Perogue making video

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Perogue making video

Postby DavidFisher » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:50 pm

On another thread, it was asked if anyone had tried carving a boat. That has been on my extended to-do list for someday, and this video showing a perogue being made makes it all the more alluring. The film was shot in Louisiana in 1949. Amazing skill. As you'll see, a perogue is much lower and more sleek than the typical dugout canoes that I have seen in old photos and so on.

http://www.folkstreams.net/film,188
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby Bob_Fleet » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:37 pm

Magic!

Now who's up for it?
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby paul atkin » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:10 pm

Thanks for posting David great stuff
http://paulatkin.co.uk/




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Re: Perogue making video

Postby Ian S » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:16 pm

Bob_Fleet wrote:Magic!

Now who's up for it?


Well, there's a green woodworking weekend somewhere in the Borders soon. There's even a pond (complete with leeches) to try it in....

Cheers!
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby jrccaim » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:40 am

This is a fascinating subject. The French/Cajun name is pirogue and the Spanish is piragua, awfully close. The natives in the Pacific Northwest, US, made them too. A log is split and hollowed out. The thing is roughly shaped. So it's a gigantic bowl. If you put it in the water at this point it would tip over and fill up. So, still on land, you fill it with water. You bring the water to a boil. Then with sticks, force the gunwales out. NW natives used heated stones for the purpose. I suppose we could resort to propane torches :) since our time means more to us than it did to the natives. The real problem will be to determine just how far to hollow out the hull. Too thin, split. Too thick, can't form the hull by boiling. The NW Natives used cedar logs. In Venezuela they used tropical woods, although the art was dying out when I was in my teens, superseded by the Aluminum boat. Can't say what woods were used there. Some of these things are really big, say 10-15 meters. Might make one in model form, next winter. Summer, I have too many things to do already.

I don't think you would make a coracle that way. Better off with ribs-and skin construction.
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby steve tomlin » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:20 pm

what timber would folk suggest for a similar project in the UK?
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby Bob_Fleet » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:49 pm

History has it they used to be Oak
LINK

I'd be tempted for something a bit lighter and tighter grained. Sycamore or Birch come to mind.
Lime is easier to carve but not so strong and is more porous.

Looks like the first one to make one becomes our expert.
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby robin wood » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:16 am

European expanded dugouts are most commonly made of lime but I would think hybrid black poplar would be another perfect raw material in terms of easy to get big clean cheap and soft. The bronze age Dover boat reconstruction I am working on at the moment is pretty much an expanded dugout split in half with two wide flat boards added in the base to make it bigger. I posted a couple of nice vids of carving expanded dugouts on my blog a couple of weeks ago. http://greenwood-carving.blogspot.co.uk/ and another post from 2009 on the big North West Coast cedar dugouts with slide show http://greenwood-carving.blogspot.co.uk ... shows.html
Damian Goodburn has done over a dozen dugouts but not an expanded one. Pirogue is the French for dugout not distinguishing between expanded or not.
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby nellybelly » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:41 pm

I saw the videos on your blog robin and really enjoyed them thank you

I'm doing bits of forestry work at the moment in between working as a freelance climber in the area so i've got access to some really big lumps of timber!!
i'm planning to build 2 of these over the next 6months to paddle through Ludlow with my brother in the summer so i'll let everyone know how i get on.

Friend of mine found a large gutter adze in a local reclaim yard for a tenner so i've got that covered.
do you think that it would be possible to forge a tool similar to the one i saw robins 1st video to carve out the sides with an old kent pattern axe??

