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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.
Read it for his sense of debunking the modern sailing myths and to help you think out of the box. But if you are building in metals, strip or cold molding, or fiberglass, or anything which would be considered other than heavy displacement, this book will not help you much.