Samoan Material Culture
The Bonito Plank Canoe
The Bonito Plank Canoe
The bonito canoe (va'a alo) was built for speed so as to keep up with the schools of fish being pursued by the bonito. To obtain speed, the hull had to be made as light as possible. The size of the canoe was no problem as trees larger than the canoe were readily obtainable and were used in the soatau and 'iatolima types. To get the hull thin enough, it was easier to control the thinness of the material by dubbing out short sections of planks than by excavating the whole hull in one piece. Of later years, better control over a one-piece hull has been obtained with the sharper steel adzes, and has led to the manufacture of dugout bonito canoes. Before the advent of steel adzes, however, the technique of the plank bonito canoe had become established and many craftsmen despise the dugout bonito canoe as not being true to type. The manufacture of the plank canoe came within the field of the guild of expert carpenters. The canoe is made in the old style except for the use of steel adzes.
Besides timbers and adzes, a good supply of sennit braid is needed for the lashings. The braid is made up into working hanks which in canoe building are distinguished by the term tanganga instead of being called i'o fanga as in house building. A length of braid is used for measuring. For marking the wood, a piece of charcoal, or some chacoal mixed with water in a half coconut shell with a piece of coconut leaflet midrib, are needed. For fitting the planks, red earth is mixed in another half coconut shell and a section of coconut husk (pulu) is used as a brush. A coconut leaf to supply leaflet midribs to serve as needles, and some bits of wood to form wedges are also on hand. Holes are page 381now bored with a bit and brace but in olden times, the foafoa (Terebra) shell with its spiral whorls running to a point was used as a drill or gimlet.
The canoe hull was built in a canoe shed (afolau) or in an unoccupied dwelling house.
The hull. The plank hull consists of separate sections of which the keel, bow piece and stern piece are single elements sharing in the construction of both sides. The other separate pieces of plank (laufono or lauva'a) are arranged in two tiers (taloa) of which the lowest, consisting usually of five pieces, is termed the laulalo (bottom tier), and the upper the laulua (second tier). The vertical or oblique joins between individual pieces are termed tautu while the horizontal joins between tiers is distinguished as aufono. The arrangement of pieces in the hull is shown in figure 224.
Figure 224.—Bonito canoe (va'a alo) plank sections:
a, plank sections of one complete side; 1, keel (ta'ele); 2, stern piece (taumuli); 3, bow piece (pale); 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, form the lower tier (laulalo)—4, tumatua middle piece with wider lower edge and ends running obliquely upwards and inwards; 5, and 6, tatao o le tumatua, they press (tatao) against the tumatua on either side; 7, angai o le pale (companion of the bowpiece); 8, angai o le taumuli (companion of the stern piece); 9, 10, 11, and 12, four pieces forming the second laulua tier, without specific names; 13, a join between sections (tautu); 14, a join between tiers (aufono); b, section of smaller pieces which corresponds to the usual section (12 in a) is made up of smaller sections (12, 12', and 13, 13').
The five sections of the lower tier have been given individual names by the carpenters as they have to be very carefully shaped and fitted to form the foundation lines of the canoe and are often referred to during work. The four sections of the upper tier have no individual names but are referred to as ola o le laulua (sections of the second tier).
A flaw in an otherwise good piece of timber was met by cutting out the flaw and putting in a patch rather than to waste material. Such patches (fa'asosolo) are often seen in perfectly good canoes and their presence does not depreciate the value of the canoe. Canoe builders were masters of shaping, fitting, and lashing, and though they had a general rule as to the number of sections to be used in each tier, they had no hesitation in altering details to make the available material suit their purpose.
The keel. After assembling the material, work commenced with shaping and setting up the keel (ta'ele). Bonito plank canoes were seen in various stages of construction throughout the group but the actual setting up of a keel page 382was seen in Leone. The master builder remarked that I had come to the right place as the knowledge of building bonito canoes had been derived from Uamea and Poeausi, both builders and head fishermen of Leone.
The keel is made in one piece of ifilele or talie wood and may be simple or compound in form.
The simple keel in the Tau canoe (Pl. XXXVIII, C) is 23 feet 5 inches in length and ranges in width from 1.3 inches near the pointed ends to 4.5 inches in the middle, while the greatest depth is 2.5 inches. The greatest width is that of the convex under surface which is exposed throughout its length. At either end, the keel is triangular in section, the two inclined sides meeting in a median ridge. As the keel widens out, a grooved upper surface is dubbed out in such a way as to provide flanges for the lashing technique. For details see figure 225.
