We describe in detail the design, construction, and characterization of an efficient frequency doubled and stabilized all-solid-state Ti: sapphire laser. The laser frequency has been locked to the resonance of a Fabry-Perot cavity, and doubled in a Brewster-cut potassium niobate crystal placed inside a power enhancement cavity. Up to 200 mW of single frequency blue light with fast frequency instabilities of 40-kHz rms and a drift of 10 MHz/hour has been generated. The spectral distributions of amplitude and frequency noise for the free-running laser have been measured and compared with the case of pumping from an argon ion laser. Our laser is well suited in atomic physics for high resolution spectroscopy and for laser cooling and trapping using transitions in the blue-violet region, as we demonstrate with the calcium resonant transition, at 423 nm. © 2002 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.