Since 1992 I've been involved in the building, documentation and repairing of wooden boats. I'm from St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, right across the bay from Eastport, Maine. I started helping out at designer Harry Bryan's boatshop when I was 17, twenty years ago. Working entirely off the grid, and with an emphasis on hand tools, Harry's workshop is a truly unique place to begin working with wood. I then completed a two year diploma Boatbuilding program at the NBCC St. Andrews campus. This training is no longer offered, so I consider myself lucky to have had the chance to get started there. My two instructors were John Anderson, an amazing builder and teacher from Grand Manan Island, and my Uncle Jim Day, a multi-talented, 5th generation builder from Brooklin, Maine. Both provided me with a comprehensive introduction to both traditional and contemporary construction techniques. From dinghies and sailboats, to herring carriers and lobsterboats they each covered a lot of ground in our training. Since then I've been building and repairing boats around Atlantic Canada and beyond.
My first large project was a 36' Jonesport Lobsterboat for a client in Nova Scotia. After this I was hired to lead a group of over 100 volunteers (not all at once, thankfully) building a 30' Sable Island Surfboat for the Nova Scotia Sea School. The nature of this project meant that quite suddenly I became a teacher and I was happy to discover that I really enjoyed it. I've continued to do classes whenever possible since. Sharing what I know of building boats is something I find quite meaningful. I've now had the pleasure of teaching classes at the Woodenboat School, and at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Nova Scotia. It is always fun and exciting to meet some likeminded individuals who want to build a boat in their backyard, pick up some tricks of the trade, or just step out of the usual routine for awhile to work with their hands.
Over the last 8 winters, I've been working once again with Mr. Harry Bryan. I continue to learn a tremendous amount from this kind and patient man and his lovely wife, Martha. Without a friendly invitation to hang out at their shop years ago I would likely not have chosen this trade. My shop is within walking distance of the Bryan's workshop and we've collaborated on everything from fin-powered kayaks, Daisy skiffs, Ladybug wheelbarrow boats, cruising boats "Katie" and "Nerius", the V-bottom powerboats "Sardine" and "Trout" and even a houseboat - the shantyboat "Buttercup". Harry and his whole family's approach to life, boating and boat design have continued to make a lasting impression on me.
I find myself appreciating all the more the value of living small, simply and in close connection with my immediate surroundings. It has been said that "How you spend your days is how you spend your life". While it earns a modest living compared to other trades, building boats and fishing lobster have been a good way to make a decent life here in Atlantic Canada. A life I hope will continue to be a way forward for future generations. When you buy a handmade boat you help to preserve a unique blend of art, craft and science that is centuries old and in close connection to a healthy landscape and community.
Most clients commissioning a custom made boat these days are not usually commercial fishermen - they are likely fulfilling a dream they have had for a long time. To own something for recreation, unique in form and built to last generations.This type of purchase is quite different than simply buying a vehicle, truck or car from a sales lot - it requires a unique partnership between builder and client, with plenty of communication involved in the end result. The lifestyle, aesthetic and safety of my customers is of utmost consideration when taking on a project. My market is directed to building to the client's needs and wants. If you do want a boat - ask yourself first what you'd like it to provide for you.
How do you prefer to travel - by paddle, oars, sail or motor?
What size range is feasible for your needs?
Where would you like to go? How many passengers?
Overnight cruising, camp cruising or daytrips?
Where will you store your boat when not in use? Is trailerability a consideration?
I have a number of drawings, photos and design portfolios to draw on to help you find the right boat for your needs.
Thank you for checking out my website and happy boating!
506 755 6676
21' Alden sloop "Nerius" ready for delivery