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Clayton Feldman's "Compleat (almost) Two Foot Library"

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What do you think of Clayton Feldman's "Compleat (almost) Two Foot Library" in Armed Virginia Sloop (also heresearch for "Two Foot Library") 


Are there some books on his list that are dated? Would you add any books to the list? 


Edited by Smile-n-Nod
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1 hour ago, Smile-n-Nod said:

What do you think of Clayton Feldman's "Compleat (almost) Two Foot Library"

It might have been a good start twenty years ago, but nothing more. Continually acquiring related research materials as one goes along is an essential part of this hobby. The technology of modeling has increased and complexified tremendously in the twenty years since that was written. I would say that any of the then-contemporary "how-to-do-it" books are fairly obsolete by now, save for the very few "classics." Avoid anything with the words "How to" in the title. For example, you will hear about frequently-recommended books on how to build kits, but they will have been written in the days of double "plank on bulkhead" construction long before laser-cut parts and photo-etched fittings became commonplace and they really fall short of addressing what a quality kit can produce today.  They are generally a waste of money. There will always be yet another "must-have" volume to acquire. If someone starting out asked me, I'd advise them to first acquire the "classics" that have stood the test of time, such as the books by Davis, Underhill, Longridge, and The Ship Modeler's Shopnotes I and II on modeling technique and Chapelle on American period vessels, if that's your focus of interest. Wrap your head around that information, then take it from there. Also, don't limit your selections to specifically ship modeling books, either. Any good book on any of the related crafts will contribute to making you a better modeler. You will, eventually, want to know about various wood species and their qualities, how to cut, turn, and carve wood, how to finish wood, how to fabricate metal parts and join them together, how to sew, how to make your own scale cordage, how to read "lines drawings" and do drafting, both manual and CAD, if that's your cup of tea, and on and on. This is what makes this hobby one that can stay with you for a lifetime.

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I have most of the “Two Foot Library” books in my collection, bought when I was much younger.  While they are old standbys, their scope is limited pretty much to Eighteenth and Nineteenth British and American Sailing Vessels.  As such they would be useful to most kit builders trying to improve the accuracy of their work.


The list mostly omits small craft, regional craft, and completely omits engine powered ships.


I am a scratch builder that tries to build models of vessels never modeled or at least rarely modeled before.  This means that these ships either did not participate in noteworthy historic events,  or for which little information is commonly available. This means tracking down information on a project by project basis.  Others venturing into scratch building will need to either buy the plan packages available from sellers like Ancre and Seawatch or develop a library for each project as I have done.





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I agree with with the others... tailor you bookshelf to your interests.  Mine has some monographs (ANCRE for French ships and the TFFS) and a bunch of reference works for ships of the same period.  Some are specific to a given country but all are in the same time frame.  Some were bought just to read and learn how things were done in the past.  One book to think about but there's much dissension among the ranks is Monfeld's Historic Ship Models. While it has errors, it's a pretty good starting point for research. 


I also have quite a few "history" type books just fill in gaps.   





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Totally agree with the above with building your library around your interests at this time.  If your interest expands, your library can then grow.  I have about 70 books in my library but as my principal interests are 17th-18th century British ships and North American schooners, I probably have not used more than 20 of them in the past several years or more.  Even then, I may use only one paragraph, page, or chapter of one  book for a "how to" lesson as well as search here at MSW for additional ways on "how to."   I am always interested in seeing how others do things so I am right there to see which, if any,  method is most appropriate for my own project.   





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I started model building as an uninformed newbie who bought my first kit on a whim. It remains mostly built (I found tying ratlines at 1:128 more tedious than I had thought possible). I have 2 more partially built but both have fatal flaws from the early stages that I have been unable to overcome.


What does that have to do with this topic? While trying to find references to aid in my very steep learning curve, I began to acquire books. First of the how-to variety, then more historical. When the NRG had the big sale I acquired several dozen (I think it was around 60?) on various topics. I now have more than 300 print volumes in my collection - some much more frequently used than others, but all at least partly read. Surprisingly only about 8 or 10 works of fiction.


This desire for information and clarification spurred my hobby of collecting (and building a searchable database) older pdf treatises and publications, tgen broadening to modern pdf documents (such as dissertations and theses, journal articles and so on). That collection now numbers more than 2,500 documents. Someday, I hope to update the work by Anderson, Takakjian and McDonald with additions from the internet era. I will never approach, however, the volume of information in Albion or Rasor.


The answer to which are the best is highly subjective and unique to an individual. Subjects of interest, specific vessels or types, time frames or nations all influence the decision. As but one example, I find myself referring often ti "Ships and Science" by Ferreiro concerning many aspects of naval architecture, while the Naval Documents for different eras published by the Navy History Command are invaluable for early US Navy information - tough to argue with transcribed source documents!



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A great post!,


Re: Laurie Ferreiro’s Book


They must put something in the water that comes from the drinking fountain of the University of Michigan’s Naval Architecture Department that causes us to write as there are currently a number of published authors who are graduates (Ferreiro and yours truly included).


I have never met Mr. Ferreiro but like you enjoyed his Ships and Science.  He has recently brought his history of the scientific side of Naval Architecture up to date with a sequel that I have yet to purchase.


He has also written an excellent book on the American Revolution that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  Titled “Brothers at Arms” it places the Revolution in an international context.  I highly recommend it.


Current Books written by University of Michigan Naval Architecture Graduates:




Edited by Roger Pellett
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