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Thread: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

  1. #1
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    Default Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    In 2010 I was contacted by Harry W., a member of the Sinixt people who was interested in commissioning a traditional Sinixt canoe which, as it turns out, is a Sturgeon Nosed canoe.


    Today it was delivered to the very happy new owner. He is probably the first person in his family to paddle such a canoe in 100 years or so. Follow the link for pics & more info.

    http://paddleandoar.com/notebook/snc/index.html


  2. #2
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    Stevens Point, Wi, USA
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    Nice work and an unusual design.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    That's gorgeous, Paul. Did you shape the frames over stations or molds?

    - Norm

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    I gots to know. How does she paddle?

    Can you tell us more about the history of the sturgeon design?
    "Wherever there is a channel for water, there is a road for the canoe. " - Thoreau

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    Thanks for the comments all.

    The first step was to shape the inwales. Then the ribs were lashed on - they were shaped by hand and eye only. And yes, I had to replace some of them because they were not fair. That was one of the most challenging parts of this build for me. That and tying a gazzillion knots!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    Fitz - All of the documentation that I have on the SN Canoe descibes it as tippy, fast, difficult to turn, and for use in calm waters. In the brief time that I got to paddle it, I would have to agree with all of those things. I might add to that that when paddling alone the nose is slightly elevated into the air, but when paddling double, the nose goes down and it picks up an awful lot of moss.

    Because of the interest in this project I may have to put together a fuller history and bibliography page - when I get a little time. But briefly, it was used ONLY by a few of the inland Salish tribes - the Kutenai and the Sinixt for instance - AND peoples on the Amur River in Russia. Adney was convinced that there was a connection between the two peoples, but a more likely explanation would be that the building materials dictated the shape. Who knows?

    When canvas became available the design persisted. But even then, these craft were extremely crude, and are now considered to be more of a curiousity than and important type. But then, maybe my project can change that? ;-)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    Neat boat and a neat historical piece. I'd imagine that bow could get you into trouble. Either that or you watch for strainers like a hawk.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    I have just included a list of links, books, and forums at the bottom of the sturgeon nosed canoe build page for all who are interested. If you all find anything "new", I'd love to include it.

    Cheers,

    Paul M.

    http://paddleandoar.com/notebook/snc/index.html

  9. #9
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    Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    Why would one design something like that with its obvious "challenges"?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    Just dealing with the materials available to them I think. A case where the materials dictated the design to a large degree.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    How did the materials, available to most neolythic (sp?) cultures, dictate that rather odd shape with its peculiar in-use challenges?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    Ibn this case, according to John Jennings (The Canoe - A Living Tradition), it may be because of the type of barks used. Whereas Birch grain goes around the tree, the thicker coniferous trees used in the areas around the Canadian border grow longitudinally. These barks are thick but brittle, so it would be necessary to sew up from the bottom. These were very crude boats.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    Or perhaps the PNW tribes met up with the likes of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_sturgeon
    and designed a canoe in it's likeness to honor it. Or something.
    I have seen Sturgeon jumping in the Hudson and have seen maybe 4 (confirmed) sightings in the last 3 years. I've seen more small fish in the 2-3' size then 5-6' size broaching the surface, as they are known to. No one seems to know why they seem to leap or broach. The speculation is that they leap out of the water to dislodge parasites that may get to them on the bottom of the river, as they are largely bottom feeders.

    Very interesting project. Too bad it does not handle wonderfully on the water. This fact furthers my idea that this would have been a ceremonial canoe and used only on special occasions.
    Classic Plastic 1967 Tartan 27' with lots of teak, everywhere. ~~/)~~

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sturgeon Nose Canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
    Very interesting project. Too bad it does not handle wonderfully on the water. This fact furthers my idea that this would have been a ceremonial canoe and used only on special occasions.
    Definately not a ceremonial canoe. My client's grandfather went down the Comlubia River in one and none of the accounts from back in the day mention anything about it being anything but a working canoe. As for the handling, that is one area where I've read conflicting accounts. Some say it was just for calm waters and others say it handled well in the rapids. I'm sure it depended on the individual craft. I unfortunately did not get to paddle it for very long so my opinion is ill educated. I did find it to be easy to paddle, but not so easy to turn. Harvey's on the other hand has more rocker and he reports that it is easier to turn.

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