While it would seem that a lot of folks no longer read and prefer their boat building education to be administered via YouTube, I’ll point out a few books that cover just about everything you need when taking on a VolksCruiserish project.
Dan Spurr’s Boatbook is the first book I brought on to the Islander because it’s my go-to book for reference for general sailboat knowledge and a great resource in common sense thinking where cruising boats are concerned.
Considering that the book can be picked up used for just a few dollars, it’s an incredible bargain which will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars if you read it and follow its advice.
The best part, for me at least, is that Spurr has a very open mind on how to do things. There is no this is the only way solutions but an honest exploration on a variety of ways to do things. If nothing else, it’s a great workbook in finding the path most suited for your project.
Bruce Bingham, designer of the Flicka as well as being the illustrator of Spurr’s Boatbook, has maybe written the best DIY book around when it comes to making a boat your own. Full of clever (dare I say cunning?) projects that improve the vibe and livability of a cruising boat, it’s a book I refer to when I’m looking for simple and affordable hacks.
I’ve yet to find any of the included projects in the book that did not work. For the Islander, one of the first projects I’ll be doing is Bingham’s take on Dorade vents which will save me something like a couple of hundred bucks instead of using store-bought silly priced plastic crap.
Fred Bingham, who also happens to be Bruce’s father, has written Boat Joinery & Cabinetmaking; a book that should be on every Volkscruiser’s bookshelf.
Covering just about everything you need to rip out an interior and build an interior from an empty hull, it provides a certain taken down to basics, I-can-fix-anything attitude. This book covers interiors better than anyone else.
Need I say more?
I’ll point out that I pretty much know all of these books by heart and have fifty-something years of experience working on and building boats. That said, I still find having them aboard is a very needful part of my workflow. Whenever I find myself in conundrum territory, I’ll pull out one of these books and find they’ll make things a lot clearer. Better yet, it’s like having Dan, Bruce, and Fred there to point me in the right direction.