Forest and Stream Publishing Co.
The character and object of this book are set forth on its title page. It is a manual designed for the practical assistance of those who wish to build their own canoes.
The number of boating men who find pleasure merely in sailing a boat is small compared with those who delight not only in handling, but as well in planning, building, improving or "tinkering" generally on their pet craft, and undoubtedly the latter derive the greater amount of pleasure from the sport. They not only feel a pride in the result of their work, but their pleasure goes on, independent of the seasons. No sooner do cold and ice interfere with sport afloat than the craft is hauled up, dismantled, and for the next half year becomes a source of unlimited pleasure to her owner - and a nuisance to his family and friends. We know one eminent canoeist who keeps a fine canoe in his cellar and feeds her on varnish and brass screws for fifty weeks of every year.
This class of boating men, to whom, by the way, most of the improvements in boats and sails are due, usually labor under great disadvantages. Their time for such work is limited; they have not the proper outfit of shop and tools, nor the practical knowledge and skill only acquired by the professional builder after years of careful and patient labor; and the latter as a class are unwilling to communicate freely what they have acquired with so much difficulty, and are seldom willing to assist the amateur, even with advice. His only other source of information is reading, and while there are books treating of the construction of large vessels, and others of the use of boats, there are none giving precisely the instructions needed by the beginner in boat building.
Having experienced most of the trials and mishaps that fall to the lot of the tyro, we offer in these pages such help as has proved of the greatest value to ourselves. To the professional builder, some of the instructions may seem elementary and unnecessary; but it must be remembered that we are not writing for him, who by long practice has acquired an accuracy of eye and dexterity, that enable him to shorten, or to dispense altogether with many of the operations described. We are writing for the amateur who, in default of this training, must make up for it by extra care and patience, even at the expense of time, and the methods given are those which have proved best adapted to his peculiar requirements.
Canoe building is treated in detail, as the processes involved are common to all boatbuilding, only requiring greater care and skill than ordinary work; and the principles, once mastered, may be applied to the construction of any of the simpler craft, such as rowboats and skiffs.
It has been impossible to give due credit to the originators for many of the devices and inventions described; but to all such we return thanks in behalf of the great army of amateur builders and sailors, in which we claim a place.