Echoes in Time this past week at Willamette Mission State Park. This is a week-long gathering where all sorts of workshops are being taught about primitive living skills. I led a workshop on building a bull boat, also known as a coracle. Thanks to the help of a few people who came by to lend a hand, we had it finished on the first day! On Tuesday I carved out the paddle with my hatchet from a piece of cottonwood that I brought with me. By Tues. afternoon I took it out for it's maiden voyage in the shallow slough that runs parallel to the Willamette. I was quite pleased with it's performance.
I obtained a raw buffalo hide from Pine Mountain Ranch and harvested some willow and red osier dogwood in a roadside ditch on my way to the event. Everything is lashed together with strips of rawhide lace, and the buffalo hide is then pulled up over the rim and secured with a whip stitch of rawhide all the way around.
Women of the Fur Trade. These women all built bull boats and did a river trip with them.
People wondered why I chose to put the fur side of the hide facing outward. The majority of museum photos and historical documents I read claimed them to be built this way. My guess is that if the boat took on water, it would be easy to empty out if it were just rawhide on the inside. Some sources theorized that the fur would create some drag and help the boat to track straight-ish.
After each use I lashed the ends of the spokes across the top to support the willows as the hide continued drying. The frame was pulled out of shape just a bit by the hide but not enough to cause any issues with the performance of the boat.
To paddle the boat forward it is necessary to use a paddle technique called sculling in which the paddle is moved in a sort of figure 8 pattern out in front of the boat. This propels it forward. When one tries to paddle off of one side of the boat it will spin in circles. I suspect a pair of oars would also be a functional method of propelling it forward.
I intend to take this out on some backwater sloughs of the Columbia River near my home. However, if I get it wet during our rainy season, this buffalo hide is going to eventually rot! Thanks to all who helped build this! It was a fun project.
Thursday, July 05, 2012
"Shaun, thank you for being an inspiration to me. I started my own caps sewing business after watching your story on youtube. I promised myself I will get in touch with you and say thank you when my business will be sustainable...so here I am writing to you. My business is called "Turific!" and it's based in Bucharest, Romania. You can check its webpage here: http://www.turific.tk/ For now I still do everything by myself, from sourcing materials to sewing and delivering the final products to my clients. So that's it, thanks again. I respect your work a lot, keep it up! Bye. Bogdan,"
When I started my hat business I wanted to create some hip cycling gear by recycling and not creating more waste. Overall though, I hoped that I could inspire others to start their own business and become more self sufficient in this world. So it appears that it worked! Thanks Bogdan for sending me this email. All the best to you and your business!