Figure 225.—Bonito canoe with simple keel, 23 feet 5 inches long:
a, stern end of keel from above; 1, pointed end; 2, sides inclined to meet in upper median ridge (4), lower convex surface seen in end section (3), the solid triangular part is 5 inches long at the bow, and 12 inches at the stern; 5, point 12 inches from stern point (1) where, owing to the widening of the keel, the median upper ridge opens out gradually into the upper surface (6). The sides (2) and the curved bottom (3) continue in their relative positions. The upper surface is dubbed out to a lower level than the upper edges of the sides to form flanges. b, Section of solid triangular part near ends, showing lower convex surface (3) which forms the exposed part of the keel, the two inclined sides (2) which fit against the stern piece, and the upper median ridge (4). The width of the solid part is 1.3 inches. c, Cross sections of keel in middle. The keel has widened out to 4.5 inches, the wider convex bottom (3) and the sides (2) occupy the same relative position, the sections of the lower tier will fit against the sides, the upper surface (6) has widened out to 2.3 inches and is at a lower level than the upper edges (4) of the sides. From the upper edges of the sides, the keel is cut downwards and inwards on the inner sides to meet the upper surface and thus forms flanges (8) which will subsequently be pierced with holes to take the lashing of the sections to the keel. d, Section of keel through two raised ridges (9) to inner side of lashing flanges, to protect lashings (10) which pass through keel flanges and flanges of side pieces (11).
In some canoes two raised longitudinal ridges are left on the upper surface close to the inner side of the lashing flanges. (See fig. 225, d.) They are situated in front of where the aft boom will cross and are called tali tata (tali to receive; tata, bailer). The ridges are long and protect the lashings as the bailer is scooped along the bottom.
The compound keel has the complete stern piece cut out of the solid with the keel, and also raised portions at the bow end (fig. 226). This form of page 383keel obviates the complicated technique of attaching a separate stern piece to the triangular part of the keel, while the attachment of the bow piece is also simplified. The compound stern piece is termed fa'autouto. Keels vary in dimensions, one seen in Tutuila being 7 inches wide in the middle and 5 inches towards the bow. The keel, having been dubbed out and shaped, is set up in a shed or house as shown in figure 226.
Figure 226.—Setting up the keel of a bonito canoe.
The long slender keel (1) with the compound fa'autouto stern piece (2) and the compound bow part (3) to receive the bow piece, is laid with the two ends resting in forks of special stakes (4) set firmly in the ground. Four graduated stakes without forks (5) are spaced under the keel and adjusted to give the keel the required curve. Another set of longer stakes (6) resting on the grooved upper surface of the keel, are forced down to keep the keel against the under props and their upper ends are tied to the roof framework of the house. The keel having been forced into the correct curve, is kept in that position by the upper and lower series of stakes acting as a vise.
The individual sections are shaped and fitted to the keel, the order being the stern piece, bow piece, and the five sections of the lower tier.
The stern piece. The separate stern piece (taumuli) has two main features in construction; the narrow part aft is solid with a groove cut on the under surface to fit the solid triangular part of the keel, and the forward part is hollowed out to form thin sides. When the lower, and upper sides are freed by hollowing out, these edges have to be provided with inner raised flanges which are necessary for the lashing technique. The right edges have also to be provided with flanges for lashing to the next plank section. The compound keel requires no preparation for attaching to the keel but it has to be hollowed out and flanges provided at the free upper and front edges. In shape the compound stern piece follows more on the lines of the paopao dugout. For details regarding both forms of sternpiece, see figure 227.
The bow piece. The bow part is generally referred to as the taumua but the actual bow piece is termed pale in Manua and la'ei in Tutuila, while both places refer the term taumua to the bow cover. Where the term taumua is applied to the bow piece, the bow cover is distinguished simply as tau.
