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So, you are new to wooden ship building and are wondering where to start to learn the terminology, methodology and all that sort of stuff.  Don’t feel bad – it is intimidating at times and can seem like a foreign language!

 

Figuring out where to start to try and understand the ins and outs is a challenge.  There are, to be sure, many exceptional books that describe the process of building a model.  Some, more than others, relate the process back to the days of old when a shipwright worked as much from intuition and experience as from formal plans and blueprints.  To understand how the shipwrights of old built a wooden ship is an interesting (and sometimes confusing) journey.  The brief list of references provided below are not intended to cover the total breadth of shipbuilding, but rather to allow you to sample the flavors and textures over a period of about 120 years.  There are, to be sure, older references, and there are newer ones, but these will place you in the heart of the most heavily modeled time periods.

 

The following list of downloadable resources is far from complete – in fact, it is only a beginning.  There are so many more!  It is also, and for this I apologize up front, nearly exclusively in the English language.  You see, I don’t read nor speak anything other than English and some teenagerisms (and a smattering of baby talk), so I really couldn’t say whether a French or Dutch document was describing building a boat or baking a cake, so to avoid leading you too far astray I have steered away from those resources.  I do have a few which, if you speak the language, I will gladly share.

 

So – in no particular order, and for your reading pleasure, here is what I would consider to be the Introduction to Shipbuilding 101 list of readings (all are no longer protected by copyright).

 

David Steel - The shipwright's vade-mecum (1805)

http://archive.org/details/shipwrightsvade00steegoog

 

John Fincham - An introductory outline of the practice of ship-building (1825)

http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009723747

 

John W. Griffiths - Treatise on marine and naval architecture; or, Theory and practice blended in ship building (1854)

http://archive.org/details/treatiseonmarin00grifgoog

 

----- The ship-builder's manual: and nautical referee (1856)

http://books.google.com/books?id=el9JAAAAYAAJ

 

------ The Progressive Ship Builder, Volume 1 (1875)

http://books.google.com/books?id=IoJIAAAAYAAJ

 

------ The progressive ship builder, Volume 2 (1876)

http://books.google.com/books?id=CIJIAAAAYAAJ

 

Richard Montgomery Van Gaasbeek - A practical course in wooden boat and ship building (1919)

http://books.google.com/books?id=MvsOAAAAYAAJ

 

Charles G. Davis - The building of a wooden ship (1918)

http://books.google.com/books?id=Zu4OAAAAYAAJ

 

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