Percy Blandford a pioneering Do-It-Yourself expert


Percy Blandford A life full of hobbies


Percy Blandford, was at the heart of the British do-it-yourself boom in the period of austerity that followed the Second World War. The author of 113 books on subjects as diverse as making Shaker furniture, blacksmithing at home, wood turning, knots and ropework, upholstery, country craft tools, and farm machinery.

Percy wrote his memoirs at the age of 95 but never got round to getting them published, as, in his own words "who would want to read them?"

His family have now had his autobiography published. His 114th and final book is available by contacting his grand-daughter at


The forward to the book of an extraordinary man follows below.

Percy Blandford was a man of many talents, interests and achievements. A world-renowned boat designer and builder, a pioneering Do-It-Yourself expert and the author of countless books and magazine articles on an extraordinarily wide range of technical subjects, he was also a leading figure in the Scouting movement for well over eighty years, an unrivalled long service record for which he was honoured with a unique certificate that had to be created specially for him.

Born in Bristol on October 26th, 1912, Percy was apprenticed to a large local engineering firm before qualifying as a technical teacher and going to work in a school in London.

During the war he was recruited as a technical writer for the RAF, producing manuals for new aircraft. After the war he returned briefly to teaching before launching his career as a small boat designer and all-round technical journalist, making a name for himself in the post-war D-I-Y boom.

In his workshop at home in Newbold-on-Stour he designed and built prototypes of scores of canoes, kayaks, dinghies, trailer-sailers, yachts, cabin cruisers and – in the sixties – even surfboards! Altogether, he sold more than 78,000 of his D-I-Y boat plans worldwide. They are still available and his boats are still being built today. He himself was a keen canoeist, narrowly failing to qualify as a candidate for the 1948 Olympics, although he was very proud to be appointed a timekeeper and judge for the rowing and canoeing events, staged at Henley.

As well as writing thousands of magazine articles on technical subjects ranging from net-making and ropework to blacksmithing, knife-making, upholstery and every aspect of woodworking, Percy also published 113 books on an equally broad range of subjects.


Only 500 books have been printed and are available from Percy's Grand-Daughter, Diane. If you would like a copy please email