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Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding [Paperback]

George Buehler
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 5 1991

Everybody has the dream: Build a boat in the backyard and sail off to join the happy campers off Pogo Pogo, right? But how? Assuming you aren't independently wealthy, if you want a boat that's really you, you gotta build it yourself.

Backyard boatbuilding has its problems. Building in fiberglass is itchy, smelly, and yields a product that yachting maven L. Francis Herreshoff once called "frozen snot." Ferrocement, once all the rage, has pretty much sunk from favor, if you catch the drift. But there's still wood, right? Ah, wood. Nature's perfect material. You can build in the time-honored traditions of the Golden Age of Yachting, loving crafting intricate joints in rare tropical hardwoods, steaming swamp oak butts to sinuous shapes, holding the whole thing together with nonferrous fastenings that cost a buck or better each. Does that sound like boatbuilding for everyperson?

What about the currently fashionable wood/epoxy boatbuilding? You butter regular old wood with Miracle Whip, stick it together in the shape of a boat, and off you go, right? Epoxy works, but They don't exactly give it away; nor is it exactly a benign substance. Suiting up like Homer Simpson heading for a fun-filled day at the nuclear power plant isn't exactly the aesthetic boatbuilding experience many of us are looking for.

Where does that leave us? In the capable hands of George Buehler, who honors the timeless traditions of the sea all right, but those from the other side of the boatyard tracks. Buehler draws his inspiration from centuries of workboat construction, where semiskilled fishermen built rugged, economical boats from everyday materials in their own backyards, and went to sea in them in all kinds of weather, not just when it was pleasant.

Buehler's boats sail on every ocean and perform every task, from long-term liveaboards in Norwegian fjords to a traveling doctor's office in Alaska. This book contains complete plans for seven cruising boats--from a 28-foot sailboat to a 55-foot power cruiser. All the information you need is here, including step-by-step instructions honed by nearly 20 years of supplying boat plans to backyard builders--and helping them out when they get into trouble.

Buehler is anarchic, heretical, and occasionally profane; his book is West Coast counterculture meets traditional hardchine workboat construction, leavened with hardnosed common sense and penny-pinching economy. This book is for those who look around them and see that much of what is done in the world today--whether in yachting or politics or economics or interpersonal relationships--is based not on logic but on conforming and meeting other people's expectations. This book is most definitely NOT about either. It is about the realization of dreams.

If you believe that everyone who wants a cruising boat can have one . . .

If you see beauty beneath the fish scales and work scars of a commercial fishing boat . . .

If you want to build a simple, rugged, economical, good-looking cruising boat--power or sail--using everyday lumberyard materials and few skills other than perseverance, this is the book for you. Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding tells you how to build extraordinary boats using the most ordinary skills and materials, with complete plans, instructions, and specifications for seven real cruising boats ranging from a 28-foot sailboat to a 55-foot power cruiser.

"Build wooden boats the Buehler way, which is to say inexpensively, yet like the proverbial brick outhouse."--WoodenBoat

Richly flavored with personal advice and anecdotes as well as a wealth of valuable information."--American Sailing Association

"Everyone will revere this book."--The Ensign

Frequently Bought Together

Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding + Boatbuilding + Boatbuilding Manual, Fifth Edition
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``A rowdy, detailed, informative, sometimes profane and immensely practical compendium of boatbuilding techniques, comments and philosophy. Buehler's thumbnail descriptions. . .are as clear and concise as you will get. But best of all, Buehler believes you can have as much fun building your boat as you intend to have sailing it.'' (Sailing)

``How to build wodden boats the Buehler way; which is to say, inexpensively, yet like the proverbial brick outhouse.'' (WoodenBoat)

``With an eye to economy and ease, Buehler has modernized wooden boatbuilding processes just enough to allow even the unskilled (and underfunded) to succeed.'' (Boatbuilder)

``George Buehler is a throwback to an earlier, more self-reliant time. His theme is that it isn't necessary to build `approved' style yachts in an `approved' fashion, it is more important to get on with building and using boats!'' (American Sailor)