Please everyone feel free to offer any tips or advice :D

Cheers
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby robin wood » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:18 am

if your a climber I'd get the most of the work done with a saw. First time I saw expanded dugouts was when Damian Goodburn showed me an old VHS of some folk making them in a forgotten Eastern European country, they did the bulk of the work with a big chainsaw..
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby nellybelly » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:11 am

i did think about roughing them out with a chainsaw, i've got a 181 and carving bar as well so could get quite close to the finish if need be i just wanted to do as much as possible with hand tools,
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby jrccaim » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:31 am

Traditional method South America way: split log. Shape log as best you can for bow and stern. Pile fire coals (hot) in the middle of the log. (Not recommended for green wood.) Watch you don't burn the gunwales. When coals have burnt out, scrape out charred wood. Go on this way until you have the desired thickness, 25mm or so. Very hard and labor-intensive by our standards, but that is because our values are different. We value time. The natives didn't. And don't to this day. If you wish to get a piragua (as it is called in Venezuela; I suspect it is a Carib term) done on a shortish time frame, why I would use a chainsaw too. Some Pacific Coast natives had steel tools when Capt. Vancouver got there in 17xx. Where they got them is not known. Possibly from the Chinese. Other natives used clamshell adze plus fire. So if you want to imitate these people, use a big bowl adze; the difference between a hollowed-out bowl and a hollowed-out pirogue/piragua is just scale. To me it is all a question of values. If you value your time, use a chainsaw. If you want a boat made according to traditional methods, maybe fire (perhaps from a large propane torch) plus an adze. If you are an archeologist, nothing but carbon copy of native methods will do.

I absolutely and unconditionally refuse to prescribe values for others. So do what you deem best. I might offer a critique on your technique, but never on your values. One last caveat: if you want to put the thing into the sea, then be sure to steam the gunwales outward. Otherwise you will have a bathtub full of water. The gunwale flare, as it is called, keeps (most) waves out.
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby ToneWood » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:00 pm

It looks considerably more refined than, say, some of the "dug out"(/burnt out) African canoes you see in old safari films - more like a big carved bowl in fact :)
Bob_Fleet wrote:...Now who's up for it?
:D Don't tempt me. Now that's a really BIG dough bowl. That'd hold a whole lot of bananas ;)

It occurs to me that a more modern alternative take on this (albeit less bowl-like) would be to make a sit-on-top kayak (surprisingly stable and so popular with divers & anglers):
Image
or surf-ski. Not sure how practical that would be (might need to use balsa :D).
Image
It occurred to me that it might be possible to carve a spearfishing float - perhaps like a mini-canoe/boat - or perhaps even a planche (basically a dive float that is a box, to hold spares & emergency gear but, more often, to hold speared fish in sharky waters). It would need to be light to carry, float well and resistant to saltwater. Floats generally need ballast (e.g. lead/sand/water) to allow a "diver-down flag" to be flown. Designing a better float is a perennial challenge, like designing a better mouse-trap :).

I guess everybody already saw the Ray Mears episode where a Native American master craftsman makes him a light, elegant birch-bark canoe - amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG9bUh6wJSs [Looks like youtube have quite a lot of videos on birch bark canoes.]

I'd be interested to see how to make a small, slatted viking-style boat. I read once that Seymour Cray - of Cray Super-Computer fame - used to build & sail a new boat every year, and at the end of the year he'd have a big party and burn it on the beach. The idea being to learn from the process and build a better one the next year - a metaphor for the supercomputer business no doubt. Apparently it is a myth though - but he did build a boat & burn one.

Robin, just scanned your blog link above, you do some really interesting stuff.
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby DavidFisher » Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:17 pm

I understand that some dugout canoes were expanded by using boiling water to flex the sidewalls outward, but it seems to be clear in this video at least, that this pirogue was not expanded in such a way, and it still works fine (in calm water under skilled control!) They show, even details, of all of the steps involved, and there is no expansion of the sides. The overall width of the finished craft appears to be no wider than the original hewed timber.
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Re: Perogue making video

Postby Bob_Fleet » Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:38 am

Trying to make this a reality though possibly with chainsaws for the main grunt work.
What's the best info sources on timber choice, design etc etc.
Still in the pre-gestation stages but info would be good rather than random googling.
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