Using canoes for fishing and travelling has been happening for a long time in Manus island. Many families living along the coastline and surrounding islands have one or two small canoes to help them with daily chores such as transporting firewood and even for journeys to places afar. Some are intricately made while others are just produced quickly to serve a certain need.
Today my brother began started the canoe making process. He cut down the tree in the forest. As it typical of canoes, they are made from a lightwood ‘noe’ as it is water resistant and light. The tree is just at the back of the house so it was easy to cut down.
Once the tree was cut down, he began the shaping process. In this case, he begins to bring a shape in his mind to the tree trunk. He begins the shape by cutting the edge into a pointy end. So using the axe, he methodically chips away the end of the trunk until a sharp or pointed edge appears.
He then begins to cut a rectangular shape on the top of the trunk. Again using the axe, he cuts into the softwood, every step digging into the middle of the trunk. Eventually he will dig into the tree trunk forming a hallow shell. He may need a different too than the axe. For now, the axe is utilized to slowly form the shape. One the shape of the canoe is realized, he will carry the canoe to the house where there is a clearing or a shaded area where he will slowly carve out the canoe.
It will take a few more weeks before the canoe is finalized. I will let you know of its progress.