Sam Feltham learned how to build boats on Deer Island using cut timbers, but has been using steamed laths since moving to Glovertown in 1954. This punt, completed in August 2012, is just one of more than 100 boats built by Sam over the years. While Sam would normally cut his own wood, he finds it increasingly difficult to find suitable timbers. For this punt, Sam used store-bought spruce.
Typically, says Sam, “we would cut a knee in the woods – a flaring knee, with an angle about 18 degrees – for the stern.”
Unable to acquire this piece of timber Sam improvised by making a mortise and tenon joint with the materials he had available.
Sam further improvised with his planking, noting that his planks are thinner on this punt than he would have traditionally built with. Here, Sam used about 20 planks where he would have only used 7 or 8 wider planks in the past.
For his frame, Sam used steamed juniper laths. At one time, these laths would have been positioned above the boiling water but nowadays it’s more common to place the laths directly in the water. While Sam says that pure steam is better than placing the laths in the water, both methods serve the same purpose in the end.