Before building a boat, every builder must first acquire his timber. The types of wood used for building boats varies depending the kind of boat being constructed and what is available in the area.
For planking, builders in Glovertown once preferred fir but have substituted spruce since fir populations have suffered damage from aggressive insects. Bill Feltham switched to spruce when he noticed that fir was becoming more prone to rot, noting that one disadvantage is spruce tends to have more knots.
When looking for timber for their boats, builders prefer to cut near the coast. It is said that wood cut close to the coast is a better quality than wood from further inland. Edgar Butt says that “it was a better fiber. [Wood further inland] was more brittle. You could tell by the shavings when you were planing where the wood came from.”
Those who grew up on the islands in Bonavista Bay traveled elsewhere for timber. Deer Island inhabitants would get timber from Pitt Sound Island or Lockers Bay and bring it home on cruiser skiffs.
Timber on the Coast
“Timber, for some reason, that was cut out on the coast was a lot better and more pliable/flexible than what you’d get up by the railway. I guess it was growing by the salt water, just the different climate, that’s all… That’s the only reason I could think.” – Edgar Butt