Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Canoe Notes #4

Allen Pinkham Jr was here this weekend working on the canoe. He had some help in a Saturday work party, and the small canoe--16 feet--Is looking like a canoe. To remind, we had it in the water much earlier--Allen wanted to make sure it floated right, without tilting port or starboard. It did, and we got some pictures, etc.

Which means that he could start thinking about the finer points of design and function: making sure the bow is heavier to compensate for the oarsman in the rear; comparing the shapes of bow and stern to photos of old canoes and the new ones being built by river and coastal tribes. It means we took off another 50 pounds I guess. Allen estimates weight at around 300 pounds now, and thinks we can take off more as we clean up the inside hull. Here is what it looks like now, blunt bow to left:


The next move is to finish this one and begin on two 30 foot logs now stored in Jim Zacharias’ yard. Allen talked with Jim this weekend, and the plan is to float the two logs in Wallowa Lake and establish their density--I.e. find the natural bottom of the canoe.

After that--and this is a variation on earlier plan--both logs will be hauled to the Josephy Center, and with a little bit of space on neighbor Sports Corral’s side yard, set them both up to be carved. One will be worked--as this one has been worked--with power tools. The other will be stone and fire. Well, antler, stone and fire to burn out the hull. The power-tool canoe will be another workshop lab, as the 16 footer has been, aimed at making the traditional canoe better.

This all started when Allen taught a beading workshop here a few years ago and said something like “You know, we [Nez Perce] were canoe people long before we were horse people. I’d like to come back and carve one.

Well--our goal is to help him carve three!

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