Sunday, February 2, 2014

The J C Williams Dory Shop in Nova Scotia, CANADA

A Dory back in the late 1800's was the boat that fed the world.
Thousands of fishermen working off a dory, handlining for Cod, which was then shipped worldwide.  They used the schooner as a base and went off into the rain, fog, snow, sitting in thier dory all day sometimes alone, sometimes with a partner hauling in cod until the dory was full, then row or sail back to the schooner and offload, clean the catch and do it again the next day...
No work, No fish, No pay.
Watch Captains Courageous 1937 starring Spencer Tracy for a good idea of what a dory-mans life was like.
The town and shop from our canoe.
I’ve been meaning to do this this video, for what…almost 3 years now.
I can’t believe how fast time goes…ya blink and years have gone by.
Daughter Maggie and I first visited this shop in 1998 during our first tour of Nova Scotia, we went back 6 times and I was there last in 2011…hope to go again in 2017.   

The shop is a must for anyone interested in wooden boats as they have been continuously producing dorys there since 1880.
They build Shelburne Dory’s using a “Dory Clip” which eliminated the need for grown frames.   Grown frames are basically the lower portion of a tree where the wood turns from the trunk to the root with a sharp bend…very strong as the grain then follows the turn from the bottom planking into the side planking.  The naturally grown knees or frames are time consuming to dig, as they are in the ground and not so plentiful.  A Dory clip will join two straight pieces of wood into a strong frame or knee without digging in the dirt or having to search for naturally curved wood.
Lucky for me that in 2011, Milford Buchanan and Bill Cox were there.  Milford is the resident dory maker and Bill who was 92 at the time, once owned the shop and many other nautical related buildings in Shelburne…Cox’s Chandlery, Cox’s shipyard.  I spent some time talking with both, about my years as a boat builder.  How back in Wisconsin I was lucky enough to have been a carpenter building 225’ wooden minesweepers. They didn't realize we were building large wooden ships in the center of the US.  (one ship I framed up…MCM Guardian, sank last year in the Philippines after being run aground by an irresponsible captain.)
 Hope this shop stays open for years to come and will be there when I return.

Lets go on tour.

The people of Nova Scotia are proud of their Maritime Heritage and that is reflected in the many museums, roadside markers and personal signs all across the Province.
 is a fanciful story about a Dory-man in a storm being saved by a Selkie

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