The bow piece is dubbed out of the solid, the forward narrow part remaining solid while the aft part as it widens out, is hollowed out to form the two diverging sides. It runs the full depth of the deep bow and is hence attached to both sections in both tiers. See figure 228.page 384
Figure 227.—Stern piece section of a bonito canoe:
a, right side; left edge showing curved line of the stern; lower edge, straight and fitted against the keel; right edge straight, oblique downwards and forwards, fitting against the section called "companion of the stern piece"; upper edge runs straight for 10.5 inches and then cuts down at a slant (4) to a lower level of an inch and continued on for 5.75 inches. The depth at (1) is 6.4 inches; at (2), 6.25 inches; and at (3), 6.25 inches. The projection formed by the upper and left edges is characteristic and in some canoes may be more pronounced. The ornamental knobs (5) from the upper surface show up. As far as the line (2) the stern piece is solid, but to the front of the line it is hollowed out; the sides incline upwards and outwards from the keel, the outward inclination increasing to the right. b, Upper surface projects backward in the middle line to a point (1) and forwards to a point (2), the distance between them being 13.5 inches; the aft width at (3) is 3.3 inches and at (4) it is 5.1 inches; the side edges between (3 and 4) are both 10.5 inches long. A raised ridge (5) is left in the middle line to be subsequenty trimmed into knobs; up to the right edge (4, 2, 4) of the surface, the stern piece is solid above, but below and beyond that it is hollowed out to leave the two sides (6, 7) at their normal thickness; the upper edges of the sides are on a plane an inch lower than the solid upper surface; the left side (6) is 6.75 inches long, an inch more than the right side (7). c, Cross section at line (1 in a). The section is through the solid part on the extreme left of the lower edge. The upper surface is 4.2 inches wide. The sides curve in and descend to the narrow width of 1.3 inches which corresponds to the width of the keel in this part. The lower end is cut in a "V"-shaped groove (1) which fits over the two inclined sides of the keel; the vertical depth in the middle line to the top of the groove is 5.5 inches. d, Cross section at line (2) in (a). The hollowing out below the upper surface defines the sides. The upper surface is 5.1 inches wide and the mesial ridge (5) is evident. The lower ends of the sides have diverged to 2.2 inches and the edges (8) are cut at an inclined plane to fit against the sides of the keel and increased in thickness to form flanges (9) on the inner side for lashing against the flanges of the keel; e, cross section at line (3) in (a); the two sides have no connection above as well as below; the lower edges have diverged with the increasing width feature; above, the divergence has increased to carry on the expanding lines of the canoe. On the inner side of the upper edges, flanges (10) are formed for lashing to the stern cover. The sides are from 0.25 to 0.5 inches in thickness, while the raised flanges are 1.25 inches thick. f, Stern piece of compound keel. The stern piece (1) and the keel (2) are in one piece; the stern cover (3) shows that it passes over the stern piece to the end and thus carries the mesial line of raised knobs (5); the end of the stern is marked by the constriction (4) characteristic of the hauling knob of the paopao dugout. If the stern end and the stern cover fit square as at the dotted lines (5), the true fa'autouto name of the stern piece is retained, but if both are cut away to form a notch as shown, the part is termed fa'fululupe, a term also applied to the notch cut in wall posts.
Keel fitting. It is most important that the lower edges and lower surfaces of all pieces and sections should fit exactly against the sides of the keel. Exact fittings are made by using the mixture of red volcanic earth (eleele) which must not be confounded with the special red earth ('ele) used in dyeing bark cloth. The mixture with water is termed sama, the husk brush becomes au sama, and the process of marking the boards is termed ango. The mixture is applied to the narrow side surfaces of the keel and the stern piece fitted over it to take the impression of the wet sama. The parts marked on the stern piece are carefully chipped off and by repeated trials the fit is made perfect. The same procedure applies to the bow piece and all plank sections.
Figure 228.—Bow piece section, bonito canoe:
a, right side, right edge shows curved line of cutwater which projects forward below. The lower edge for lashing to the keel is 8 inches in length; the upper edge is 8.1 inches long from the projecting sharp bow (1) to the point (2) where it is cut down to a lower level for 1.4 inches. The aft edge is straight, oblique downwards and backwards, and 2 feet 7.5 inches in length. The width at the point (3) which marks the line below to two tiers, is 4.7 inches. b, Left side. Cut-water line is on left. The aft edge (right) shows a projection back of lower part to fit against the bottom tier with the consequence that the lower edge is 1.25 inches longer than on the other side. c, Under surface showing "V"-shaped groove (1) to fit over triangular keel and the division (2) of the two sides to fit against the flanges of the keel. The difference in length of the two lower edges is seen. d, Upper surface showing pointed bow (1) with backward projection in middle line (2) and divergence to two hollowed-out sides; the right (4) being longer than the left (3). Knob (5) on upper surface in middle line.
