SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Jarvis Newman made a mold from a Bunker and Ellis 36 wooden lobster boat when he began making fiberglass versions in the 1970s. One of those wooden originals, called Mouse after its original owner, Wilfred Lloyd of Vinalhaven, is being rebuilt in Southwest Harbor for Newman’s daughter Kathe Walton and her husband, Dan. Kathe also is the granddaughter of Raymond Bunker.
The rebuild is being led by Richard Stanley, whose work also carries forward a local family maritime tradition. He grew up helping his father Ralph Stanley build and restore wooden boats. He is an old friend of Walton’s – the two both grew up in Southwest Harbor and were in the same class through school.
Mouse has had a long working life already; six different Vinalhaven fishermen owned it before the Waltons bought it in 2014 and brought it to the Southwest Harbor shop. It probably won’t be ready to relaunch this season, but already has received new frames, a new transom, new engine bed and sheer plank. Jonathan Minott has been assisting Stanley on the project.
“They are very talented woodworkers,” Walton said. She has been impressed by “Richard’s knowledge of wood, his patience in shaping each piece by hand using tried-and-true techniques.”
To replace the sheer plank, Stanley said, they needed a 14-inch-wide piece of cedar in order to cut the curved shape required.
“No one had one that big,” he said. “But one day while we were looking, Gott’s construction’s crew called up Tom Gott because there happened to be a big cedar that needed to come down to get their excavator in” to a job site.
“The tree was 16 feet long, 20 inches across at the butt and maybe 8 inches across at the top,” Stanley said with a grin. “Tom just loves to saw lumber, especially specialty stuff. He’s always nerved up about whether it’s going to be good enough.”
Working in the Newman shop on the old Bunker and Ellis brought back lots of memories for Stanley. He remembered Bunker stopping in to Ralph Stanley’s shop, seeing young Richard hard at work, turning to Ralph and saying, “If you had a few more boys like that, you wouldn’t have to work!”
Another bit of early encouragement from Bunker sticks with Stanley. One day, he brought out a model lobster boat he had built to show Bunker. “He looked it over carefully,” Stanley said. “Finally, he said, ‘It’s a little too wide, but you got the right idea.’”
This past February, Walton purchased the shop and business from her parents and became the owner/broker of Newman Marine Brokerage. She had been learning the brokerage business from her Dad and working alongside him. Declining health led him to retire completely early this year.