Wooden Boats: In Pursuit of the Perfect Craft at an American Boatyard

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Viking, 2001 - Transportation - 325 pages
There are fewer than 10,000 wooden boats in America but the circulation of WoodenBoat magazine exceeds 180,000. What is it about wooden boats that has captured the popular imagination? With the "lively blend of reportage [and] reflection" (Los Angeles Times) that made his The Soul of a Chef such a success, Michael Ruhlman sets off to Martha's Vineyard-the location of a renowned boatyard-to find out. As refined as a Stradivarius and as ruggedly powerful as an ocean vessel, wooden boats and the art of crafting them nearly fell victim to the modern era. Yet as cheap plastic and fiberglass boats proliferated the seas, a handful of craftsmen persevered. Today, the makers of these handmade miracles of curves and wood are highly sought-after artisans and wooden boats have emerged as a magnificent metaphor for the "old and true" in our homogenized, throwaway culture. At the heart of Wooden Boats is Rebecca-a sixty-foot modern pleasure schooner being constructed, with centuries-old techniques, to outlast any other boat today. Ruhlman follows Rebecca's construction and profiles the vivid personalities at work in a boatyard filled with stories of the sea. His exciting chronicle will enthrall not just wooden boat owners but also craftspeople of every stripe, nature enthusiasts, and seafaring and landlocked fans of compelling nonfiction.

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WOODEN BOATS: In Pursuit of the Perfect Craft at an American Boatyard

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Ruhlman's (The Soul of a Chef, not reviewed) promising story of attending the construction of two sublime wooden boats falls short in so many areas that it feels woefully out of plumb.Ruhlman has all ... Read full review


Prologue i
Elisa Lee
The Voyage of Tappan Zee and Beyond

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About the author (2001)

Michael Ruhlman was born in 1963 in Cleveland and graduated Duke in 1985 with a BA in literature. His first book, Boy's Themselves (1996), revealed life at an all-boy day school. His second, the Making of a Chef came in 1997 and was re-released in 2009 in a new paperback edition. Michael's other published works include The Soul of a Chef (2000), Wooden Boats: In Pursuit of the Perfect Craft at an American Boatyard (2001), and Walk on Water (2003). He co-wrote The French Laundry Cookbook (1999) with Thomas Keller and A Return to Cooking (2002) with Eric Ripert, chef-owner of Le Bernardin. His latest works include Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing (2011) and Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing (2012), both with Brian Polcyn.

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