Roughing of the Hull

After the tree was fallen, the carver roughed out the shape of the resulting canoe (or canoes) right on the spot. If the whole tree base was fallen, the carver often split the base along the grain, turned the resulting halves round side up, and roughed out the shape of two hulls. If the tree was large enough, a second or third canoe was made from the wood of the tapered end of the trunk. Typically, the carver established the base of the trunk as the bow of the two boats from the split trunk, and arranged any other canoes as the shape of the tree permitted. The final shape of the canoes was then established on the outside of the fallen wood, albeit a little rougher than the final product. The fallen tree was then left in the woods to mature through the winter.

The following spring, the carver began the process of hollowing the canoe out of the fallen tree. This task could be completed using two different methods: The first method involved splitting the wood out of the interior of the canoe, either in small chunks or in large, usable, planks; this method was very similar to that used in the removal of planks from a standing tree, cutting and then splitting the plank out of the trunk. The second method, a controlled hot-rock burning method, involved burning the excess wood from the fallen tree. Rocks collected from special locations were used in this process, since these rocks had a high moisture content which caused them to split or explode when heated, as the moisture expanded while turning to steam. These collected rocks were heated to sear and burn the wood, at the same time sealing and hardening the final product.

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