Everglades Exploration Network

Is anyone aware of  articles or books on building Seminole canoes? Are there any lines drawings (plans) of the canoes? Also any information on paddles, poles or other equipment, if any, that they would have carried? Thanks, Rob

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Im curious, Rob, do you have access to large cypress?  You can find pictures of canoe building on old Seminole postcards. 

There are several how tos on the net. http://www.primitiveways.com/dugout-canoe.html


Thanks for the websites. I don't have access to a cypress. Where I am white pine would be the easiest. I was just looking at a 1911 publication that states that in 1750 in Albany New York white pine dugouts "were counted good for 8 to 12 years". A Calvert Marine Museum pamphlet "Early Chesapeake Single-Log Canoes"  recommends tulip poplar, yellow pine, cypress, and sassafras. My memory is that large tulip poplars were common in the D.C. area. When push comes to shove I can never bring myself to cut down such a big tree.

its not a seminole canoe but this may be of some interest to you.




Rob are you the Rob Stevens of WCHA? Do you want to do a dugout workshop?  LOL

Here in South Florida large Bald Cypress may be found after a hurricane. But they are hard to move. They weigh a ton. Sometimes the canoes themselves can be found abandoned but again extremely heavy..


After a hurricane, I once found a downed large Bald Cypress. It was even already hollowed out. I heard the loggers left the hollow trees alone. It was still too heavy for me to move, but I thought about it.

Thats an incredible video. Thanks for posting.

you're welcome.


I am a Rob Stevens of the WCHA. I don't know if I'm the Rob Stevens of the WCHA. A dugout workshop would be a lot of fun.

I found this description of a Seminole canoe written by Willoughby in 1906 

 " The canoes are hollowed from a cypress-log, and are quite narrow for their length, rather sharp on the water-line forward, but above-water flaring out suddenly into a blunt bow, well narrowed at the stern, and finishing in an overhang.

   Though cypress-wood is rather light, the bottom and sides are so thick that they will weigh two or three hundred pounds. A seat is formed in the stern partly upon the overhang, and the surface helped out by a few boards. On this seat , which is pretty high, the poler stands, giving, besides the push, a very good guiding force. ....Formerly many painted their canoes white and indulged in much ornamentation about the bows in red paint, with the boat's name in letters on the side. The universal color now seems to be black, with little or no ornamentation." 


i know this is off the beaten path a little, but there are instructions on how to make an old school glades skiff in the the book "gladesmen", if anyone's interested... 

There is an article "Dugouts of the Mikasuki Seminole" by Wilfred Neill, 1953,  with a few useful tricks in "Florida Anthropologist" 6:77-84

 I see there is an exhibit on dugout canoes called "Paddling the Americas" at the Florida Museum of Natural History  in Gainesville until January 5, 2014. If memory serves me there is a great exhibit on the Calusa there. It will then be at the Elliot Museum in Stuart from April 11 till Sept 2 2014. This museum is a must see. FORTY FOUR 1930 to 1931 Ford Model A's. I kid you not.

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