Temporary lashing. In order that all end edges as well as lower edges may be exactly fitted, a commencement is made by temporarily lashing the stern piece to its place over the keel. The lashing through the solid grooved part is different to that through the flanges of the diverged lower edges. The temporary lashing is made through the flange part and the solid part is left until the permanent lashings are made. With the stern piece in position, the flanges in its fore part fit exactly with the flanges of the keel. Flanges to the inner side of all edges made for the purpose of lashing are termed fa'aopoopo. The first step is to bore holes through both flanges as in figure 229.
The lashings are made through the paired holes and round the flanges on the inner side so that they do not appear on the outer side of the canoe. Though the lashing is temporary, the special technique involved is also used page 386in the later permanent lashings. An end of the sennit braid to be used is unravelled, the plies thinned down and twisted into a finer two-ply twist which is drawn through the paired holes with a leaflet midrib. Because the leaflet needle is too frail to draw successive turns through the holes as the space becomes filled by the turns, a continuous loop is used to surmount the problem of overcrowding. (See figure 230.)
Figure 229.—Boring holes through flanges of keel and stern piece showing sections of keel and one side of stern piece:
a, keel (1) showing flanges (2). The outer side surfaces of the keel (3) are fairly wide as they include the outer sides of the flanges. A point is selected somewhere about the middle of the outer surface and a hole (4) bored through to the angle made by the inner side of the flange with the upper surface (5) of the keel. b, The stern piece (6) placed in position, with its flange (7) fitting against the keel flange (2) and bottom curve of keel continuous with outer surface of stern piece. A leaflet midrib (8) dipped in charcoal mixture is pushed through the keel flange hole from the inside and marks a spot on the lower surface of the stern piece. The stern piece is marked through all holes on both sides. c, Section lower end of one side stern piece. A hole (4) is bored through from the marked spot to the angle made by the flange (7) with the inner surface of the stern piece. Holes are bored through all the spots marked on the stern piece. d, Sections through keel (1) and stern piece (6) fitted after boring of holes, showing how the holes coincide, allowing the braid lashing (9) to pass around the keel flange (2) and the stern piece flange (7).
The completed lashings consist of a number of transverse turns over the flanges and neither the commencement nor the ending of the lashing can be seen. In temporary lashings, the turns are not made very tight but wooden wedges (tina) are driven in under the lashing to make them taut. When the permanent lashings are made later, the wedges are easily driven out and the slack temporary turns of the lashing are more easily removed than if they had been made taut originally. The piece is lashed to both sides of the keel and the fitting of the bottom tier of plank sections is proceeded with.
The lower tier. The shape, position, and names of the individual sections of the lower tier have been described under figure 224. They are all made of fau wood dubbed out to the required individual shapes with the appropriate outer curve. Each section is 1.5 inches thick. Fitting commences with the companion of the stern piece and the sama mixture is used to make an exact fitting with the keel and then with the forward edge of the stern piece. For exact fitting, the section must be temoporarily lashed to the keel. The temporary lashings differ from that of the stern piece in that the lower tier sections are fitted as regards their edges but the lashing flanges have not yet been provided. For the time being slots are cut on the inner surface to coincide with the holes through the keel flange. (See figure 231.)page 387
Figure 230.—Flange lashing with continuous loop technique:
a, a coconut leaflet midrib is pinched through to half its thickness at (1) and the lower end split back by slightly bending it; b, the thin end of the braid (2) is put through the split (1) which is closed by straightening the midrib. The long end (3) is threaded through the paired hole and the braid gently drawn through. c, Inside view showing keel flange (4) and stern piece flange (5) fitted together with holes (6) coinciding. The midrib leaflet is discarded and the thin end of the braid (2) is passed through under one of the plies of the braid at the point (7) to form a loop. The point (7) is selected so that the length of braid between it and the end (8) is long enough to complete the lashing turns, but in the figure the length is much reduced. The thin end (2), after passing through the braid, is doubled back and passed through a ply on its standing part (9) to fix the working loop. The end of the braid (8) is crossed above the middle of the hole, held in position with the left thumb and the far side of the loop (10) is pulled to draw the slack through the hole. d, The end of the loop (7) has been drawn through the hole and the part of the slack beyond it (11) is pulled until all the slack is through the hole and the braid in the hole is taut against the held end (8); e, the taut braid is brought back over the flanges and over the short end (8) to make the first lashing turn (1) which is held down on the near flange with the left thumb. Besides the first turn, the continuous loop is also through the hole and pulling on its far end (10) will draw the loop junction (7) through the hole as well as the slack (13) which is now on the near side; f, both the loop junction (7) and the slack (13) have been drawn through to the far side. The first turn has been drawn taut over the end (8) which fixes the commencement of the lashing. g, Each succeeding turn is made by manipulating the loop in the same manner as the first turn—5 or 6 turns are sufficient to form a secure lashing. Before the last turn (14) is drawn taut, the continuous loop (10) is unfastened by withdrawing the thin end of the braid end (2) and (7). h, The unloosened braid end (2) is passed through under the last turn (14) which is drawn taut from the far end of the hole (10). The end of the braid (2) is drawn taut under the last turn (14) and jerked down towards the hole so that actual crossing (1.5) under the last turn is moved down into the hole. k, The end is cut off close in under the far edge of the hole. The last turn (14) fixes the end of the braid and finishes the lashing.
