Tag Archives: boat plans

Percy Blandford’s autobiography is on sale now!

Percy Blandford - A Life Full of Hobbies

Publlishing phenomenon and prolific post-war era canoe and boat designer Percy Blandford’s family have had his autobiography published, and it’s now obtainable from them. To obtain a copy, message his grand-daughter at diane.naested@gmail.com

I think the foreword  (see below) explains it all as well as anyone could… I should add that the grand old fella wrote his autobiography at the age of 95.

Percy Blandford was a man of many talents, interests and achievements. A world-renowned boat designer and builder,
a pioneering Do-It-Yourself expert and the author of countless books and magazine articles on an extraordinarily wide range of technical subjects, he was also a leading figure in the Scouting movement for well over eighty years, an unrivalled long service record for which he was honoured with a unique certificate that had to be created specially for him.

Born in Bristol on October 26th, 1912, Percy was apprenticed to a large local engineering firm before qualifying as a technical teacher and going to work in a school in London.

During the war he was recruited as a technical writer for the RAF, producing manuals for new aircraft. After the war he returned briefly to teaching before launching his career as a small boat designer and all-round technical journalist, making a name for himself in the post-war D-I-Y boom.

In his workshop at home in Newbold-on-Stour he designed and built prototypes of scores of canoes, kayaks, dinghies,
trailer-sailers, yachts, cabin cruisers and – in the sixties – even surfboards! Altogether, he sold more than 78,000 of his D-I-Y boat plans worldwide. They are still available and his boats are still being built today. He himself was a keen canoeist, narrowly failing to qualify as a candidate for the 1948 Olympics, although he was very proud to be appointed a timekeeper and judge for the rowing and canoeing events, staged at Henley.

As well as writing thousands of magazine articles on technical subjects ranging from net-making and ropework to
blacksmithing, knife-making, upholstery and every aspect of woodworking, Percy also published 113 books on an equally broad range of subjects.

For more posts about Percy and his boats, click here.

I’d like to underline the point that his boats are still being built by sharing this shot of one of his PBK canoes launched by Dundee-based canoeist Bill Samson.

Bill Samson pbk canoe

A reader builds a model Julie skiff

New reader Roland Beverley got in touch yesterday with these pictures of a model Julie skiff that he’s made. Plans for both the real and the model Julie skiff are on the free plans page – see the tabs above.

Here’s what he wrote:

‘Hi Gavin,

‘I just discovered http://intheboatshed.net/ while searching for some free model plans. I am itching to build my own boat but don’t currently have the space. I used to build model aircraft and boats in my teens, so thought I’d dust off my skills and build a new bath/pond toy for my son (who is 6).

‘My Julie Skiff is made from 1/16in balsa with a 1/4in transom (in case I ever mount an outboard!). It is waterproofed with 3 coats of cellulose dope and modified with rowlocks from a picture hanging kit and oars from Sainsbury’s bamboo skewers (paddles already provided!). All of which I had lying about (some items for many years). To waterproof inside the rope locker, I’ll use a spray can of lacquer to ensure its well coated and may coat the outside too.

‘I am very pleased with it, though you’ll notice there are dents in the bow where I should have spread the load from the clamps used to hold it while the glue dried – lesson for next time. Also the playmobil pirates are a little small – but I know my son won’t mind that. He’ll probably use lego people and turn it in to a battleship 😉 He returns from his grandparents’ tomorrow – I hope he likes it!

‘Thanks ever so much for the excellent free resources!’

And thanks to you Roland – it’s always great to hear about these boats being built, either as models or as the full-sized item.

BBA releases offsets for glued clinker 12ft Fleet trow

offsets Fleet trow

12' Fleet Trow photo by Derek Thompson 2014 (4) 12' Fleet Trow Photo by Derek Thompson 2014 (5)

On the subject of the BBA, have you noticed that the Academy has released offsets for the cute 12ft glued clinker Fleet trow that students built and launched last year?

Get the offsets here. Thanks BBA! If you build one, please let me know at gmatkin@gmail.com .