The Dory Shop

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada | (902) 640-3005 |

Stories from the The Dory Shop

Fresh dory course dates!

In the midst of what’s so far been a challenging winter, it’s always therapeutic to think ahead to spring. And one of the sure signs of spring around here is having a new group of would-be dory builders join us for one of our two-week classes!

Hooray for Santa Claus!

The historic port of Lunenburg has a unique way of welcoming the holiday season. Like many communities, the town hosts a Santa Claus parade, but there’s something that makes ours just a little bit different. The parade here has a boat theme; specifically, parade organizers seek to place as many of the entrees as possible in dories and other wooden boats. As you can imagine, we tend to get a few calls!

Dory class celebrates successful launch

Two very pleasant weeks with our latest dory  building class wrapped up Friday as the group launched the fruit of their labours, the HMLD NAK. The what, you ask? Well, as always, the dory built during the class is available for sale to one of the participants and in this case will find a new home in New Brunswick.

Crossing the line

We are so saddened today to learn of the passing of Edgar Hatt, longtime supplier of knees for our dories and a gentleman whose kind smile and quiet wisdom was admired by all who met him. For more than 60 years, Edgar has provided this most essential component of our Lunenburg-built dories. The work required to harvest Hackmatack knees from the muck of a bog is great indeed. Edgar began as a child working with his father and grandfather. In more recent years, he worked with his own son, Otho.

"I've spent more happy hours here than anywhere else in my life."

"In the last seven years of my life since I’ve been hanging out here, I’ve spent more happy hours here than anywhere else in my life." Billy Campbell speaking about The Dory Shop

A dulsing dory for Grand Manan

As explained in a post about a wooden boat we built earlier this year, there is a modification that can be made to the transom of a Banks dory that allows the boat to carry an outboard motor directly from the stern. We call the dories that have this feature Grand Manan dories as the modification has historically been most popular with dulse harvesters from this small but colorful island in the Bay of Fundy.

A perfect ten(der)

A few years ago, Jay brought a little rowing tender into the boatyard. It was one he had made for his beloved boat, the David Stevens-built Mora (now a schooner, then cutter rigged). The little boat was a stunning craft fashioned from steam-bent planks all neatly riveted in place. I can’t tell you how many people stopped to ask if that boat was for sale (it wasn’t) or what it would cost to build one. Suffice to say there were a lot of inquiries. And each time someone asked Jay would groan to think about all those rivets, preferring the much quicker clinch nails we were still using to build dories.

Stop and smell the cedar

Jay is still working away on a lovely steam-bent Alaskan Yellow Cedar dinghy for the Schooner Martha Seabury. It’s a much fussier project than a Banks dory, which planks up lickety-split using nice, wide planks fashioned from pine with no need for a steam box.

What a day at The Dory Shop!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am one hell of a proud Lunenburger. But let me tell you, to stand in the boatyard yesterday watching a handsome wooden schooner slide down the ways (not without a little hitch but that only added to the excitement!), well, to say I was proud does not tell the half of it. We’re a little town here, and we have this amazing history and heritage (significant enough that the United Nations recognized it). But it is moments like this – a real present day moment involving real people whom I have watched, assisted in only the most minor capacity and I suppose, some days harrassed as they crafted this vessel, the Martha Seabury, and her as-yet-unnamed twin, through two damp, cold Nova Scotia winters, using skill sets that many consider forgotten – that somehow marry this seaport town’s proud past with sincere hope for the future and I truly could not be prouder.

Join us for a schooner launch!

The Dory Shop Boatyard’s a hopping place this week as we complete all of the last-minute details for the launch of the first of our twin schooners, the Martha Seabury. The big event is slated for Tuesday, August 7 at noon and everyone’s invited to join us.

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