Figure 231.—Temporary lashing of side piece to keel:
a, the "companion" section (4) is fitted against the left keel flange (1) and the stern piece (2) which is already temporarily lashed (3) by its completed flange. Holes (5) have been bored through the keel flange 3 inches apart. At alternate holes, the companion piece is marked with the midrib dipped in charcoal, passed through the hole in the keel flange. The section is removed and slots (6) cut in such a way that the lower parts form flanges (7) which will be opposite the marked spots. Holes are bored through from the marked spots to meet the angle of the flange and the bottom of the slot. The lashings are made by the continuous loop technique. b, Cross section of keel and thick section (4) showing the slot (6) with the lower flange (7) fitting against the keel flange (1).
Dubbing out the side pieces. The dubbing-out process (fufu'e) is to complete the flanges at all edges and reduce the remainder of the section to the permanent thickness which ranges from 0.25 to 0.5 inches. The flanges at the edges are kept at the original plank thickness of 1.5 inches or slightly less. The sections are carefully sloped in from the edges to get the inclination of the flange and the remaining material dubbed out. On the lower edges, the flange portions in the temporary slots are made continuous. In addition to the flanges, intermediate raised ribs (fa'aau or iviivi) are left at intervals to strengthen the plank. A hook projection (fa'alave) is also provided for. (See figure 232.)
Figure 232.—Raised ribs of side piece with hook:
a, inner surface of middle piece of lower tier showing completed flanges of lower edge (1), upper edge (2), and the ends (3, 4), also 4 raised ribs evenly spaced, 2 (5) inclining to the left like the end edge (3), and 2 to the right (6) like the end edge (4). The ribs are level with the raised flanges, are sloped on either side, and the intervening parts cut down to the plank thickness—the ribs are 1 foot 7 inches apart. b, On the left tatao section (fig. 224, a, 6), the fa'alave hook is made. A short horizontal rib (1) 7.5 inches long is made from the middle of a transverse raised rib (2) and the end under cut to form a hook.
After the temporary fitting of the lower tier, the expert carpenter knows exactly where the booms and seats will be. In dubbing out the pieces of the bottom tier, he leaves strengthening ribs at appropriate places to form foot page 389holds for the paddlers. In some canoes, extra high ribs are made by not thinning the side pieces down to the usual 1.5 or 2 inches until after the temporary fitting. The ribs being of extra height for a specific purpose were termed tulanga vae (tulanga, standing place; vae, feet.)
Permanent lashings are made after the side pieces have been finished off with flanges, and ribs and made as light as possible. The lashings through the flanges are a repetition of the temporary one but each turn is carefully made and pulled as taut as possible as no wedges are permitted on the finished canoe. The attachment of the solid parts of the stern and bow pieces to the triangular section of the keel created a problem that was met as shown in figure 233.
Figure 233.—Lashing solid parts of stern piece to keel:
a, section of triangular keel (1) and solid stern piece (2). A hole (3) is bored through the stern piece from the outer side about 0.75 inches above the lower edge in the direction shown. Six such holes about 2 inches apart are bored through the solid 12-inch length of the stern piece. A similar set of holes are bored through on the other side, arranged to be in the intervals facing the first set. The stern piece is fitted over the keel which is marked with a blackened midrib inserted through the stern piece holes. Holes (4) are drilled in the keel from the points marked on the sides in the direction shown. The two sets of holes come out on opposite sides to the middle line of the under surface of the keel. b, The stern piece is again fitted and a piece of braid run through the continuous hole between stern piece and keel with a midrib needle. The continuous loop method is used and the lashing turns (5) firmly made to draw the two pieces together. c, A pointed stick (6) of hard wood is driven into the stern piece hole to jam the lashing turns against the side of the hole and act as a wedge. A similar wedge (7) is driven into the hole in the keel. d, The lashing being secured by the wedges, their ends are cut off and the external parts of the braid, being unnecessary, are cut off also. All the holes in the stern piece are so treated. The bow piece solid part is lashed in a similar way.
