Short History of Old Wharf Dory Co.

My name is Walter Baron. I am a self-taught boat builder, and have been building boats out of wood for about 25 Years. I started Old Wharf Dory Co. at my house on Old Wharf Road in South Wellfleet. This is where the name comes from. I built a couple of boats there, and soon realized that I needed a real shop to build in. I found a two car garage for rent on Bank St. in Wellfleet, got my Coast Guard Manufacturers Identification Code, which is XWC, and started learning to build and repair boats using OJT (on the job training). I had been a house carpenter for several years, so I had some experience with wood and tools. I read a lot of books, subscribed to WoodenBoat magazine ( I have every issue, I think), and went to work every day. I did a lot of repair work then, which was a great learning experience. I also started building simple plywood prams, which I still build today. I have built over 50 prams, out of about 120 boats built over the last 25 years.

I stayed in the original shop on Bank St. for 3 years. I built 38 boats in that shop, including about 30 prams, a 15' plywood skiff, 3 - 17' Swampscott dories, a 25' Black Skimmer , which is a Phil Bolger designed shallow-draft leeboard sharpie, cat-yawl rigged, and a 23' Oregon Dory-style work skiff for the Town of Wellfleet. I also did a lot of repair work.

In 1980 we decided to sell our house on Old Wharf Rd. My wife and I bought a piece of land on Old Chequessett Neck Rd., near the center of Wellfleet. We built my present shop, and house, on this land. I moved into the shop in 1981, we moved into the house in 1983. Since that time I have built over 80 more boats, and repaired and restored many more. I have also been a commercial fisherman, both on a dragger and on the flats of Wellfleet, and have helped to build several post and beam houses. A short list of some of the boats that I have built in the new shop is provided below.
  • 1981 - 15'6" Skiff "Teal" by Sam Rabl; 15'6" Gloucester Gull Rowing Dory by Phil Bolger
  • 1982 - 14' Plywood Skiff by XWC; 6'6" Lapstrake Pram; 16' Plywood Work Skiff by XWC
  • 1983 - 28' Beetle Whaleboat, cedar lapstrake planked,white oak frames and keel; 12' Lapstrake Cartop Skiff, plywood, by John Gardner
  • 1984 - 15'6" Glousester Gull; 17' Swampscott Dory, plywood, by Mystic Seaport; 16' Work Skiff, by XWC; 18' Work Skiff, plywood, by XWC
  • 1985 - 34'6" Shallow Draft Cruiser plywood by Phil Bolger; 15' Cedar Lapstrake Canoe, by Walt Simmons
  • 1986 - 24' Power Catamaran for aquaculture by Phil Bolger; 15' 6" Old Wharf Dory; plywood rowing dory by XWC
  • 1988 - 15' Rowing Skiff "Whisp" by Steve Redmond
  • 1990 - 12' San Francisco Pelican by William Short; 18' Norwalk Island Sharpie, by Bruce Kirby
  • 1992 - 18' Sea Kayak plywood Greenland style by XWC
  • 1993 - 17' Fast Rowing Boat by Jon Aborn; 16' LYS #1 plywood work skiff by XWC; 11' Asa Thompson Skiff glued lap plywood; 20' LYS plywood work skiff #1 by XWC
  • 1994 - 16' Nauset Marsh Skiff guide skiff for Bob McAdams by Tracy O'Brien; 16' H-16, Oregon Dory by Tracy O'Brien; 18' H' 18 Oregon Dory by Tracy O'Brien; 18' Simmons Sea Skiff by T.N. Simmons
  • 1995 - 13' Dory/Skiff by George Lawton
  • 1998 - 9'6" Martha's Tender from WoodenBoat Plans
  • 2000 - 18' Simmons Sea Skiff composite bottom glued lap sides by XWC and Tracy O'Brien; 13' 10" Melonseed Gunning Skiff glued lap plywood traditional design
  • 2001 - 18' Wide Guide Skiff by XWC and Tracy O'Brien
  • 2002 - 10' V-bottom pram T9.9 design by Tracy O'Brien; 40' Wing mast for 10m catamaran, Gougeon Bros. design
  • 2003 - 20' LYSS bare hull; 16' LYS for a lobsterman in Rockport, MA; 18' Annapolis Wherry bare hull CLC kit; 18' Sea Kayak XWC design; 16' LYSS Tybee Island, GA
  • 2004 - 20' SSS, composite bottom, all mahogany interior, teak windshield & rub rail
  • 2005 - 9' Skiff, 17' Swampscott Dory for rowing, 17' Nahant Dory for row and sail, 16' Light Gloucester Gull for dory racing, 90 Lbs.
  • 2006 - D-19, 19' V-bottom Power Skiff, by Tracy O'Brien, remodel Nauset Marsh Skiff.
  • 2007 - M16V, 16' V-bottom Power Skiff, By Jerry Mathieu, Chog Boats, 20' LYS, 12' Lobsterman's Skiff, start the 18' BBB
Publications about Old Wharf Boats:
  • Soundings On Line 2009 by Craig S. Milner - Download PDF
          Reprinted with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC
  • Soundings On Line 2009 by Craig S. Milner - Download PDF
          Reprinted with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC
  • Soundings Article 2008 by David W. Shaw - Download PDF
          Reprinted with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC
  • Small Boats Article 2008 by Dennis Caprio - Download PDF
          First published in WoodenBoat Magazine's 2008 Small Boats
    NPR Audio Clip - Listen Here

  • Old Wharf Dory Company
    170 Old Chequessett Neck Road
    Wellfleet, MA 02667
    508-349-2383
    E-mail:
    info@oldwharf.com

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