Dugout Canoes and Log Boats


          Log dugouts were a common watercraft of early historic and prehistoric times in the Eastern Woodlands, and the iconic image and rugged functional nature of the dugout make them one of the more useful items for interpretive facilities, museums, re-enactors, and portrayals of early historic and pre-historic life. For educational and interpretive facilities, we offer an artist-in residence program with several interactive projects available, including dugout canoe construction. We offer lease, rental, and sale of several early historic and pre-historic replica watercraft including both log dugouts and bark canoes for special events, movie sets, museum exhibits, school group projects, and interpretive programs.

           Log boats in the eastern woodlands, and especially the lower Great Lakes, were often constructed from the tulip tree (Lirodendron tulipfera) - also known as "yellow poplar", "tulip poplar", "canoe tree", and sometimes "whitewood". Other woods were also used - especially in regions that did not have access to tulip trees, and these include white pine, southern yellow pine, oak, and cypress... and likely many others.

           The dugout is truly a functional vessel. They are nearly indestructible in normal use, and many historical accounts mention the value of this durability when dragging the vessel over log jams and across shallow areas. Log boats up to eighty feet long (!!!) are mentioned in historical accounts, and dugouts up to forty feet long are mentioned many times. One account records a single dugout carrying tons of cargo and a family of settlers - with enough room for Grandma to recline in her favorite chair for the ride. They are also surprisingly stable and have unique handling characteristics that must be experienced to be appreciated.

Dugouts are a fantastic interactive project for group or public settings such as school group projects, museum exhibits, and special events - with plenty of opportunities to integrate diverse educational goals. We can provide the tools, materials, experience, and knowledge of archaeological and historic record necessary for building accurate replicas and developing activities and peripherals related to dugout canoes, and if you would like to buy, rent, or lease one or more dugout or bark canoes, we may have just what you are looking for.

Here is a short clip of yours truly swinging the stone celt on the log while working on the stone-tool dugout canoe.

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