Preview: BONNY BRIDE Progress — Restoring a Wooden Lobster Boat, Part 2

Replanking a Grand Manan Wooden Lobster Boat

With the new cockpit knees in place, I got into some serious butt chasing. No, not what you think. Rather it consists of removing old planks to achieve some semblance of plank end stagger so that the rebuild will be strongly knitted to the original hull. Novi boats do not seem to follow the rule of threes—that is, three frames between neighoring plank butts or three planks between butts in the same frame bay. Perhaps with the frames being so close together it doesn’t matter. Certainly BONNY BRIDE did not appear to suffer any hull weakness except where there was rot. During butt chasing I discovered a good-sized carpenter ant’s nest in the forward bulkhead, and sprayed it, which quieted activity down considerably.

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3 Responses So Far to “BONNY BRIDE Progress — Restoring a Wooden Lobster Boat, Part 2

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    Andy Reynolds says:

    Ditto what Walt just said, and thanks to both of you for bringing this history lesson to life for us out here. And OCH of course.

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    Bill Mayher says:

    In the 1970s when Joel White, Maynard Bray, Taylor Allen and I cruised East into the Bay of Fundy, we often put in awhile at Grand Manan Island. There we got to know Gleason Green, in his late seventies at the time. Besides being a high line lobsterman on Grand Manan, Gleason had made his living importing Novi style boats to Maine. The boats were cheap at the time: spruce planking, hackmatack frames, yellow birch deadwood, galvanized fastenings. Gleason would get a bunch of orders in the fall orders and then tow a string of mostly finished boats down to Maine in the spring. I say “mostly finished” because if they didn’t have engines installed in them, customs duties at the time were minimal.
    Most of the boats Gleason ordered were built by a couple of Nova Scotia brothers named Doucette, and each year Gleason would have a new Doucette boat built for himself, using the name Bonnie in part of her name for the brook that ran right by his house on Grand Manan. Toward the end of his career as a lobster boat salesman, he decided to have special one built for himself out of cedar planking and (as I remember it) bronze fastenings. He called her the Bonnie Bride, and spoke of her with reverence about her sea kindliness and “floating power” forward for the rest of his life.
    After all these years, it’s wonderful to hear of the Bonnie Bride again and to see the marvelous work Walt is doing to put her back to rights. And too bad about the lack of bronze screws. But as I said, Gleason was above all else, a salesman.

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      Walt Ansel says:

      Thank you for the history Bill! I often re-read the excellent articles that you and Maynard wrote about these vessels for Woodenboat issue #45, way back in 1982. What a treat to be directly exposed to wooden fishing vessel culture and the players- some thing that in our museums now is often separated by generations. Roann being the exception of course.