Jim Elk has been building spars since learning as an apprentice under renowned boat builder Jim Richardson of Richardson Boatyard in Llyods, MD in the 1970s. While on the Chesapeake Bay, he helped build spars for the skipjack fleet there, several schooner spars and the 110' lower main mast for the tall ship, Constellation. He also worked on the restoration of the Dove, helped build a 60' Chesapeake Bay Buy Boat, and restored a Chesapeake Bay log canoe.
When he moved to Maine in 1981, he worked first for the JM Williams Co. for two years, working on the restoration of the International One Design, Silverspray, and new deck structures of a Bunker and Ellis 42' lobster yacht. He then worked for Frenchmans Bay Boating Company as the foreman maintaining their fleet of charter boats.
Elk Spar & Boat Shop was started in 1990, the year after he broke the mast of the International One Design he was restoring. Drawing on his experience from his time under Jim Richardson, he screwed brackets to the fence beside his house in Bar Harbor and built the 45' hollow mast outside.
When word got around the island, home to a fleet of more than twenty IODs--all with wooden spars, orders for masts started coming in. Three more masts were built on the fence before Elk Spar & Boat Shop was started and a building was rented. In 1996, ESBS built a new building which houses a spar bench capable of laminating a spar up to 95', and room for storage boats and restoration projects up to 60'.
Since then, Elk Spar & Boat Shop has built hundreds of spars including spars for reproductions of some of the most famous historical boats in America, including two boats for the Jamestown Plantation Project in 2007. Elk Spar & Boat Shop has built spars for some of the most well known shipyards, including Brooklyn Boatyard, Rockport Marine, and Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway. We have also repaired and restored boats from dinghies to schooners, from cold-molded construction to traditional plank on frame, and yes we are even good at working on fiberglass boats.