“I was only about fifteen, I’d say, when I built the first dory with my father,” said Sam King. His father, Gabriel, was a carpenter in North Creston and built and repaired dories for others. “We never had it built before a fella wanted to buy it,” he said.
Now retired from the Marystown fish plant, Sam has built around fifteen boats. He was working on a dory at the time of our visit to his home in Epworth in 2016. “A fella wanted me to build it… well, I didn’t know if I was going to do it or not. He was two years after me to do. I finally decided I would build it,” he said. “It’s a hobby, that’s all… You gotta do something when you’re used to working all your life.”
Building from moulds that once belonged to his great-grandfather Nelson King, the dory has a sixteen foot bottom (40 inches wide at midship) and measures twenty feet on top with a breadth of six feet. “She’s wider than the ordinary banking dory. The baking dory has five beds of timber, whereas this got twelve,” Sam said.
The timbers, shaped from locally harvested spruce, are one inch thick. The planks, also spruce, are 5/8″ thick and fastened with rivets. The dory was fitted with a make and break engine and is used for recreation on a local pond.