Motorboat built by Ray Boone

WBMNL Folklorist Crystal Braye interviewing Ray Boone at his home in Summerford.

“Well, ever since I was a boy, I see a crooked stick I’d cut it,” answered Ray Boone when asked about getting into boat building. He was around fourteen years old when he built his first boat with his brother, Ron, who was just a year older. “It was a big challenge to take on that… the first one,” Ray noted. The boat, a rodney, was built by the boys for their father to use fishing for lobster.

Ray was born and raised in Cottrell’s Cove, Notre Dame Bay and moved to Summerford, New World Island when he married Mable (nee Watkins) in 1961. He spent forty-six years working as a carpenter, building houses, a number of staircases, a few churches and other contract carpentry work. In the 1970s, Ray returned to boat building and has since built two more rodneys and eighteen speed boats. In 2010, he started building his first motor boat.

Midship bend and afterhook moulds set up on the backbone and battened out

In designing his motorboat, Ray got the shape for the midship bend, forehook and afterhook from moulds belonged to Austin Butler in Cottlesville, whose late brother Mac used them to build a twenty-eight foot boat. Austin and Mac are the sons of Sam Butler of Samson’s Island, who provided the design for Ray’s rodneys years earlier.

“I cut everything for it first in the woods. All the big mores of the trees.” Ray used mostly spruce (for the keel, timbers, knees, planks) and some birch (for a few timbers and the shoe).

After laying the keel, Ray setup the full-size moulds placing the midship bend in the middle, the forehook halfway between the midship bend and stem, and the afterhook halfway between midship and stern. He then battened her out and used half-inch copper tubing filled with fine sand to get the shape for each of the timbers, placed at ten inch spacings.

Building the Boat

Building the Boat

Nearly completed motor boat built by Ray Boone

Once timbered, Ray fastened his planks with screws. “I used all stainless steel screws,” said Ray, “I think there’s something over five thousand, I put them all in with the screwdriver. Never used a drill.” Between the seams of the plank, Ray used oakum and sealed with epoxy and then used a belt sander to smooth the hull before painting her white. “I like to see the streaks of the plank, you know… You know she’s wood then.”

With an overall length of 28’8”, a beam of 8’6” (including gunwales), and a depth of 43” at midship, Ray shaped her sheer by eye. She was built to be powered by an 8 hp Acadia marine engine estimated to be about eighty years old.

Shaping the Sheer

Shaping the Sheer


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