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Thread: Brooklyn Mower Dory Build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Brooklyn, New York, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Brooklyn Mower Dory Build

    Hello all,

    I've decided to start a thread for my dory build for anyone that's interested to follow along. I posted some thoughts before while planning and choosing a design and there seemed to be at least a couple potential followers.

    This is my first time building a boat and I decided to choose the 1911 version of Mower's 21 ft Massachusetts racing dory. I'm going for a traditional build, at least as traditional as is reasonably possible these days. I realise this is quite ambitious but I've spent a good while now roaming around these forums and perusing through some of the classic books on wooden boat building so I feel pretty confident about pulling it off. Hopefully with the wisdom of this community and some trial and error, it will make it to launch!

    The build was a little slow in getting started -- getting space, lofting, making decisions and gathering materials -- but I think it is pretty much in full flow now so I will start posting my progress.

    First off, I decided to assemble the transom, which is three boards of white oak held together by riveting to some oak cleats:


    I may add some cheeks to the lower half, where the bevels get very broad and thin, so as to have some more meat to fasten the first strakes onto.

    Unfortunately, a gap of about 1 mm has appeared between the boards since fastening, probably from further drying after being indoors for a while... I am trying to get the boards to swell back up with some linseed and tung oil in the meantime. Hopefully the gap will close up enough for whenever I get around to caulking.

    Next up, I assembled the bottom, screwing some white cedar boards together with white oak cleats. You can see it assembled here in a kind of "scaffold" I built for the setup of the boat skeleton, where I can attach the cross spalls of the knees and top of the stem once I get the remaining parts cut to size. I am very lucky to have friends in Brooklyn with a backyard that have allowed me to use the space to build!

    PXL_20210228_171258504.jpg

    Unfortunately a couple of the cleats had some minor splitting when I screwed in these thick bronze screws. I tried to pay close attention to sufficient pre-drilling as I've seen many warnings but, alas, I still have to get the knack of it! They don't seem to pose any catastrophic risk so I think I'll just fill the cracks at some point, maybe with some kind of linseed compound.

    You can also see some of the knees that just arrived from @jwswan which I plan to be working on in the coming weeks.

    So I hope there will be some more updates before long as I proceed with the setup. I welcome any and all comments and feedback and am happy to elaborate on details of the process if anyone is curious!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Westford MA & Milfjörd NH, USA
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Brooklyn Mower Dory Build

    Your timing is exquisite. I just reposted the link to Thad's (Danielson) article on the Mower dory on a FB thread:

    https://smallboatsmonthly.com/articl...t1f5OFhfYY4SKc

    Dan Noyes here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1981...32860076969339
    remarked that the Mower dory appears in Gardiner's book (I just bought a copy).

    Finally there are these to put you in the 1908-1909 frame of mind:
    19520.jpg

    and
    18792.jpg

    The photos are from the Historicnewengland.org website but can be found by searching via DigitalCommonwealth.org using dory as a keyword. I believe both of these photos are from the Nathaniel Stebbins collection from 1909 and 1908 respectively. I'm looking fwd to your progress.
    Last edited by xkdrolt; 03-01-2021 at 01:32 PM. Reason: grammar fix

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Victoria BC, Canada
    Posts
    590

    Default Re: Brooklyn Mower Dory Build

    I have the same shrinking issue on a dory skiff that I've been stalled on for some time, gaps have appeared between the bottom planks. I'm debating whether to add splines or just rely on the cotton caulking - the planks should shrink back most if not all the way once she hits the water. I expect it will leak anyway whenever out of the water for a while, until it takes up each time. (I think I just talked myself out of splines!)

    When you come to drill for the garboard to bottom fastenings, I recommend drilling for each fastening as you come to it. I drilled four or five ahead, and found the plank shifted when I hammered the nails home, just enough to misalign the next holes. After two or three fastenings were in the misalignment was enough to make the next nails bend and wander. A couple of them broke through on the inside of the bottom plank. Not badly enough to make it worth digging them out (bronze ring nails) but I'll have to make a cosmetic repair. Yay for paint!

    Jamie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Conway, MA
    Posts
    5,983

    Default Re: Brooklyn Mower Dory Build

    The 1911 plan shows an oak shoe under the bottom board, with this carried out over the lower edges of the garboards. In 1911-1921, the bottom board would certainly be one piece, two pieces with one seam is easier to keep tight than three with two, but good caulking bevels are important with the planks as tight together inside as possible.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    northeast Ohio
    Posts
    2,511

    Default Re: Brooklyn Mower Dory Build

    Oh yeah! Count me in.
    I love those Mower dories.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    9,146

    Default Re: Brooklyn Mower Dory Build

    Cool project. I'll be following.
    -Dave

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Sound Beach, NY
    Posts
    4,508

    Default Re: Brooklyn Mower Dory Build

    Thanks for sharing, I love those Mower dory plans. I sold my last sailing dory last summer (never owned a Mower).
    When she's ready, I'll trade you sailing days. Come out to LI and sail on my ketch, I'll drive in and be rail meat for your dory.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Brooklyn, New York, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Brooklyn Mower Dory Build

    Nice pics, @xkdrolt, definitely inspiring! And Gardner's book is great, every time I look through it I learn something else I seem to have missed the last time.

    And great tip Jamie, I'll keep that one in mind. Good luck with finishing your skiff! I'm definitely banking on seams swelling shut so I hope for both our sakes you're good if you skip the splines.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad View Post
    The 1911 plan shows an oak shoe under the bottom board, with this carried out over the lower edges of the garboards. In 1911-1921, the bottom board would certainly be one piece, two pieces with one seam is easier to keep tight than three with two, but good caulking bevels are important with the planks as tight together inside as possible.
    These are some of the scantlings for the plans I got where apparently Mower is calling for pine. I was thinking of using cedar for the false bottom, would I be better off using oak? And I was also hoping to get the bottom out of two boards but then I read somewhere, maybe in Gardner's dory book or in Greg Rossel's book, that one should try to have the centerline land in the center of a board. They might have said something about the centerboard slot. I can see how fewer seams is preferable though, I already feel they have added up to a lot along with the transom.

    PXL_20210302_215813902.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryLL View Post
    Have you sourced the plank stock yet? I'm particularly interested in how you deal with the GBD plank.
    Haha, I am interested to know how I'll deal with the garboards myself... I have a decent pile of white cedar that I got for planking and some of the boards are quite wide so hopefully I'll manage to pull it off.

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    Thanks for sharing, I love those Mower dory plans. I sold my last sailing dory last summer (never owned a Mower).
    When she's ready, I'll trade you sailing days. Come out to LI and sail on my ketch, I'll drive in and be rail meat for your dory.
    That sounds amazing! I would definitely take you up on the offer.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    846

    Default Re: Brooklyn Mower Dory Build

    Hey Kiliantics,
    Nice to see your dory, and great to see another boat coming together in Brooklyn. I just left Brooklyn after 35 years. Built quite a few boats there, some in Williamsburg, some in my Navy Yard shop, and the last one, a Point Comfort 23 out in Canarsie. Wherebouts are you?
    I'm a dory fan in general, and love that Mower boat!
    Cricket
    Now in White Stone, Va.

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