Foreword Reviews

Making a Chaputs

The Teachings and Responsibilities of a Canoe Maker

The chaputs style of dugout canoe has great cultural importance to Canada’s Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations. Joe Martin, a master of the craft with more than sixty such canoes to his name, teams up with museum curator Alan Hoover to document this importance—and the process of creating a canoe—in Making a Chaputs.

The slim book includes some of Martin’s stories about his work and his father’s experiences making canoes, but much of the focus is on describing the process of the craft. That starts with selecting the right tree, finding one that can be cut to make two canoes. The team also measures and shapes the canoe, and uses piles of heated rocks to steam the hollowed interior to make the wood flexible.

Anecdotes and occasional diagrams highlight the level of detail involved in making a chaputs that will be both beautiful and functional. Standout photographs show Martin and his father at work, as well as their impressive finished chaputs. A picture series shows the full canoe-building process, too, underscoring the difficulty and precision of the craft.

Making a Chaputs celebrates a generations-old craft with photographs and instructions.

Reviewed by Jeff Fleischer

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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