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I recently bought the Kindle version of Lofting a Boat: A Step-By-Step Manual (The Adlard Coles Classic Boat Series).  I seriously don't like reading books on electronic devices, I would rather have the paper copy.  However, I'm curious what others would have to say about this book.  Is it a useful resource?  Is it good for model ship building?  Did I waste my money?

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I've never seen this book, but I've heard good things about it. (Alan Vaiteses' Lofting is my go-to when I need to look up something really technical. I like the spiral binding that lays flat on my drafting table!) I've never seen anything from Adlard Coles that wasn't top notch, though. My guess is it is one of the best of the bunch.


While lofting can get really complicated in some instances, e.g. curved and raked eliptical transom development, it's not rocket science. I think a good grounding in mechanical drawing will be found invaluable. I find  the questions asked by people who are having problems with lofting usually indicate a lack of understanding how three-dimensional engineering drawings work, and of boatbuilding, more than a lack of the more arcane techniques of lofting. Like a lot of things, it's a lot easier to learn by doing it than trying to master it all in your imagination by just reading a book. Get a drawing board, a tee-square, some battens and curves, a good compass and pair of dividers, some hard pencils and a good soft eraser and start trying to draw a set of lines from a table of offsets using the book for reference and I think you'll pick it up quickly enough.


Keep in mind, too, that there are a lot of things that can be developed in lofting that really aren't necessary when building, particularly when building small boats and models. For example, it's a whole lot easier to cut planking rabets using a "fit stick" (a stick the same thickness as your planking that is laid against the frames to see how the plank edge has to fit into the rolling bevel of the rabet) than developing a rabet line, back rabet, and bearding line on the loft floor and they trying to figure out a way to pick those lines up and put them to use cutting your rabets! The same goes for frame bevels. It's often easier to fair the rolling bevels with the frames erected than to try to cut them on a band saw. The bevels need to be worked out when cutting huge frames for a large ship on a massive ship's saw, but for small craft work, you can do the job more quickly and accurately with the frame up using battens, spokeshaves and draw knives. All of which to say that to understand lofting requires knowledge not just of lofting itself, but of mechanical drawing and boat and ship building. Take one out of the equation and the other two get exponentially more difficult to understand.

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