The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever
“Then tell me; art thou not an arrant, all-grasping, intermeddling, monopolizing, heathenish old scamp, to be one day making legs, and the next day coffins to clap them in, and yet again life-buoys out of those same coffins? Thou art as unprincipled as the gods, and as much of a jack-of-all-trades.”
At the end of the last chapter, we learn the life-buoy was lost trying to save a now drowned sailor. Starbuck asked the carpenter to take Queequeq's coffin (constructed previously for a now well Queequeq) and fix it up to use as a replacement life-buoy. Ahab ponders the multiplicity of the carpenter's job and seems bothered by the way the same wood can be used to create his leg and a coffin. It kind of bothers me too, actually.