Category Archives: Books

Souvenirs de Marine Troisième Partie

Today, I just received my copy of Souvenirs de Marine Troisième Partie from Themodelshipwright.com. This book is a paperback reproduction of the the third volume of the series of books from Françoise Edmond Pâris, originally published in the late 1800s. The book is in 8-1/2″ by 11″ format paperback, 126 pages long.

I just browsed through the book, which is described as being a republication of the book in its original form. So, there’s a lot of French text. In fact, this book is much more text heavy than the first book published by Themodelshipwright.com, and then, because it is written in script, it’s kind of hard to read, and forget OCR and computer translation.

For most ship modelers, this is probably too hard to use, though there is clearly some good technical details. But, it’s an interesting find that, for the price of only $6.99, would be nice to have in your library, regardless.

If you don’t have either this or the first book, Selected Plates from Souvenirs de Marine, I recommend getting the first book. It’s a little more money at $9.99, but you’re more likely to find something useful in that book. I know I certainly did with the Japanese watercraft.

But, Souvenirs de Marine Troisième Partie, is a nice follow-up. And, though I don’t know if I’ll ever really have a use for it, I’m glad to know what I am not missing from the series. You can’t beat the price, and I’m happy to have it on my shelf.

Learn more at themodelshipwright.com.

Friday the 13th of January – A Late Christmas Day

Not meaning to be blasphemous here! Just that Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day for some, but has traditionally been a good day for me. In fact, I got three new goodies in the mail that day, all ship modeling related, of course!

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Seamanship – Online Book

Somebody on Model Ship World recently posted a link to a book that’s available online. I checked it out and this is a copy of a book written by Commodore S.B. Luce, of the U.S. Navy for the U.S. Naval Academy in 1891. The book is called Seamanship, The Equipping and Handling of Vessels Under Sail or Steam.

titleThe text of the book has put transcribed and available thanks to the wonderful folks of the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association.

Access the book online here: Seamanship.

 

Also, you might consider supporting their efforts by becoming a member, or simply making a donation. As a member, you’ll received their semiannual magazine The Sea Letter, plus other nice benefits. Ω

Out of Stock – Rigging Period Ship Models by Lennarth Petersson

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Just found out last week that Rigging Period Ship Models, the classic ship modeling book by Lennarth Petersson and published by the U.S. Naval Institute Press, is no longer “in stock” with the publisher. I hear that as meaning “out of print,” but that’s not how they put it. According to the person I spoke with at USNI, there is no official word as to whether or not they may do another printing or possibly a short run. But, apparently there are a lot of backorders for it, so maybe something will happen.

I noticed that the follow-up book, Rigging Period Fore-and-Aft Craft, is currently in soft cover form, while this book was in hardcover. Now, I’m wondering if they may be planning to go softcover with this one too, which would make sense.

Regardless, if you’re planning on getting this book eventually, I still see new copies available at normal prices, so you may want to get one sooner rather than later, unless you want to go the used book route or wait to see if there is a soft cover release.

If they do go with soft cover, it usually means a significantly lower price, so maybe this isn’t a bad thing for this book which otherwise lists at $46.

New Titles from Ancre Books

Just received an email from Ancre.fr while I was typing my last post. They just announced their latest releases, two books on the French frigate L’Hermione, which is the ship that carried Lafayette to America to help in the fight for Independence. One book is on the history of the ship Hermione and of Lafayette and French actions in the American War of Independence. The other book is a monograph on the construction of the ship. Both will apparently be available in French, English and Italian.

The English versions of the books look to be available after the first of the year and Ancre is offering a 10% discount on them through the end of February 2016. After that they will have a regular price of 59 Euros for the History book and 120 Euros for the Monograph. Ω

 

 

Japanese Wooden Boatbuilding Book by Douglas Brooks

Last week, I broke down and bought my copy of this new book directly from the author’s website. That’s a nice way to get it as more money goes directly to supporting Mr. Brooks’ efforts. The hardbound book, published by Floating World Editions, is 320-pages, all in English, in a roughly 9″ x 11″ format.

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Photo courtesy of Douglas Brooks

My copy arrived today and, naturally, all my ship modeling efforts and other tasks have come to a complete standstill as I read through it. This is an absolutely beautiful book, full of information about the subject.

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Photo courtesy of Douglas Brooks

I was thumbing through it and had to stop and read through the section on the “ro“, which is the Japanese sculling oar. The author goes into a fair amount of detail on its construction and how it actually works in practice, based on his own experiences using it. He provides some very enjoyable narrative of his first experience using the ro on a rental boat on a lake in Japan, or rather, his experiences trying to rent the traditional boat from the owner, who probably had to rescue too many foreigners who couldn’t figure out how to use the ro.

The book is filled with lots of information on tools and methods used by traditional Japanese boat builders, and details each of the author’s five apprenticeships. The book is well illustrated, and is full of photographs and drawings showing some of the finer details of the traditional construction methods, with many measurements provided.

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Photo courtesy of Douglas Brooks

Ship modelers and boatbuilders should be aware that this is not a construction manual. Though there are nice profile drawings of the subjects, there are no fold-out plans. The author may eventually publish plans separately, but I don’t have any information about cost or what the timetable might be for releasing them. However, even a set of plans would not cover the the details of the traditional construction methods that he describes in this book.

