Wampanoag Dug Out


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
In Memoriam
We took the kids to "Plimoth" Plantation today to give them some idea of what the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is all about. We were thrilled to find the construction of a dug out canoe in progress. A member of the Wampanoag tribe was manning the fire.

From what I heard of his question and answer session, he uses a green log, and it takes about 10 days on the grill!



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Carving trees...


I can't imagine carving out a tree into a canoe? Here's what we saw back in May in Maui. It was an International Canoe Festival where 9 different Polynesian countries compete for the best canoe built in 2 weeks...takes me that long to get a rib in!



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How about five logs?

In Roy Underhill’s book, The Woodwright’s Eclectic Workshop, he described the construction of a Chesapeake Log Sailing Canoe. It consists five logs, lined up side-by-side, and butt joined by eye and adze, then suitably hollowed out. According to Underhill, scores of such Chesapeake Log Sailing Canoes were built, some up to 50 feet long and ten feet wide.
The log canoes are still in use on the bay. I was doing a class at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philly, and they were restoring one at the time. I managed to tear large holes in both legs of a pair of jeans in less than 2 seconds on a nail sticking out of that sucker. It sounds like keeping one of them right side up is quite an adventure!
Yeah there’s even an active Chesapeake Log Sailing Canoe Association.

The Underhill book has a photo of a five log canoe in progress. And I mean these are logs, 2-3 feet wide each, bark still on, except for where they’re joined up. He says a method for getting a tight fit was to kerf in the logs, which means basically sawing in the joint between the logs until each side matched perfectly. That must have been some work. Logs were joined with free tenons: matching mortises were filled with a slightly oversized oak tenon, which then swelled for a tight fit. Then they hew away all the excess wood!
There is a nice article about sailing them in WoodenBoat Number 127. It isn't your typical Sunday afternoon on the Charles...
When I get the time and figger out how to do it, I'll try to post picture in the Underhill book. Basically, though just think five big logs, mostly bark on, edge joined and waiting to be "thinned" into a boat. You would get a lot of wood chips from the project!
Actually Underhill photo is one in the series posted by smallboatshop. Thanks for posting that url as it answered some questions I had. Definiately a labor of love to join five whole trees and whittle them down to what?, an inch thick hull.