Traditional Wood Canoes

In June 2002, an 18th century Cherokee canoe was found in the cold clear water of the Chattooga River. Early Cherokee canoes called dugouts were burned and scraped out of single tree trunks. The excavated boat was in the traditional Cherokee style, but showed evidence of metal tool work introduced in the colonial era. Phil Greene, a master canoe builder living in Round-O, also applies modern tools and technologies to create what are essentially traditional canoes -- durable, seaworthy boats that demonstrate the art and technique of woodcraft.  Phil is also the brother of Tim Greene, a wood bowl maker. 

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Wood Canoe - Building a Hull | A Natural State
Wood Canoe - Building a Hull | A Natural State

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In June 2002, an 18th century Cherokee canoe was found in the cold clear water of the Chattooga River. Early Cherokee canoes called dugouts were burned and scraped out of single tree trunks. The...
Wood Canoe - Finishing Hull | A Natural State
Wood Canoe - Finishing Hull | A Natural State

Video

Finished hulls appear as rich warm-toned boats encased in a layer of glass. The finish is the result of hours of sanding and polishing the epoxy layers on the outside of the hull. A fairing board is...
Phil Greene's Wood Barn | A Natural State
Phil Greene's Wood Barn | A Natural State

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Wood destined to become part of a canoe is kept dry in a loft above Phil's workshop. A tour through the loft reveals the different woods found in Phil's work including red cedar, bloodwood, walnut...
Baptizing a New Boat | A Natural State
Baptizing a New Boat | A Natural State

Video

Wood Song Canoes, Phil's business, gets its name from the feeling he gets as he quietly glides through the water in a well made wooden boat. We visited Phil and his son as they "baptized" a new boat...
Wood Canoe - Paddle Aspects | A Natural State
Wood Canoe - Paddle Aspects | A Natural State

Video

The finished paddle has three basic parts--the grip, the shaft and the blade. The grip is ergonomic, or designed to reduce a paddler's hand fatigue, and can be custom shaped to the user's hand. The...
Wood Canoe - Paddle Making | A Natural State
Wood Canoe - Paddle Making | A Natural State

Video

Canoes need paddles, so Phil specializes in both woodworking crafts. While paddles made of softwood are more often purchased for economy and function, paddles of hardwood are bought for visual appeal...