiled edition, of his two previous books was an awakening to me. If you are just entering the world of small wood watercraft, put this at the top of your wish list. It should be one of your first books to buy. It's especially beneficial to not only help you identify small wood water craft by type and style, he does a great job describing the building methods of the various types. 1997 International Marine Publishing, Camden, Maine, See Chapter entitled "4 Canoes" for some excellent canoe coverage. "A Must Buy Book!" Eskimo Tom

Canoe History

These books I enjoy as they give some very informative view of the early written history of the canoe in America.

Rushton, His Life and Times in American Canoeing Atwood Manley

This book rocked my world. I was hip deep in 2 new light weight sea kayaks I built from CLC plans thinking I was a lightweight building diety. Then I read this book! I happened to pick it up at Piragas on my way through Ely. I was solo camping on an island on Lake Jeanette when I read it cover to cover by oil lamp. Additional information available from the Adirondack Museum. Adirondack Museum, PO Box 99, Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812. The Adirondack Museum, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York, 13244-5160, 1968

The Art of the Canoe with Joe Seliga Jerry Stelmok

I purchased this book at Piragas in Downtown Ely. I was motivated to buy because it was autographed by Joe Seliga whom I once met at a Dance during one of the Voyageur Winter Festivals many years ago. His wife had passed and he was no longer building canoes, I felt honored to at least have shaken his hand. He and his surviving canoes are highly revered in these parts. I just wanted to learn more about him and his craft. MBI Publishing Company, St. Paul MN 55101-3885, 2002.

Canoe and Boat Building A Complete Manual for Amateurs W. P. Stephens

This text inspires my designs and dreams for my own sailing canoe. Any student of canoe design would be well advised to get a hold of this book. Many useable lines are available, and how to knowledge for traditional building.

I purchased Reprints of the Plates from Mystic Seaport Museum which are excellent. I first read it online and printed the text found on the Web from the Dragonfly website. It was finally republished in soft cover Dover (2006). The plates in the Dover reprint are quite reduced. Originally published: Forest and Stream Publishing Company, New York, 1891.

The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America Edwin Tappan Adney and Howard I Chappelle

Being the self respecting amateur builder and american small watercraft historian that I am, I actually have two copies of this one, an original hard cover and a soft cover for frequent use. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C., 1983

The Story of the Chestnut Canoe, 150 years of Canadian Canoe Building Kenneth Solway

Nimbus Publishing Limited, Halifax, NS B3K 5N5 1997

Birchbark Canoe, Living Among the Algonquin David Gidmark

Firefly Books, 1997

Kayak, Kayak Building/Design

Kayaks You Can Build, An Illustrated Guide to Plywood Construction Ted Moores and Greg Rössel

Here is one of the crown jewels of stitch and glue construction for kayaks. I also recommend it to those building stitch and glue canoes. I had personally reflected on many of the topics so well explained and presented in this text. If you want your first stitch and glue boat to look and weigh like you had it built by a professional, find this book. If you can only afford one book on stitch and glue kayaks, this is the one I would suggest. Firefly Books, P.O. Box 1338, Ellicott Station, Buffalo, New York, 14205, 2004,

The Aleutian Kayak: Origins, Construction, and Use of the Traditional Seagoing Baidarka Wolfgang Brink

The 1st sea kayak building book I ever bought. I still have to get around to building this one, it is on my boat building bucket list. 1995, 176 p. International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press P.O. Box 220, Camden Maine

The Strip-Built Sea Kayak, Three Beautiful Boats you can Build Nick Schade

The 2nd sea kayak building book I ever bought. Not only is this book a comprehensive resource for strip building, Nick devotes a substantial amount of space to design, which served as my introduction to design for small slender watercraft. A very well done book, I highly recommend it. International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, P.O. Box 220, Camden Maine, 1998

The Kayak Shop, Three Elegant Wooden Kayaks Anyone Can Build Chris Kulczycki

This was the 3rd of the 1st three kayak building books I bought. After much deliberation, this was the technique I decided would be my first build. International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, P.O. Box 220 Camden Maine, 1993

Kayak Craft, Fine Woodstrip Kayak Construction Ted Moores

This is a book I wish I wrote. If you are planning on building a wood strip kayak, this is one of the 3 books I would suggest you track down. WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine 04616, 1999

Baidarka George Dyson

I like the way this guy thinks. This is an enjoyable read and it is great when you have the opportunity and resources to think big. Alaska Northwest Books 2208 NW Market Street, Suite 300, Seatlle, WA 98107, 1986

Wood and Canvas Kayak Building George Putz

International Marine Ragged Mountain Press, P.O. Box 220, Camden Maine, 1990

For The Self Educated Small Wood Boat Builder
Books For The Self Educated Small Wood Boat Builder


Building Small Boats Greg Rössel

I put this at the top of this section because I feel if you were going to buy one book on small wood boat construction, this would be the one I recommend first. It is contemporary, I love the illustrations and having read it, I want to build the boat it contains. Easy to read and comprehend the descriptions and illustrations. WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine, 3rd printing, 2003

Boatbuilding, A Complete Handbook of Wooden Boat Construction Howard I. Chapelle

This would be my first runner up for wood boat building and easily rates number one if you plan on projects more significant than that in Greg Rössel's book above. I happened upon this book first during my path. It is certainly more comprehensive and could be retitled A Complete Handbook of Wooden Yacht Construction although many size craft are mentioned. I just love the illustrations in this book. Between this and his yacht design book, I consider the two instrumental in my love of "reading" old boat plans. W.W. Norton, 1941/1969

