The fifth edition of The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction is a comprehensive reference book that should be added to your boatbuilding library, whether you are just starting to work on your dreamboat or are a professional boatbuilder. This fifth edition by the Gougeon Brothers is based on the authors’ 30 years of practical boatbuilding experience and their own research on wood and West System epoxy formulas.

From lofting to finishing, the Gougeon Brothers’ book explains in lay terms the various elements necessary to construct a wood/epoxy boat. Alternative construction methods, such as cold molding, strip planking, and utilization of composite materials is discussed in detail so the prospective boatbuilder can understand the advantages and disadvantages of each method. By including the results of their research on the physical properties of epoxy, especially as it relates to fatigue and stress issues in wood/epoxy boats, the reader can make an informed decision as to whether a wood/epoxy vessel will perform in his or her climate and aquatic environment.

The authors use a rather unique method for estimating labor and construction costs of a planned boatbuilding project. Rather than estimate the costs in the traditional time-plus-materials formula, the Gougeon Brothers use a cost-per-pound method. While we have not used this method in our own shop before, it is certainly worth a second glance, since estimating total construction costs of a one-off project can be tricky at best.

The text is augmented by sufficient figures and charts that give the reader a step-by-step guide for laying out and putting together his or her own boat The Photo Gallery section shows, in full color, some of the finer wood/epoxy vessels designed and built by individuals known in the wooden boatbuilding trade. If you thought wood/epoxy construction was limited to stitch and glue prams and dinghies, you might be surprised to find photos of a 60-foot, 1/8-scale model of the Titanic or a sailboat boat large enough to carry a pipe organ in the aft cabin.

The fifth edition of The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction is, in my opinion, required reading for anyone considering the construction of a wooden boat that utilizes epoxy as the bonding material. This edition is comprehensive and thorough in discussing the benefits and advantages of building boats utilizing wood as the structural material and epoxy as the bonding agent. While the authors are distributors of West System epoxy resins and hardeners, the focus of the book is on the boatbuilding process as opposed to the marketing of their own brand. It will be used as a reference in our facility and should be considered a valuable manual for wooden boatbuilders, young and old, novice or professional.

The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction by Meade Gougeon (Gougeon Brothers, Inc., 2005; 406 pages)