Joe's Leather Bailer

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These traditional style bailers are made up with:

  • cherry backplates
  • latheturned white oak or black locust handles (depends on the offcuts in the shop at the time)
  • vegetable tanned shoulder leather for the"scoop,"
  • copper slate nails
  • instructions
  • and a tin of tallow/beeswax topcoat to maintain season on the smooth (outer side) of the scoop.

Copper slate nails

Here is what Rodger Swanson, of the Swanson Boat Company has to say about the bailer he makes:

This nifty traditional item was introduced to us by Ben Fuller. We both despise, abhor and condemn the ubiquitous (and just plain UGLY) bleach bottle bailer! All I ever did was complain. Ben, however, took action, resurrecting a traditional and truly effective leather bailer. To quote Ben:

"I learned about them from Joe Liener, a master boatbuilder from South Jersey, who went on to the run the small boat shop at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, retiring to the St. Michaels area. He built his own ducker, melonseed and other hunting boats back in the 40's. He had one for his ducker Green/Briar, which I think is now in the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum collection and that's the one I copied."

"It's the only bailer I know of that won't ding up nice traditional paint and varnish."

Our bailer is made with a cherry backplate, lathe-turned Black Locust handle and the "scoop" is vegetable tanned shoulder leather fastened with copper slate nails. The handled is drilled far a lanyard (recommended).

1. This is a low-tech tool but very efficient once your get the hang of it. In the boat, it's best to hang it from a cleat attached under the gunnel and within easy reach of the oarsman (we recommend each rower having their own bailer).

2. Use lt as you would a "scoop", adopting an even, steady pace. You'll find you can remove a lot of water in a short time.

3. It's more effective than a bottle-type bailer because the flexible scoop conforms to the shape of the bilge more closely. Just as importantly, the leather scoop won't damage your boat's carefully maintained painted or vamished interior!

4. At Winter layup, make sure the wood and leather are clean. lf residue has accumulated on the leather, clean it with saddle soap and let it dry. Apply one or two coats of the Leather Top coat to the outside (smooth surface) of the scoop, following the instructions provided. Hang it by the lanyard from a hook or store with the "scoop" pointing up. lt will be there for you, "good to go", come Spring!

Thanks for purchasing one of our products? all the best, Rodger

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