China Sea Trading Company, Maritime Antiques, Salvage, Curiosities

THE CAULKER’S CORNER

A greatly under-appreciated skill these days is the ability to keep the sea where it belongs — outside of the ship’s hull.

In earlier times, the ship caulker was as important as carpenters and riggers. In the ports south of Philadelphia, the caulkers trade was dominated by African-American men. This was true up to World War I.

Fred Bailey, better known to us as Frederick Douglass, was a journeyman caulker in the yards in Fells Point, Baltimore, before he lit out for freedom.

I keep my eye open for mallets, irons and others tools of the trade. Most of these tools are still useful on a traditional ship. If you are in need of these, you know how difficult it is to find them.

My supply tends to fluctuate considerably. Irons are generally priced between $20-35; good mallets $95-175; deck beetles are around $60.

Give us a call and let us know your needs. 207 657-2117