Tag Archives: Percy Blandford

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

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Percy Blandford – a nice obituary in a national newspaper

Percy Blandford obituary

The Daily Telegraph has this nice obituary for boat and canoe designer and DIY hero Percy Blandford.

‘Percy Blandford, who has died aged 101, was at the heart of the British do-it-yourself boom in the period of austerity that followed the Second World War… his blueprints for home-built craft allowed thousands of enthusiasts, who would otherwise have been unable to afford the experience, to get out on the water.’

My thanks to Blandford fan Chuck Leinweber of Duckworks Magazine for finding this one.

Percy Blandford, DIY polymath and small boat designer, crosses the bar

Percy Blandford

I have heard that Percy Blandford, the century-old legendary designer of boats and canoes for home building and prolific author on huge range of workshop-related topics passed away today.

Good ol’ Mr Blandford. Among many other things he helped to get the post-War leisure boating and DIY boat building boom going, and got lots of people afloat for the first time. He will be much missed, but deserves a rousing cheer to send him off. I’m raising my glass, as you’d expect.

Our post about him written to celebrate his 100th birthday probably tells the story as well as I can – read it here.