Preview: Carvel Construction; John’s Bay Boat Co. Builds a Wooden Lobster Boat, Part I

Some 40 years ago, Peter Spectre, then of International Marine Publishing Co. engaged me to edit Royal Lowell’s manuscript which became a book called Boatbuilding Downeast. It is a wonderful step-by-step description of how to build a Maine lobster boat by one of the very best designers of the type—a guy, now dead, who could build boats as well design them. That book remains a classic, largely because of Royal’s crystal clear perspective drawings. Now, to accompany that “bible” of plank-on-frame powerboat construction, we have Walt Barrows‘s lovely and informative photos showing how Peter Kass of John’s Bay Boat Co. puts together a similar craft. Walt hardly missed a step, and took care to include the workers in his photos as well as the work. It’s as good a rundown on plank-on-frame boat building as I’ve seen and we much appreciate Walt’s willingness to share his photos with OCH members.

The boat is a big one, 46′ overall, and powered by an 800hp Caterpillar diesel. She’ll be fishing from Spruce Head beginning in the summer of 2015, skippered by her owner Jimmy Tripp. He’s a lucky guy. There’s no better builder of this type of boat than Peter Kass and his John’s Bay Boat Co. crew.

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A keel timber of oak, sawn from a single long log begins the process.

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11 Responses So Far to “Carvel Construction; John’s Bay Boat Co. Builds a Wooden Lobster Boat, Part I

  • Avatar

    dominique schmidt says:

    Hi Maynard,
    Going through my Woodenboat magazine collection, i stumbled into issue 115 from dec 93 where you were launching an alert “before they’re gone” on recording info (pict, plans and so on…)from the last Maine lobsterboats which at the time were disappearing fast. Just out of curiosity was this article successful in doing so and if yes was there any publication made on their history, builder etc??
    Thanks to let me know.

  • Avatar

    Paul Briggs says:

    If some company would sell pressure treated white pine, a lot of boats like this could plank with it cheaply and with just as much dimensional stability as cedar, stronger by a small amount, just as easily workable, abundant, historic, widespread.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    There are a number of Peter Kass’s boats around here, some built for fishing, others more pleasure oriented. All are lovely and the best of the best. Tad Roberts designed the 32, 38 and 39 footers:

  • Avatar

    Donald Strople says:

    I loved it. It showes what boat building was and is all about. I wish I had spent more time around the boat yard, two yards away from my house, as a kid in Rockport Mass. (Waddell Brothers Boat Yard)

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    Joy Phillips says:

    Wonderful photos of big classic wooden Maine lobster boat from Peter and his crew, love the Australian flag on the shop wall- a gift from Will Baillieu and Bennito ?
    Philip Myer Hobart

  • Steve Stone

    Steve Stone says:

    Great piece on traditional lobster boat construction, Maynard. I’d love to spend a season over at Peter Kass’ shop making a video series of this kind of project. One day!

  • Avatar

    Claas van der Linde says:

    Wow! Fascinating and informative! Great to see this still commercially being done! Thanks, Maynard, for a wonderful post!

  • Avatar

    Georg Hinteregger says:

    To see a real commercial fishing boat come together out of native woods, oak&cedar,
    is good for the soul.
    Makes you want to go out and cut some.
    Just for the smell of it.

  • Avatar

    michele del monaco says:

    beautiful…great envy for making such a joy