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Published 03.11.2015 | Author : admin | Category : Free Fishing Boat Plans

Explore the tools, techniques and materials used in the construction of wooden boats in Newfoundland and Labrador. On Deer Island, Bonavista Bay, it was common practice for boat builders to harvest their timber according to phases of the moon.
Jack Casey from Conche, on Newfoundland’s northern peninsula, also abides by the cycle of the moon when cutting wood for his boats. Juniper (Tamarack) is a strong softwood that grows mostly in wet swampy areas and is the preferred timber for the ribs of the Gander River Boat.
Displacement boats are designed to minimize resistance when travelling forward through the water, whereas planing boats are designed to travel on top of the water.
Carvel planking on traditional wooden boats relies on the wood and caulking between the planks swelling to seal the hull against leaks.
In Salvage, Stewart Sturge switched from timbers to ribs when he started building speed boats in the 1960s. For planking, builders in Glovertown once preferred fir but have substituted spruce since fir populations have suffered damage from aggressive insects.
Michael Casey’s initials found on a rising board in the set of moulds passed down to Jack Casey. When building boats, Jack Casey uses a set of moulds that once belonged to his grandfather, Michael Casey. As is common practice in Newfoundland and Labrador, Jack Casey of Conche cut all his timber in the fall of the year.


One method of boat design used by wooden boat builders in Newfoundland can be traced to a method of design employed by English shipwrights in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.[1] Known as “whole-moulding,” this method was brought by those who settled in Newfoundland during the same period. One of three methods of design Taylor observed among Winterton builders during his research in the 1970s, the three-pieces were referred to collectively as “moulds”. When I pulled into his driveway, I was greeted with an open garage door and the stem of a small boat barely visible in the sunlight. Edwin was working diligently in the back corner of the shed, but was eager to stop and chat about his project. Builders heat thin strips of juniper in steam or boiling water to make it pliable to bend the wood to the desired shape.
Since the 1950s numerous marine sealing compounds and adhesives have been developed, allowing progressive boat builders to modify this traditional construction method to take advantage of these new products. While most builders in Glovertown learned how to build using sawn timbers, they switched to steaming juniper laths when this method gained popularity in the 1950s. The types of wood used for building boats varies depending the kind of boat being constructed and what is available in the area. Bill Feltham switched to spruce when he noticed that fir was becoming more prone to rot, noting that one disadvantage is spruce tends to have more knots. It is said that wood cut close to the coast is a better quality than wood from further inland. When Michael Casey arrived in Conche in 1850, he made a set of moulds which he used to build his fishing boats.


A lot of the first boats to come off our beaches and take to the fishing waters were boats built with these curved sticks of wood.
Taylor describes the three-piece mould method used by boatbuilders in Winterton, Trinity Bay. Freshly planked and without paint, it was a clever looking boat that revealed a particular attention to detail. Those who grew up on Deer Island recall James Feltham (1883-?) as the first to use steam on the island in the late 1940s.
Passed down to his son Michael Patrick, and from there to Jack, these moulds were used to build rodneys and punts for 160 years. Similar to whole-moulding, Taylor describes these moulds as, “a wooden, three-piece adjustable template used to draw the shapes of the three principle timber pairs”.
Moulds still survive in some communities; but mostly as items saved from the old boat sheds of our past builders.



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