Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I was called by a friend the other day to let me know that he'd seen a bunch of old WoodenBoat magazines at a tag sale. As I was headed out anyway, I made my way by. I found some gentlemen holding the tag sale who were alumni of the WoodenBoat school and who built and repaired boats. They appeared to really enjoy their boat work with a canoe preparing to be repaired, a Cat's Paw dinghy in progress and a peapod under consideration.

What they had was a cardboard box filled with what a quick perusal showed to be WoodenBoat magazines dating from the late 70's through the 80's - editions that I didn't have. (I once made the mistake of loaning out a bunch of magazines from that time frame and they sadly didn't find their way back to me.) After some discussion they offered me a boat-builder's mafia deal that I just couldn't refuse.

In the box are copies from issue 20 through about issue 76 with some gaps and some duplicates, but generally in good condition. It contains some very dated information and advertising, but also has nuggets of timeless information from designers, builders and experts who are sadly no longer with us. One thing that I find that I really enjoy from these early issues is the illustrations from the technical articles by folks like Maynard Bray and John Gardner. I was particularly tickled to find an article with a picture of a (very!) young Jerry Stelmok in an article about Mick Fahey. Some of this material I've not seen elsewhere.

I also used to be a subscriber to the relatively short-lived Small Boat Journal from the 80's. That's another set of old magazines that I'd like to find as well.

It's awful to be a pack-rat, but some of these things will not come this way again.

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