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Applegate boatworks

Northwest Coast Canoes

Applegate Boatworks Zydeco pirogue


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A plywood replica of a Native American dugout canoe


   Columbia R.   

Rogue River




Grand Ronde


The Whole Fleet

21 ft

21 ft

27 ft

24 ft

37 ft

Here are the northwest coast Native American canoes that we have made at Applegate Boatworks. The first two were made for my family's use. The rest of them were all made for various tribal organizations. The principle type of organization of the tribes in dealing with canoes is the Canoe Family. The Canoe Family is an ancient institution that creates and manages canoes in the tribe. I am not a Native American and at the request of several tribal members and Canoe Families, I am not offering these canoes or the plans for them for sale to the general public.

The replicas are made with the
taped seam plywood technique. Plywood panels are joined with strips of fiberglass to form a seamless hull with no ribs or framing. The original West Coast style canoes were carved from Coos Bay Oregon up to Nootka Sound B.C. They had flat bottoms and flaring straight sides. Since I can make a rounded fiberglass chine joint between the flat sides and bottom, I can approximately duplicate the traditional shape. I have also had an opportunity to carve two dugout canoes. Together with members of The Confederated Tribes of the Lower Rogue I carved a traditional Southern style river canoe from a redwood log. We also carved a Kalapuya canoe from a red cedar log with members of the Kalapuya Tribe.

I try to make the plywood replicas to be as close as possible to the traditional canoes. I use historical and academic sources, oral histories and measurements from existing dugout canoes where possible. When someone from a particular tribe asks me to make a canoe, I try very hard to find a design of that tribe or as close as we can get. I want them to not only look like the originals but to act and perform like the originals. One of the keys to making a successful replica is to make it with the same weight and weight distribution as the original cedar dugout version. The thick bottoms of the dugouts served as ballast. This allowed the traditional carvers to make canoes that were narrow and sleek but also stable and safe. I use very thick plywood for the bottom plank to get these same qualities. I make the nose and tail and gunwales of these canoes out of Western Red Cedar so that they can be carved into traditional forms with traditional tools.

These replicas are not intended to replace the traditional dugout canoes. The replicas are more economical to build and easier to transport. This means that more people can have a chance to see them and paddle in them. They are serving to raise the awareness of tribal culture among tribal members and young people as well as non-native people.

You can click on the links below to see more about each canoe.

A plywood replica of a Makah dugout canoe
Two Moons
19' makah replica

A plywood replica of a Columbia River dugout canoe
One Moon -
14' Columbia River replica,

A Rogue River redwood dugout canoe
Dene' Stiyen -
14' Rogue River dugout canoe

A plywood replica of a Quileute indian dugout canoe
Kwa-dee Tabil
19' Quileute Replica

A plywood replica of a Coquille indian dugout canoe
21' Coquille replica

Ul Iymist -
21' Chinook replica

Skakwal (
24 ft Chinook replica

A Kalapuya cedar dugout canoe - Gudakut
22 ft Kalapuya dugout canoe

Stank'iya (
33 ft Chinook replica

Ponto,  a 21 ft plywood replica of a Coquille indian dugout canoe.
27 ft Coquille replica

37 ft Chinook Replica

Drawings of all the Applegate canoes together.

The Whole Fleet


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© John McCallum 2003