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Boatbuilding still alive in Deltaville

Above, Deltaville boatbuilder Willard Norris teaches two of his grandsons, Ryan and Jonathan Norris, the art of building a wooden boat. (Photo by Larry Chowning)

by Larry Chowning

Deltaville has a long, rich heritage in boatbuilding, but the business is not all about the past.

At Willard Norris’ Lover’s Lane boat shop behind his home, a wooden flat-bottom skiff is being built for a James River hook-and-line fisherman. Also, the building of a motorized steel hull barge is under way at Barry Miller’s boatyard to be used in the Chesapeake Bay’s thriving oyster fishery.

Last week, Willard was instructing his grandsons, Ryan and Jonathan, on the art of wooden boatbuilding. Ryan is a fireman and Jonathan is a school teacher. During their time off this summer, they asked their grandfather to teach them the age-old skills of building a wooden boat.

The way Willard is teaching the boys is the same way he learned the trade himself as a boy.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 07.23.2014

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