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Photo courtesy of KAZI Publications.

For modelers building some of the available kits of traditional Japanese boats, this book will provide a solid understanding of the true construction and features of these boats. For those who might be scratch-building models based on some of the commonly available drawings, such as those in the classic Souvenirs de Marine, this book will also help you with some of the features of traditional Japanese boats that aren’t shown in overview drawings.

For those who are just interested in woodworking and in Japanese traditions, this book is a fascinating read, giving you a real sense of a disappearing art form. It will also give you some hope that people like Mr. Brooks and his own students will help to keep the art alive.

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Photo courtesy of Douglas Brooks

My hope is that it will generate more interest in subject and help to not only inspire more traditional Japanese boat builders, but also help to keep struggling museums open in Japan, when so many of them have closed due to a lack of funding.

While the book is available from the usual online sellers, Buy Here to support the author, or support your local bookstore and tell them to carry it or at least to order it for you. If you do order direct from the author, you will not only be supporting his research efforts, you will also get a signed copy, with the option to have it personally inscribed. Ω

New Book on Japanese Wooden Boatbuilding

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Boatbuilder Douglas Brooks has studied traditional Japanese boat building from Japanese masters since the mid-1990s. In an attempt to help preserve the art, Mr. Brooks worked through five apprenticeships with aging master boat builders, serving in most cases as their final and only apprentice. Part one of this 320 page hardcover book discussed the characteristics of Japanese traditional boatbuilding, including tools, materials, design, joinery, etc. Part two details his five apprenticeships.

I’ve seen some images of this book and some of the writing and it looks not only gorgeous, but filled with fascinating and valuable details regarding this rapidly disappearing art form. I expect to be ordering my copy almost immediately.

The book is $75 and you will certainly be able to order it from the usual online book sellers. But, I recommend ordering it direct from the author. The price is the same, plus $10 shipping, but Mr. Brooks will personally sign copies. His website order form includes a space to indicate who the book is to be inscribed to. You can buy your copy at Douglasbrooksboatbuilding.com.

USS Susquehanna, 1847 by Gilbert McArdle

I heard some rumor about this book a while back, but had forgotten about it at some point. I had no idea it was already in print until I started looking up details about Seawatch Books recent released of the revised Swan IV book and supplement. Stumbled upon this one totally by accident and I’m really excited because this is a subject that I have been considering for quite some time. It’s also related to some other subjects I’ve been interested in.

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Susquehanna was one of the ships of the Perry Expedition to Japan and China in 1853-54. She was a side-paddlewheel ship termed a Steam Frigate and was built at the same time (though in different location) as the side-paddlwheeler Powhatan, which was also part of the Perry Expedition. The Susquehanna and the Powhatan are sometimes referred to as sister ships, but the Susquehanna is the slightly smaller of the two.

My real interest is in the Powhatan, but the Susquehanna should be close enough to teach me a few things about the construction of these ships. The book is $70 plus shipping from Seawatch Books. I’ve ordered mine and look forward to reading through Gib McArdle’s work.

 

Miniature Shipmodeling Book by Robert Wilson

Those of you who fancy miniature ship models, may be aware of the work of Robert Wilson. He has focussed on merchant ships of the late 19th and 20th centuries and his art is out of this world. I’ve had many conversations with him on the web and by email and he’s a big proponent of miniature ship modeling and of modeling merchant ships, and nobody does it like him.

Broompark (Large)

 

Olivebank (Medium)

 

For those ship modelers who are interested in trying out building in miniature, you’re in luck because Mr. Wilson has created ebooks on the subject, and just recently self-published a 158-page soft cover book in a nice, large format. Both the ebooks and the printed book are available direct from his website: http://www.miniatureships.blogspot.com

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He claims that building these models is much simpler than building a larger wooden ship model kit. And, he does build several of these models a year, so there’s got to be something to what he says.

I myself bought his early CD on scratch building merchant sailing ships (in miniature), which he still sells, though in ebook form now. I also only discovered the new book’s availability a couple weeks ago, but I made sure to order a copy right away, because if I can build a model half as nice as some of the work he’s done in the past, I’d be a happy man!

As it is, I did start to do a miniature version of the Japanese screw steamer Kanrin Maru. So, maybe in the near future, I’ll be showing what I’ve learned from Robert Wilson’s teachings.

New: Swan IV Revised and Sail Making Supplement

David Antscherl’s series of books on building a “Fully Framed” model of the British sixth-rate sloop of war Swan, or one of her sister ships, is know to ship modelers everywhere as the definitive guide to building a plank-on-frame ship model as a miniature replica down to the last bolt. The series, published by Seawatch Books, has seen revised versions of the first two books in the series. And now, there is a revised version of the fourth book in the series, which details the rigging.

The book is not only revised, but it has been expanded to include a section on making and installing a full set of sails. The revised version is available for $70 plus shipping from Seawatch Books.

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For those who already have the original version, a 16-page supplement has been published which includes the full text on sail making. The supplement is only $7 plus shipping from Seawatch Books.