Stevens Boatworks

Stevens Boatworks is a traditional boatyard and marina in the historic village of Chester on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Committed to excellence in boat construction and maintenance, our yard utilizes time-honored workmanship in building and restoring strong, seaworthy vessels. Our marina offers safe, secure slips and moorings and inside or outside winter storage. We build lasting relationships with our customers and are committed to upholding a legacy dating back to the end of the Second World War.

The 16-foot Work Barge

A few years back one of us had the bright idea that if we had our own barge capable of lifting 3,000-lb mooring blocks we could service all of our moorings and save the cost of annual diver services.

We envisioned an economical, nothing fancy (think cheap), 16 ft. by 7.5 ft. flat bottom barge, hull depth 18 inches with a center opening, designed for plywood construction.

Construction material was ½” construction grade plywood for the hull, ¾” for the deck with oak chines, athwart ship stringers and longitudinal stiffeners.

Construction was started bottom up on a frame of 8” x 8” timbers.

Once the bottom fastened, epoxy coated and painted it was time for roll over.

It soon became evident that this barge platform would make a dandy shanty boat/house boat hull. With internal water and sewage tanks, a nautical looking cabin on top anchored in a snug cove; a person could have a great summertime water front property for little cost. 

Out the door she went on a sunny April day. A steel lifting frame to support the 5 tonne winch was bolted on. We fitted an outboard bracket and use an 8-hp Evinrude for propulsion on near harbour work. For longer trips she is towed. 

This little craft has opened a whole new business line for us. We now offer a complete mooring placement, inspection and renewal service. An added plus – she is trailerable.

Rough and dirty work for sure and she doesn’t look this bright now; but she was built to take it.

Bluenose Sloop #92

This traditionally built, bright hull Bluenose was built right here at Stevens Boatworks in 2003. She was constructed to the original specifications of the designer, William J. Roue, of the finest materials; mahogany planking on steam bent oak frames with stainless steel fastenings.

One particular problem plagues most wooden hulled Bluenoses – broken and cracked frames.

It could be that oak back in the 1940’s was of better quality than now or it could be that the frame scantlings were desgned a tad light. Either way, it was a problem that the owner asked us to repair.

Back in the shop a survey and assessment of the frames revealed all frame damage to be located between the shear clamp and bilge stringer at a fastening. A total of 16 frames were nominated for repair.

After the pros and cons of the available repair options were weighed we elected to proceed with stengthening the frames by overlaying with stainless steel flat bar.

A template was made of each frame and the flat bar, which was the exact width of the frame, was accurately measured and cut. Our metal roller formed the flat bar in the exact shape of the frame. Once in position on top of the frame the drilling and tapping started.

On the outside of the hull the bungs were drilled out with a forstner bit and the screws carefully backed out. Through the original screw holes we drilled the frame and the steel then went in with a 5/16” tap and cut threads in the steel. A 5/16” machine screw securely fastened the planking, frame and stainless flat bar together. 

80 holes later we were done; bungs glued in, machine screws cut off flush on the inside. Once the interior paint is touched up the flat bar will be inconspicuous to all but close scrutiny.

This procedure resulted in a strong, economical and long-lasting repair. Once the weather warms the hull will be refinished; then out the door she will go for many more years of enjoyment.

A Winter's Worth of Work

A busy winter ahead for the crew at Stevens Boatworks.

The bright-hulled bluenose sloop on the left is in for repairs to cracked frames.

The blue-hulled McVay bluenose sloop is in for a general restoration; refinishing, hull coating, cock pit deck repairs, mast repair and rigging overhaul.

The J-24 just visible on the right suffers from water soaked balsa core in the deck. The restoration has started with a portion of the deck cut open and sodden core removed. Approximately 40% of the deck core will be replaced.

Swinging from the rafters is a real beauty of a 10 ft. row boat; finished and waiting on client pick-up.

Under the tarp on the right is a wooden 11 ft. lapstrake row boat complete and waiting on final finishing, paint and varnish. We will be looking for an owner for this fine little boat in the near future.

Stand by for a progress report.

A Christmas Repower

Down east, it isn’t often we get a request to repower a vessel in the winter months but that is what we did in December for a client with a tight schedule.

Our client approached us on November 14th for an estimate to install a Beta 60 in his 24 foot cape island style work boat.

Engine delivery date was critical to the project. Working closely with Beta Marine Canada and the Beta Marine plant in the UK, we were able to meet the project time line.

The engine was customs-cleared at Halifax International on Sunday December 22nd. The boat was hauled out at Stevens Boatworks the following day and the existing Yanmar 3GM30 disconnected and lifted off the engine bed.

A custom built lifting frame of 4 x4’s and ‘I’ beam with trolley and chain block enabled the engine to be lifted, moved to the starboard side, lowered to a wheeled dolly and rolled out to the cock pit.

The Yanmar and Beta Marine engine mount centres are almost identical so no modification to the engine bed was required.

The new Beta slipped easily into its new home. The boat cabin was a busy spot; engine installation work underway, new battery selector switch and battery cables installed, misc. electrical work completed, new engine block heater and cabin hot water heater installed, prop shaft pulled for machining and fitting to coupling, shaft stuffing box repacked and adjusted, all new water, heater and fuel hoses, new racor and raw water filters fitted and engine control cables and throttle / shift controller installed.

The exhaust system fit up can often lead to modifications and in this case to mate up to the vessel’s system we had to go with a high rise cross over exhaust elbow which was expedited from Beta Canada over the Christmas holiday.

Engine final alignment and bolt down was completed on December 30th and the vessel was launched into the ice on the 31st.

With engine commissioning successfully completed on January 2nd, the little ship went straight to work.

Job # 1; beat her way out of Chester Back Harbour.

Many thanks to Keith C. and the Stevens Boatworks crew for successfully completing this project on time in a harsh time of year.



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