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Boatbuilder’s Notebook Review

On April 2, 2014, in News From Gayle, by Gayle Brantuk

by Dan Hennis

I just got my order last Monday the 24th of March, and started reading the Boatbuilder’s Notebook.  The short conclusion is that since I am semi-retired, I finished it in exactly a week.  However, …

12-429As taught me by my 3rd grade teacher, the first thing to do is to check the book for damage quality of assembly as well as properly break it in.  In less than 30 seconds I was impressed that this notebook is, to speak conservatively, FANTASTIC!  The spiral binding and quality paper shout that this book is expecting to be used, … a lot.  AND, … NO BREAK-IN REQUIRED!

In preface to my next comments I offer the following precursor to define my stance.  I am an educated and experienced researcher, designer, fabricator, builder and service tester.  At nearly 60 years of age, I have extensive schooling in automotive, aeronautical, marine, and most kinds of land-based constructions.  I have built land vehicles of all types, boats, tools, equipment, and buildings of all kinds.  My schooling has included both years of formal education, and on-the-job apprenticeships, and personal study & research.  That being said, in all my years of training and experience, I have also learned one thing that this book seems to help rectify.  That is in my words, “Schooled people are not always educated, and educated people are not always smart, and smart people are not always skilled.”  So grab a book, and let’s move on…

As I have read each page and topic, I have been impressed at the logical layout of the selected subjects discussed.  The content of each is basic, and covers that amount needed to keep the beginner on track to start their project, as well as enough pertinent, more technical information to gently help the expert complete his masterpiece in style.

The wording is easy to understand, and one is not bogged down in highly complex terms or dialog.  And as a sign of well-thought-out content, the text is not overly simplified, and is able to keep the attention of the reader, no matter the level of education.  This one attribute sets this resource guide apart from all the others I have bought over the years on this subject.  Early on, I noticed a modest but significant number pictures, graphics, and diagrams to help explain the subject at hand.

In my experience, I have often looked for resource guides that would be a ready-reference manual for the task at hand.  Even though I am trained and have extensive experience in all aspects of construction, I can not remember everything, all the time.  That is where this notebook comes in handy.  The large and easy-to-read charts and graphs make quick work of sizing fasteners, members, or what-have-you.  I sometimes found myself expanding in my mind, the ideas suggested in the text.  And as is so rare in a good manual these days, the ideas expressed allow for recent developments and engineering advances, as they are introduced.  That alone makes this notebook a valued source guide to keep at hand.  I think that after reading this manual, it would answer many of the reoccurring questions that frequently appear on the builder’s forum.  I think that relative to its importance, this handbook should be mandatory with the first set of plans ever bought.  I was able to read and digest the content in just six days. And I am sure it will not be my last study of its concepts.

I can honestly say in melodramatic form, that this notebook will proudly sit near my Holy Bible, Machinist’s handbook, Shooter’s bible, and countless volumes of Chilton’s on my book case shelves.  And just as I read my Bible or other Scriptures daily, I expect to refer to this notebook almost daily while I am deep in the process of a project. Plain and simple, it is that valuable.

Lastly, I would like to thank Mr. Witt, and his energetic staff for the dedication to the business and for compiling and creating  The Boatbuilder’s Notebook.

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