Boatbuilding, Clinker Plywood Manual Iain Oughtred

I enjoyed this book throughly. It was very useful when I built the Iain Oughtred MacGregor Sailing Canoe. It is an excellent resource on glued lap construction. I'm a big fan of his designs. WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine 04616, 1998

Devlin's Boat Building, How to Build Any Boat The Stitch and Glue Way Samual Devlin

This was an inspirational book for me. International Marine Ragged Mountain Press, P.O. Box 220, Camden Maine 1996

The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction

The folks here were on the cutting edge of epoxy construction back in the day. Any edition of these books are useful for folks using epoxy construction. New 4th Revised edition, 1985

How to Build Wooden Boats, With 16 Small-Boat Designs Edwin Monk

Dover Publications, Inc. New York (revised edition from a 1934 Charles Scribner's Sons edition under the title Small Boat Building for the Amateur, with 16 Modern Small Boat Design, Rowboats, Sailboats, Outboards, a 125 class Hydroplane and a runabout.

Instant Boats Harold H. (Dynamite) Payson

H.H. Payson and Co. South Thomaston, Maine 2001 Originally 1979 by International Marine

10 Wooden Boats You Can Build Peter H. Spectre Series Editor

The Wooden Boat Series, WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine1995

Traditional Boat Building Made Easy, A 12 foot skiff for oar and sail Richard Kolin

WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine 1996

Painting and Varnishing Peter H. Spectre Series Editor

This is a practical book. If you want to learn all you need to know about the topic and don't want to pour of years of back copies of Wooden Boat, this is the book to get. The Wooden Boat Series, WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine 1995

Planking and Fastening Peter H. Spectre Series Editor, 1995

The Wooden Boat Series see above

Boat Design

All the Uffa Fox Books!

All The Phil Bolger Books!

Boats With an Open Mind was my first introduction to a designer who is one of my personal heros. This extensive softcover introduced me to his previous books which I religiously tracked down on eBay, Amazon, Adlibris and Powells bookstore in Portland. Most all these books were acquired via these channels.

Small Boats Philip C. Bolger

International Marine, 1973

Different Boats Philip C. Bolger

International Marine, 1980

30 Odd Boats Philip C. Bolger

International Marine, 1982

Boats with an Open Mind, Seventy-Five Unconventional Designs and Concepts Philip C. Bolger

International Marine, 1994

Theoretical Navel Architecture Edward L. Atwood

I found this one haunting the shelves in the boating section of Powells Books in Portland and couldn't resist. Obviously there are more current resources available but this is an enjoyable look back on what we would have been reading back when gas and diesel engines were becoming viable alternatives to sail and wind propulsion. Longman's Green and Company, London, 1922

Boats, Oars and Rowing R.D. Culler

International Marine, 1978

Sail and Oar John Leather

International Marine, 1982

Elements of Yacht Design Norman L. Skene

Sheridan House, Inc. 145 Palisade Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522, 2001 (originally Published 1938)

Sensible Cruising Designs L. Francis Herreshoff

This book could also be listed under Plans Study Books however it really is written from a design perspective. Even features a double paddle canoe. International Marine, 1973

Aero-Hydrodynamics of Sailing C.A. Marchaj

International Marine, 1979/ Revised 1988

Principles of Yacht Design, 2nd Edition Lars Larsson and Rolf E Eliasson

International Marine, (1994) 2000 Revised

Design of Sailing Yachts, 2nd Edition, Rev. Pierre Gutelle

Warsash Publishing, Southampton, England

Yacht and Small Craft Design, From Principles to Practice Gorgon Trower

Helmsman Books, Crowood Press, England, 1992

Performance Advances in Small Boat Racing Edited by Stewart Walker

W.W. Norton and Company, 1969

For The Self Educated Small Wood Boat Builder
Books For The Self Educated Small Wood Boat Builder

Plans Study Books

Plans Study Books are simply catalogs of plans you can study before making a purchase decision. For the budding small boat designer this kind of "reading" helps inspire and give direction.

Boat Plans at Mystic Seaport Anne and Maynard Bray

Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc. Mystic, CT, 2000

87 Boat Designs, A Catalog of Small Boat Plans from Mystic Seaport Benjamin A.G. Fuller

Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc. Mystic, CT, 2002

100 Boat Designs Reviewed, Design Commentaries by the ExpertsPeter H. Spectre Series Editor

The Wooden Boat Series WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine , 1997

Fifty Wooden Boats, A Catalog of Building Plans Volume 1984/1999

Thirty Wooden Boats, A Second Catalog of Building Plans1988/1997

Forty Wooden Boats, A Third Catalog of Building Plans 1995/1999

Editors of Wooden Boat Magazine

WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine

American Small Sailing Craft, Their Design, Development, and Construction Howard I. Chapelle

W.W. Norton and Company, 1951

The National Watercraft Collection, United States National Museum Bulletin 219 Howard I. Chappelle

Smithsonian Institution, 1960

Sailing Rigs

103 Sailing Rigs Phil Bolger

What I enjoy about this book is the simple, straight forward approach to covering a vast otherwise complicated topic. It helped me make sense of why designers use the sailing rigs they employ in their designs. Phil Bolger and Friends Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1998

Make Your Own Sails, A Handbook for the Amateur and Professional Sailmaker R.M. Bowker and S.A. Budd

St. Martin's Press, 1966


Lofting Allan H. Vaitses

WoodenBoat Books, Brooklin, Maine, 1999

The Practical Loftsman

Hull Division USN, 1918