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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

10 December 2013

❖ HEWING A CANOE ❖

LaConner, Skagit County, WA.
ANDREW JOE (1892-1960)
  carving a 54-ft canoe, 1952,

LaConner, WA.
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
Andrew Joe, 60-yr old Swinomish Indian, has carved about 30 dugout canoes in the past 42 years––but none was so important to him as the 54-ft racer now being hewn from a cedar log.
      Not only is the canoe the longest he has made, but it will carry the 11-man first team of the Swinomish in the Pacific Northwest Championship race 30 May, at the Lummi Stomish Water Carnival at Gooseberry Point, south of Bellingham.
      "This will be the first time the first team has used one of my canoes in the big race," Joe said from among flying cedar chips. "Our second team once found out one of my canoes was pretty fast, though." 
Racing canoe carved by Andrew Joe.
Four of the five canoes in the race were swamped
during the first mile of the three-mile race. 

Dated 6 July 1941; photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
      Joe was referring to a 50-ft canoe which swamped with others competing in the last Coupeville race, 6 July 1941. The second team had a good lead in his canoe when choppy water cut them out of the race.
      The large cedar for Joe's new canoe was cut before the snow last winter. He has been working on it in his spare time for about a month.
      Most of the work of carving a dugout is done with an adz, the use of which Joe has developed to an art. Much work with a plane and finer cutting tools is required to make the lines smooth and true. When completed, the sides of the hull will be less than an inch thick.
      Worm or "dead" spots in the log make patching necessary, Joe explained. Patches are fitted and glued into the hull during shaping.
Words by John Van Devanter for The Seattle Times, 12 May 1952.

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