Build your own Adirondack guideboat!



Nicholas K. Burns Publishing of Utica, New York announces its latest title, Building an Adirondack Guideboat: Wood Strip Reproductions of the Virginia by Michael J. Olivette and John D. Michne.  This is the essential “how-to” manual for building a modern guideboat with wood strips.  The publication date is November 2005.




Click the thumbnails below for some full size actual shop scenes.

Laminate the ribs

Mount ribs on bottom board

The framework


First look inside

Building the decks

Making the seats

Seat caning

Making brass trim

It works!


The Adirondack guideboat, noted for its graceful lines, elegant curves, maneuverability, and durability, has been called the fastest fixed-seat rowboat in the world.  Its form and function are unique to the Adirondacks of the nineteenth century.  It was a workboat light enough for one person to carry between the Park’s many lakes, big enough to haul the gear of the hired guide and his sportsmen, and quiet enough to stalk game on the edge of the lake.


In Building an Adirondack Guideboat, You will learn how to build a modern reproduction of H.D. Grant's Virginia, including:

Also included in the book are John Gardner's detailed drawings that first appeared in The Adirondack Guide-Boat by Kenneth and Helen Durant, drawn from actual measurements of the original Virginia now in the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.





Additional Publisher's Notes and Information


Building an Adirondack Guideboat: Wood Strip Reproductions of the Virginia by Michael J. Olivette and John D. Michne.

Publication Date:  November 2005 ~ Non-fiction: Boatbuilding ~ ISBN 0-9713069-9-0

Trade paperback ~ Trim size 8 ˝ x 11 ~ 256 pages with over 250 photos and drawings ~ Cover price: $29.95

Publisher: Nicholas K. Burns Publishing, 130 Proctor Boulevard, Utica, NY 13501.

Phone: (315) 738-1890 ~ Fax: (315) 738-1891 ~ Orders toll free: 1-866-738-1890.




This illustrated guide instructs the intermediate to advanced woodworker how to build his or her own fully ribbed wood strip reproduction of the guideboat Virginia, built in 1905 in the H. Dwight Grant boat shop in Boonville, New York, and now in the collection of the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York.  The authors base their instruction on the drawings (included in the book) of the Virginia by John Gardner, first published in the definitive work on guideboats, “The Adirondack Guideboat” by Kenneth and Helen Durant, published by the Adirondack Museum in 1980.  As construction of the guideboat progresses, the reader is also told the way the old traditional builders handled each step and where today’s modern methods are similar to or are different from the old masters.



 The builder’s guideboat will have: 


Building an Adirondack Guideboat features over 250 photographs and drawings of the work in progress; a Foreword by Hallie Bond, Curator at the Adirondack Museum; an Appendix containing John Gardner’s drawings of the Virginia; other Appendixes include “Working with Epoxy,” “Making Scarf Joints,” and a source guide for materials and tools.


About the authors


John D. Michne is a retired chemist and gamma ray spectroscopist.  He spent his career in nuclear and environmental radiochemistry, and has designed, constructed, and programmed microprocessor-controlled remote deep ocean instrumentation.  John has written feature articles for his local newspaper, and recently wrote a series of articles on wood-stripped canoe construction posted at his website. 


John’s woodworking experience dates back to the 1940s.  He completed his first boat, a 12’ plywood and fiberglass outboard runabout, built over oak framework in 1965.  His more recent work has consisted of award-winning canoes and guideboats, including a canoe stripped in Honduras mahogany and trimmed in Peruvian walnut.  John’s reproduction of the Virginia as described in this book won Best in Show at the annual Northeastern Woodworkers Association Showcase 2002, judged by a distinguished panel of nationally known professional woodworkers.  Other awards won at the NWA: second place in class for a cedar stripped 17’ canoe, 1999; first place in class, 13’ mahogany stripped canoe, 2000; Best of Show and People’s Choice Award, 14’ Adirondack guideboat, 2004.  John and his wife live in Clifton Park, New York.


Michael J. Olivette is a professor and administrator at Syracuse University and has spent much of his life exploring New York State's Adirondack Mountains.  A licensed Adirondack guide who, like the guides of the old days, is also an accomplished carpenter, furniture maker, and boat-builder.  In the "off-season," Michael builds rustic and traditional furniture, and has built a timber frame cabin by hand in the southern Adirondacks, where he spends much of his free time.  Michael is also a field tester for L.L. Bean, Inc.  A few years ago, Michael combined his woodworking skills with his love of the Adirondack guideboat and built his first reproduction of Grant's guideboat, Virginia.  He lives with his two daughters in the lakeside community of Cazenovia, New York.




What They Are Saying...


"If I had tried to build my guideboat without this book, there’s no doubt in my mind that it would’ve taken years to complete and the result would have been a significantly lesser boat. Michne and Olivette have done a fine job of bringing guideboat building into the realm of the non-professional boat builder."

Dick Millet, amateur builder who built a reproduction Virginia using this book.


"An Adirondack guideboat built with laminated ribs and strip planking is not only functional and utilitarian, as Gardner indicated it would be, but it also has the classic lines of the traditional boat and it continues to reflect the lives of the people who build and use it. With the help of Michne and Olivette, you can be one of them."

Hallie E. Bond, Curator, Adirondack Museum.


"There is a wealth of detailed step-by-step instructions which take you through the course of building a reproduction guideboat. The authors go into such detail in so many aspects of this project that this book becomes an invaluable reference source for any builder of small watercraft, regardless of the type of construction or of their skill level. I believe this book is destined to become a 'best seller' in this genre, and that the authors should be proud of their accomplishment."

Martin Step, Green Valley Boat Works,