How to Prepare and Build with Them

Danny and Greg are removing the bark (rind) of the spruce poles
A longer or lunger is a long tapering pole, usually spruce, used in constructing roofs, floors, surfaces of stages and flakes, fence rails, and bridges over marshy places.

“Rinding” Logs

A longer is a versatile and common building material on Fogo Island. In order to prolong the durability of the wood, the builders remove the bark as soon as the wood is harvested and before the lumber begin to dry. This process is called rinding the logs.

A team of two builders have prepared 300 longers to build the flakes and the pile junks of the Punt Centre. While it takes an average person 15 to 30 minutes to complete a single longer, our experienced builders are able to process up to 60 to 80 longers each day.

The Flake Longers

A flake is a walking platform connecting two outdoor rooms. An authentic flake is made with longers, which are laid over horizontal supports held up by posts and shores. In the fishing seasons, the fishermen would lay splitted cod on the flake to dry.

The flakes are built 3–4 metres above water and the generous gaps between them enable the good air circulation necessary for drying the cod.

Analytic or composite drawing by Robert Mellin showing a traditional shed and a top view of a flake with salt cod
Left: Freeman and Jeff are building the vertical support for the flake made of shores. Right: the completed support
Freeman and Jeff are almost done laying down the longers.

The “Pile Junk” Longers

The longers can also be used vertically as fencing. A crib or the wooden foundation can be vulnerable against the movement of drifting ice in winter. A row of tightly packed longers remove the gaps between the dwarf sticks and increase the crib’s ability to withstand wind, ice and ocean tidal loads.

Jeff and Freeman installing the pile junk longers on the crib in the morning.
The Fishing Stage sitting on a completed crib (wooden foundation) in the afternoon.
A frozen crib in snow at Brown’s Point in February.

What’s Next

The builders are restoring an old splitting table and creating the perforations on the stage facade which are needed for the task of splitting cod. Doors and windows will soon be installed. The next task is to insulate the store, install and paint its new siding.

About Shorefast

Shorefast is a registered Canadian charity based on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, which operates with a mission to build economic and cultural resilience on Fogo Island.

We have committed to preserving and to carrying forward the knowledge contained in Fogo Island’s traditional small wooden boat, the punt. As part of that commitment, we are restoring a fishing premises in the community of Joe Batt’s Arm. Comprising a family house, two fisherman’s lofts, a fishing stage, and a new floating dock to launch and haul up punts, the property will become known as the Punt Centre.

Here on this blog, you can follow the progression of this heritage restoration and learn about traditional outport Newfoundland architecture, and in so doing, explore the balance between heritage and modern restoration, people and architecture, design and purpose, as well as culture and locality.

www.shorefast.org / fb: @ShorefastFogoIsland / t: @shorefastFI / insta: @shorefastfogoisland