Dear Sun Spots: I am looking for a johnboat. The classifieds and Uncle Henry’s have been unsuccessful. A johnboat is a small craft, popular in Southern states for calm water, fishing, trapping and duck hunting. It has a square bow and stern, and is very stable, lightweight and easily transported. I would like addresses of suppliers locally or nationwide. I hope your search is better than mine. Thank you so much. – B.T., Turner.

You might want to try contacting Brion Rieff Boatbuilding at HCR 64 Box 289, Brooklin, ME 04616, (207) 359-4455. They can build almost anything. Rieff says they don’t mass produce, but custom build everything.

Rieff also recommends you contact:

Jeff’s Marine, in Thomaston at (207) 354-8777. Sun Spots spoke to the service manager, Dave, and he says they carry aluminum johnboats. They are open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and, in another month or so, will also be open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. They are on Wadsworth Street, the road next to the prison shop. Ask for Dave, Jeff or Bob who will be able to help you out.

Tritown Marine, P.O. Box 229, Main Street, Harrington (towards Machias), at (207) 989-8004. They are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, and also should also be open Saturdays within the next month or so. Ask for Daniel Sampson in sales or Patrick Davis.

Sun Spots also found some building plans online that are too lengthy to publish here. However, you can find them online at and at

According to the first Web site, the johnboat is a combination of the ingenuity of the people and the natural features of the Ozark region. The johnboat is a long, narrow, flat-bottomed wooden boat designed for fishing the pools (called eddies) of the Ozark rivers and floating over the swift shallow riffles. It floats downstream with the current and is paddled by one person in the back using a lightweight paddle.

No one knows for sure when the first johnboat was built or where it got its name, though it is generally agreed that it was first designed by a man named John for float trips on the White River. The same general style boat was used throughout the Ozarks on most streams. Each river had its own boat, which was adapted to the characteristic features of that river.

You may also be interested in noting the Maine Boatbuilders Show is being held in Portland through March 21 and Sun Spots would urge you to contact the organizers in case somebody making johnboats is exhibiting there. You can reach them through their Web site at or via e-mail at [email protected] Director Phin Sprague Jr. can also be reached via e-mail at [email protected] You can write them via mail at Portland Yacht Services, 58 Fore St., Portland, ME 04101. The show takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $15 per person; $25 for two days or $35 for three.

To get there: Take the Maine Turnpike to Exit 6A coming from the South. Take I-295 into Portland. Follow I-295 to Exit 7 – Franklin Street. Franklin Street runs from I-295 to the waterfront. Follow Franklin Street to the second to the last light (you can see the last light). Take a left onto Fore Street and follow it to No. 58. Look for the bright green sign for parking.

• To No Name in Rumford looking for an Enerjet Boiler (Sun Spots column March 15): Jeff at Selco, 1525 Lisbon St., Lewiston, says they carry Enerjet and have for many years. Jeff says they can order this for you. Please contact him at Selco at (207) 783-6927. They are open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at in the Inform Us section under Press Release.

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