Tools & Gear

Dry Card Box Compass

Mariner's dry card compass, from the schooner Gloucester of Stockton Springs, Capt. George A. Erskine, 1878. This compass may have been made in 1876, the year of the centennial, considering the patriotic artistry on the North point. Like most compasses prior to the 20th century it is laid out in points of 11 1/4 degrees. These 32 points are the result of continually dividing a circle of 360 degrees by 4. Learning the names of the points, called boxing the compass, was an essential skill for a sailor.

Wheelhouse on Dragger "E.G. Winters"

The dragger E.G. Winters was built at the Harvey F. Gamage shipyard in South Bristol, Maine, in 1976. This photo shows the central position of a radar unit. A corner of a radio shows on the left. Today's wheelhouse would have a plotting depth finder, a GPS unit, an auto pilot, and aboard a fishing vessel, a fish finder.

"Red" Boutilier took this picture as he reported on fishing vessel construction in the 1970s.

Pa and Mate Taking the Sun aboard the Bark Carrie Winslow

Every good day at sea includes taking a sun sight at noon, to find the vessel's latitude. With a good chronometer, one can also find one's longitude. Here Capt. Adelbert Montgomery and the First Mate are "shooting the sun" or getting the sun's altitude using a sextant.

The photograph was taken by the captain's daughter, Ruth Montgomery aboard the Portland owned bark Carrie Winslow in 1898.

Caulking Mallet

Wooden caulking mallet, for driving oakum or cotton into the seam between planks of a wooden vessel, to make the vessel watertight. Used with a caulking iron. Slots cut into the mallet head produce a distinctive ring when the caulking material is seated solidly in the seam.

Shipbuilding inside Hull

With the frames in place, the shipbuilder is laying out where the keelson will be placed, along the centerline of the ship, on top of the frames. Note the auger used to drill holes for treenails. These were generally made by having a auger bit welded to a iron crank shaped handle. Two men have are boring, while the others are posing for the camera.

Cooper's Chamfering Knife

The cooper, or barrel maker, used this type of drawknife in making barrel staves. It carved the inside curve of the barrel stave.

Crosscut Saw

Two-man crosscut saw almost 55" long. Used for sawing large timbers or sawing down trees.

Lobster Pound, Hancock

Lobster pounds are fenced off areas of water where lobsters can be stored while awaiting transportation or a better market. In this 1926 view of a Hancock, Maine, lobster pound, the fence can be seen; men in the foreground are netting up lobsters which can be stored in compartments in the float they are standing on to make them easier to retrieve for shipping. Many lobster pounds are quite large and need boats so that the operator can get around. Here they have a few dories and also a winch set up to help haul in a net.

Lobster Claw Pegs

When lobsters are caught their claws need to be immobilized to keep them from pinching the fishermen or other lobsters. In the past hand-whittled lobster plugs like these from Machias were inserted into the claw to keep it from opening. Today, fishermen use rubber claw bands hooked around the claws with a banding tool.

V-Notch Tool

The v-notch tool is used to cut a "V" in the tail of female lobsters found to be carrying eggs. This is the kind of tool used today. It is much faster than using a knife to cut the notch, although it does cost $16.00, something more than a knife. The notch usually lasts through several moltings or several seasons. It is illegal to catch and keep a lobster with a V-notch in it. This rule helps preserve the breeding stock of lobsters.


Subscribe to RSS - Tools & Gear