Sunday, February 19, 2023

 Moving forward

As this blog evolves I will provide a great detail on HOW to put sewing projects together, but I will NOT include many project plans. There are  quite a number of books on doing canvas work, some on making sails, quite a few on leatherwork. In the current environment we also have a lot of online info on how to do one task or another, but there are shortcomings. The BOOKS on sailmaking and canvas work show how projects can be crafted, but they provide surprisingly little useful info on equipment choices and ways of setting up for jobs. That is the area I will tackle.

Here are some resources you may want to seek out, starting with guides on sailmaking.:

Mainsails by Jim (James Lowell) Grant broke the dam on providing useful numbers on sail design. Previous writers had talked about 'broadseaming' and 'edge round' to control the 'draft' of sails, but Grant made the job explicit. Professional sailmakers took hold of his instructions and used them in their own work. It is still in print since 1970 and still useful. Grant and his wife Connie created the company we know today simply as Sailrite and built a business selling kits for sails. Grant also produced similar books on other types of sails and a course teaching sailmaking, etc.

Emiliano Marino wrote the wonderful 'The Sailmaker's Apprentice' that expands the topic dramatically and is well worth a read. When putting numbers to broadseaming and edge round, he copies Grant closely. The book has equally wonderful illustrations by Christine Erikson

Paul Fisher of Selway Fisher Design in England also has produced a couple of  pamphlets on sail design. Less detailed than the preceding versions, it does provide enough info to craft a simple sail. Some of the construction details provided reflect UK practice, slightly different from North America. I have the first, 'Sail Making for the Home Boatbuilder.' 
The current version is 'Sails for the Home Boat Builder.'

Percy Blandford was a prolific writer on many topics. He is also noted as a marine architect, provided many designs for fairly simple boats. He used a very simple style that used many drawings with details spelled out. During his 101 year life he published over 100 books. Modern Sailmaking doesn't give the  same measurement details as Grant and Marino, but one CAN make some sails from this book--and it is also a feast of details about how sails go together.

These next three books turn up in the used market from time to time. Gray's book is from the cotton sail era, and interesting for that. Bowker and Budd mostly represent that era as well, but with a few notes for the conversion to modern sailcloths.Schmit shows some practical sails and details of construction, but is not a general purpose guide. All interesting, but not at all essentials.

Simply stated: this is a brilliant publication. Even though it targets traditional canoes, it applies to all canoes and is useful for folks interested in any small boats. Beyond this book, Bradshaw has been a prolific and helpful correspondent about small boat rigs, writing on the Wooden Boat Forum, the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association site, and elsewhere. I like it so much I bought a spare copy.

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 About Sailrite Having mentioned three books by Jim Grant of Sailrite, I guess I should say some things about the company itself. Sailrite b...