The Dory Shop

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

Stories from the The Dory Shop

We’ve set the dates for our next dory course

We’re just getting into the swing of summer here but nonetheless are having thoughts of fall and our next dory building course.
The dates for our next two-week running of this very popular program have just been set with the course starting Monday, September 22 and wrapping up Friday, October 3.

As always we have a limited number of spaces – just six on total! – available to folks who’d like the hands-on learning experience of building a traditional wooden Banks dory under the instruction of our master builder, Jay Langford. Over the years, Jay has proven himself a patient and gifted teacher and we’ve just loved the always-interesting mix of people who join us for these sessions.
And a dory is a great first boat to build! While not terribly complicated, its construction will introduce you to many of the tools and tricks of the wooden boatbuilder’s trade. Construction can also be accomplished within a two-week period, providing a manageable time period for our participants.

Visit historic Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and build a full size dory.Your dory building experience will begin in the lumber pile where Jay will discuss the characteristics of good boat lumber, what passes as an acceptable defect (one that can be reliably corrected) and how to select lumber so as to minimize waste. Your very first morning, you will help select planks for the dory bottom.

Making the bottom is a critical step in the boat’s construction and will take up most of the first couple of days. Planks will have be planed for thickness. They will be fastened together with oak battens. And the critical bottom bevel must be just right or it will cause trouble through the rest of the build.

This is careful handwork! Participants will learn to use hand planes and later, to use a small caulking iron to add cotton wicking to the seams of the bottom. Participants will also cut and shape the oak stem and sternpost.

Once completed, the dory bottom is placed on chocks and the stem and stern are installed along with the jigs around which the dory will be made. These jigs are ready-made, some of them dating back to the time of the original Bluenose, however your instruction will also include a discussion of the lofting of boats from plans and how to create patterns and jigs for future projects. At this point, participants are also introduced to the fairing batten and how to ensure the boat is plumb and fair.

Planking can then begin in earnest and will take the rest of the first week. Participants will learn laying out, lining and spiling; splicing and beveling; hanging and fastening. There will be much discussion and ample practice of lapstrake construction techniques.
Once fully planked, participants will learn to select, shape and install the boat’s frames, which in the case of a dory are known as knees. And of course, being a Lunenburg dory, these are made from naturally-grown timbers, cut from the lower trunk and roots of hackmatack trees dug out of the swamps in springtime. This is followed by construction and installation of the gunwales, caps, and breast plate. The structurally complete boat must then be finished – thwarts (seats) made, nail tops puttied, the whole thing carefully primed and painted.

The second week culminates in the launch of the boat and a celebratory row around the harbour, but not before an ultra-secret dory builder initiation ceremony!

The dory course is designed for people with basic woodworking skills. You need not be a cabinetmaker but should know which end of a hammer to hold!

Tuition is $950 and includes all taxes, tools and materials, as well as breaktime snacks and lunches Monday to Friday of each week.
For more information or to sign up, please contact us.
Come to the historic Dory Shop in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and learn how to build a dory.