Here are a few past projects

Including dugout canoes, elm bark canoe, elm bark house, and fire felling a tree...


2006 - 16 foot Historic Dugout Canoe, Tulip (Liriodendron tulipifera) wood. Built with steel tools. This project was completed with 6th grade students at Goodwillie Environmental School in Ada, Michigan.

2007 - Elm Bark Canoe. Built with a single sheet of elm bark, this 16 foot canoe proved a quick handling, lightweight (65 pounds) vessel. The fresh sheet of bark weighed around 200 pounds - finding and peeling the tree were the most difficult part of the process. Built in partnership with Kevin Finney of Great Lakes Lifeways Institute ( in about 5 days including finding and harvesting all materials. Our combined 20-plus years of making things with bark didn’t hurt....

2007 - Pre-steel Tool Dugout Canoe. After building the first dugout with steel tools, this one was made using pre-steel technologies. We burned the tree down and used antler wedges, stone axes, and fire to form the canoe. Another collaboration with Kevin Finney and the wonderful students at Goodwillie School, this was a learning process for everyone involved. This dugout and the earlier 16 foot historic replica have been used on lakes and rivers and are still sailable vessels. Heavy, but very durable and an important historic type of canoe, dugouts have unique handling characteristics. And yes, they really can be paddled with a fire burning in the boat....

More on dugout canoes at the dugout page.

2009 Elm Bark House. This reconstruction of an early-historic home was built by 6th grade students with our guidance. We started with a bent-pole frame, and then peeled bark from donated elm trees for the covering. The completed structure is now used as a outdoor classroom and is one of several structures at this site that are built in the pre-colonial style of the Great Lakes.

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2012 Dugout Canoe. Built at Angel Mounds State Historic Site on the Ohio River. This turned out to be an incredibly stable craft, capable of carrying large loads. Length is just under 16 feet. Built with a mixture of tools and fire, it was completed in about 3 days with the help of volunteers.

2014 Elm Bark Canoe. Built with the 5th grade class at Goodwillie Environmental School in Ada, MI. This canoe was gored instead of crimped to create the rocker. Sheathing was also installed to make it more durable and give cleaner lines.