About the Author

George Buehler was born in Oregon in 1948, and has been messing around with boats ever since his Sainted Mother gave him a copy of Scuppers the Sailor Dog. Buehler resides with his wife and two dogs on Whidbey Island, Washington, where he is known for the sterling qualities of his friends, his kindness to stray dogs and abandoned boats, and his collection of bad habits. He's a fair shot with a pistol, and a Croquet Ace.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Although this book will tell you how a large boat can be built inexpensively, the fact remains that a small boat can be built even less expensively. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Building a HEAVY boat July 7 2004
George Buehler builds boats based on northwest workboats. This book is not about building with fiberglass or steel or aluminum, it's about building with wood. A workboat from the northwest has two qualities that animate all of Buehler techniques and designs: they are made out of wood and, being from a part of the country where there are many forests, use lots of it and they are simple.
The designs presented in the book and most of the techniques are all based on chine-designed hulls. There is not much here about building carvel planked, round bottomed boats, nor anything about multi-chine designs, only hard chine very heavy craft that will be very tough for a very long time. Performance is not in the author's vocabulary.
This approach allows the author to use less than optimum quality materials and, accordingly, save a great deal of money. However, if you happen to reside in a part of the country where wood is less plentiful, you are going to have a hard time following the design principles that Buehler lays out and you are not going to recognize the same savings. Also, this book was published in 1991. A great deal has happened to the availability of timber since then.
What Buehler is very good at is debunking the myth that you need to spend top dollar on things that the industry says you have to have (e.g. galvanized stays work just as well as stainless steel stays for about a third of the cost). His emphasis is getting the builder safely into the water and there is a lot to be said for that. It's unfortunate though, that an acceptance of more modern and lighter weight building techniques that achieve the same level of safety could not be more explored. But then, that would be a different book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When You Forget You Are Doing It For Fun.... Nov. 30 2002
Some hobbies can grow into overwhelmingly large projects. After a while, it could become drudgery and you start to wonder why you started doing something like this. Building or renovating a boat is one such project. Look in the classifieds of boating magazines and count the "partially renovated" boats. Or listen to the endless stories of failed attempts and dollars poured into large structures that never saw the water.
If you are lucky, you have found this book before you have started building your boat. If you are not, this book will still give you some perspective on why you are working on that huge contraption in your garage every weekend. This book tells you what can be done, what costs can be cut and what you can shoot for when you do not need to impress well-heeled shoppers at a boat show or build a boat that will look good on the cover of "Yachting World" with a bikini-clad beauty at the helm. You cannot and should not shoot for the cover of "Yachting World" when you are building your own boat. This book will tell you what you should do. And how to do it.
This book is best read alongside the catalogue of George Buehler's designs. His simple, yet practical boats are not the stuff for glossy magazines, but will no doubt offer just as much sailing pleasure - and safety - for less money. That, according to Buehler, is the advantage of building your own boat. You can cut the costs that go into making the boat "marketable" and concentrate your expenditures on the beef.
Even when you are not building to one of Buehler's designs, you will learn what NOT to do when you boatbuilding project begins to seem like a daunting task. If you are not building to one of his designs, you should own other books on boatbuilding as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best! Oct. 9 2002
By A Customer
I have had this book for over a year. I have read it several times and pick it up quite often just to dream and laugh. He is really funny and right to the point. I have lots of other boatbuilding books, but this is certainly my favorite. I only like power boats, so that's my view point.
If you want to build a boat-- this is really the only book you need. It covers everything and has plans for quite a few boats you can build. I think the 34 ft Alaska is great project. I already own a 35' wood power boat, but it is not constructed half way as sturdy as George's designs. He definetly uses really really heavy frames, which is a good thing! His views on Chine vs Round hulls are right on. His lofting chapter makes it so easy, and he's right, it is. The whole book is really an inspiration! He lets YOU know that YOU can do it. Kudos to George, I really think he has enabled people to achieve their dreams of cruising.
He will save you a bunch of money too. Avoid Marine products unless you really need too use them.
What else can I say. It's worth every penny.
His Troller Book is great too, but this is the best.
Check out his webpage and his diesel duck boats.
George rules!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference Nov. 14 2001
Mr. Buehler's shop manual (that's what it is) is a wonderful reference for those of us interested in building our own boats. It starts at the very beginning, and walks you through the entire process (sometimes in excruciating detail, but I'm certain it will be appreciated while in the middle of construction). My only complaints (and they're minor) are a certain assumption about the reader's level of boating & boatbuilding knowledge (i.e., taking for granted that I understand the difference between a "floor" and the "sole"), and the lack of a glossary of terms (sailing terms, in particular, are totally foreign to me, as I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in sailing). Again, these are minor complaints, and I am sure that as I build my reference library for this project, other works will provide the answers. Also, in several cases throughout the book, a question I had was answered a few pages later. Like I said, very minor stuff.
Overall, this book, when taken with Mr. Buehler's excellent "The Troller Yacht Book," make wonderful additions to your boating library. Highly recommended, both of them.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Boatbuilding for the common man
How to build a boat. when you don't have a whole factory floor. Megabucks for rigging and outfitting. Fancy tools. Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2002 by mostly Cajun
5.0 out of 5 stars Backyard Boatbuilding
I am a new hobbyist in the boatbuilding field and this book was very informative. The tips of preparing your building area was very good and easy to interpret. Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2002 by Ronald Tallent
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book on boat building
This is my favourite book on boat building. Be careful, because this book will make you dream day and night. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2002 by Giuseppe Bianco
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep It Simple, Stupid
I have read several books which presume to instruct the reader in boatbuiling. Buehler's book was one of the first I read and remains, in my humble opinion, to be the best. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2001 by Rodger Mathews
5.0 out of 5 stars How boatbuilding books should be written.
As a wooden boatbuilding teacher, I must recomend reading materials to my students, some of which do not read all that well. Mr. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2000 by Thaddeus J. Van Gilder
5.0 out of 5 stars My first boat
I am presently building the 32-feet Mystic by Ted Brewer. One of the main reason why I dared to start on the project was George Bueler's book (borrowed from my brother). Read more
Published on July 14 2000 by Lars Silen
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant reality tests for the dreamer
George Buehler is well known as the designer of the economical Diesel Duck series of ocean going troller style motorboats. Read more
Published on Dec 28 1999 by Ed O'Rourke
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone considering building their own boat.
I first toyed with the idea of building a boat some ten years ago, and when I was ready for one, the current cost of a custom built boat returned me to exploring the possibility of... Read more
Published on June 2 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Correction!
Boy, all these nice reviews are very flattering! However, the one where the comment is the review is about "an out of print or early edition" is mistook. Read more
Published on March 7 1999
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