Once every year, about this time in October, The Dory Shop welcomes a pair of very special visitors. They arrive in their stunningly clean pick-up truck (always wonder how they do that!) and unload the equivalent of dory building gold.
They are Edgar and Otho Hatt and they supply our “naturally-grown” dory frames or knees.
Edgar, a spry 77 year old, was just seven when he began going out to the wood lot with his father, Arthur Hatt, looking for trees from which dory knees could be cut.
“You need the right angle,” says Edgar, a fact we’re painfully aware of here at the shop. Every once in a while we get a call from someone who has knees to offer, and as they are the defining feature of a Lunenburg dory, we always have a look. But more often than not, the angle is too severe for dory making.
Thank goodness for the Hatts. Because in addition to the work of felling trees, done by axe in Edgar’s early years, the best trees are usually found in wetlands like bogs and swamps – a fun place to work, don’t you think?
The trees are cut so as to leave three feet of height on the stump, says Edgar. Then they are left for about three months. Returning, the Hatts must dig out the tree roots; again, a lot of work.
“But they cut some easy then,” Edgar assures us, especially now that they have modern chain saws as opposed to his father’s old pulp saw.
The rough lumber is then lugged home to the Hatts’ workshop where it is squared out, run through the saw and bundled for delivery to lucky customers like us.
Today Edgar works with his son Otho, who like Dad began going for knees at a young age. “Pretty much as soon as I could walk,” he says.
For more than 70 years, the Hatt family has supplied The Dory Shop with this all-important component of Lunenburg dory construction. And Edgar says he has no intention of giving up any time soon.
“It enjoy it,” he says, “and I think my son does too.
“It’s something that gets in your blood.”Dory PlugThe Dory ShopLunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canadainfo@doryshop.com