BOOK REVIEW

Narrowboats Builders Handbook The Narrowboat Builder's Handbook; 3rd Ed.
by Graham Booth
Pub. Waterways World, 1999
Paperback, 124 pages, 14.99
ISBN 1 87002 71 7

Having reviewed both books on this website I can truly say that this short book is everything that 'Stem to Stern' is not, in terms of figures and calculations. 'The Narrowboat Builder's Handbook' is full of good diagrams, pictures and charts, whereas S2S is generally more inclined to have pretty pictures.

The reason for this is that NBB's author was, or is, Waterways World's Technical Editor and has a very definite slant on fitting out a narrowboat. This is a nitty-gritty book with hands-on descriptions of Booth fitting out a 60ft narrowboat called 'Rome' back in the 1980s in collaboration with one of the gurus of the waterways world, Andy Burnett. However, the Rome experience has been updated to the late 90s and beyond with lots of the new technologies and products being included. As far as this reviewer is concerned there is too little about wind and solar power for those who want it, or the slightest mention of fuel cells for anyone considering this as the basis for propulsion or electrics.

NBB assumes 'readers will buy a shell from a specialist builder and complete the majority of the remaining work him/herself', but there is no sexism in the sometimes light-hearted style of writing which simply regards boaters as boaters.

Although only 124 pages long, with a quite small typeface, this book fits in some fourteen sections, on everything from building and designing a shell to installing an engine, to ballasting, electrics systems, internal fitout of various living sections, and external finishing. There are also some very comprehensive appendices on suppliers of shells, engines and electrics, plus a reasonable bibliography.

Bottom line...
Good value. Very much worth the investment of 15 if you don't have a clue about boating technicalites but already have some ideas about how you would like your dreamboat to look.

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