The Dory Shop

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

Stories from the The Dory Shop

Dory Building Classes

This particular morning in Lunenburg was a glorious morning. Blinding sun quickly rising above the early seasmoke we tend to get this time of year, and it was actually warmer outside than in – which isn’t all that common this time of year. Everyone was singing out ‘good mornings’ and ‘hellos’ as I walked along Bluenose Drive to the office then suddenly there they were: thick, soupy, black clouds on the horizon, over by the tennis courts. They were headed straight for us and ominous doesn’t come close describing how they looked.

I rushed up the steep stairwell into the office in a panic trying to figure out what on earth I was going to do: today the dory course participants were launching their dory, and how on earth would we do it in pouring rain? It has never NEVER rained on a dory launch day, and there was just no way I could let it happen. I don’t know if it was the abundance of bargaining I did aloud with Mother Nature, or simply confirmation that the old adage still holds true (if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes). The day turned out perfect. Those clouds were all bravado, like a schoolyard bully. Not one drop of rain fell on the Dory Shop yard and the clouds scurried off from whence they came.

As the launch time approached, I announced on our Facebook site that we were launching a Salmon Dory and chuckled to myself as I hurried down to the yard for all the action (it’s a top secret affair, these dory course launchings, with much pomp & ceremony & laughter). I found it funny because it coincidentally sounded like a dory for a special kind of fishing, but it totally wasn’t. It was referring to the colour. The interior of the dory is a lovely Salmon Pink.

I know what you’re thinking: Good Heavens!

launching a dory at the Dory Shop in Lunenburg

We build a lot of dories here in our yard. A lot. And not just dories, we build other wooden boats too. And while we are rather partial to the traditional Dory Buff with Green trim, not everyone else in the world is. Far be it from us to tell you how your dory should be painted, so we always ask people how they want their dory. We use a great quality Canadian-made marine paint called Laurentide Matchless Marine. We give customers free range using the Laurentide colours (there isn’t too many so things don’t normally get too out of hand). The downside is that this means there are often half-or-less cans of paint leftover. Once upon a time we would dry that out and throw it away, but Bub had a very good suggestion: don’t waste it, keep it. If we are building a boat that isn’t pre-sold and so will go into our inventory we can’t leave it unpainted – for protection, the wood needs to be painted right away. If someone comes along at some point and wants to purchase the dory, we give her a fresh sanding and a coat of paint. Every time. Regardless of what colour the new owner wants, whether they change it or not, we sand & repaint it. So why waste the old paint? Bub uses it up on these inventory boats, often having to mix colours together to ensure there is enough paint to cover the whole thing properly and with enough coats. He mixed up a grey earlier this year, and put deep red on the bottom and the trim. A tourist came along and saw it and liked it so much they ordered a smaller dory painted the same colours.

This dory was an inventory dory, and we’ve had a lot of red on our boats lately. I knew it was going to be painted “Bub” (which is what we call it when Bub invents a colour from leftovers), but I hadn’t quite anticipated salmon pink, and it came with some cautious shock when he told me (thankfully he decided not to surprise me with it!).  Whether or not she stays pink forever ( – and looking more like bubblegum pink to me, I highly doubt she will – )  you can’t deny she certainly looks very different from the traditional colours and she’s created a bit of stir. People are commenting to me about it – it never occurred to many people that a dory could be painted any colours other than buff & green.

Who knows: maybe next one will be painted like a rainbow.

traditional Wooden row boat

 rowing a dory