There used to be three ways to acquire a tonging boat. You could buy an existing boat outright. If you were inclined you might build one from scratch. Another common way, a sort of combination of the foregoing two, was to buy an old boat and cut it down. The boatyards of the Seventies were just full of boats nearing the end of their useful lives. It was a gold mine of fasteners, engines and gear...and hulls. Many boats ended up half in the dumpster, half chainsawed closer to the waterline, decked over, and a cabin added aft, along with the customary bowsprit. Depending on who was doing the building you might end up with a handsome boat or something less. A favorite hull was a thirty-six foot wooden landing barge which made an excellent tongboat.
After the collapse of the clam fishery in the Eighties the boats fell on hard times. Values dropped. Highly specialized for a work that no longer existed, most just rotted away. A few prime examples were kept up for pleasure and part-time work. In a present-day reversal of custom, here is a purpose-built tongboat having bulwarks and wheelhouse added to make it into a pleasure tug. The boat once belonged to Karl Froelich, the work being performed by Charlie at South Bay Boat Works. The railway and shed shown have been demolished since this picture was taken to make room for some much-needed rack storage. The boat is now floating, and I'll try to get a picture.
Perhaps Roger could repost that picture of the Babylon garvey Half Shell from another thread. One of the lucky ones.