The lashing of the solid parts of the bow and stern pieces to the simple keel involves a distinct technique. It is probable that the compound keel which avoided the above problem is the older technique.
Before the pieces and sections are permanently fixed, heated breadfruit gum is smeared over the joining surface of the keel and acts as caulking. The best gum is obtained from the varieties of breadfruit known as puou and 'ulu uvea.
The lashing of the end edges is exactly similar to the lashing with the keel flange.page 390
The second tier. The four sections of the second tier (laulua) are shaped fitted, and lashed in the same way as those of the lower layer. The upper edges of the lower tier being fixed, the red earth mixture is painted over them and the upper sections trimmed accordingly. Care is exercised in getting the proper outward inclination to form the lines of the canoe. The planks of the second tier are wider than those of the lower and bring the canoe up to full depth except for the top sides and the bow and stern covers. When the second tier is temporarily lashed, the long upper line is marked from end to end with charcoal and the upper edge of each section trimmed accordingly when the temporary lashings are unfastened. After the permanent lashings of the second tier, the canoe hull is finished off with the top sides and covers at the bow and stern.
The gunwale. In the type canoe being described, the 12-foot gunwale (oa) covers the middle part of the upper edge while the remaining parts are filled in by the bow and stern covers. The gunwale adds another 2 inches to the depth of the canoe. The shape in section and method of attachment is shown in figure 234.
Figure 234.—Lashing gunwale (oa) to side:
a, section of gunwale (1) which is formed from a piece of timber 3.5 inches wide and 2 inches thick. The upper surface maintains the width of 3.5 inches throughout. The outer surface is cut in from a line 0.6 inches below the upper edge at a slant for 0.3 inches, and the part below removed for that thickness, thus leaving a raised rim (2) at the upper edge. At either end the gunwale is solid as shown in the section for a few inches. The gunwale rests on the flanged uppers end (3) of the sections of the upper tier. b, Section of gunwale (1) a few inches in from the ends; the lower surface is cut upwards and slightly outwards, reducing its width to 1.3 inches so as to fit on the flange (3) below without overlap. The inner surface is cut in horizontally from a line about an inch below the upper edge and the outward cut continued until it meets the upward cut from the lower surface at the angle (4). Lashing holes (5) are formed through the lower flange (3) in the orthodox way from the wider upper surface to the angle of the flange with the inner surface. The under surface of the gunwale is marked through the hole (5) and a hole (6) bored from the mark to the angle (4). Lashings by the continuous loop method are made through these holes and they show on the inner side only. c, Upper surface showing junction of gunwale (1) with bow or stern cover (7) where straight line is interrupted by a right angled cut. d, Side view of junction of gunwale (1) with cover (7) by oblique cut, with gunwale below cover. The ridge (2) on the outer edge of the gunwale is not continued to the end. Some of the gunwale lashings are external (8). e, Section through external lashing. External lashings are in spaces between two inner lashings (b). The hole (5) is bored through the upper surface of the side section (3) downwards and outwards to come out on the outer surface. The gunwale is marked and the hole (6) bored upwards and outwards to emerge on the outer surface. The lashing (9) will thus show on the outer surface as in (d, 8).
In Tutuila, the lashing of the gunwale to the side pieces is termed pu fangota, in which the correct number to bring luck in fishing (fangota) is 15 on the right gunwale and 16 on the left and all must be on the inside. In the type Tau canoe, the right gunwale has 23 inside lashings, 7 lashings showing on the outside, and near the bow 2 lashings pass through holes bored transversely through the plank and the gunwale and thus show on both sides.
Figure 235.—The bow cover:
a, upper surface (1)—width, 1 foot 7.5 inches at junction (2) with gunwale (3), and 2.8 inches at junction (4) with bow piece (5). The junction with the gunwale shows the right-angled join already seen in the gunwales and the aft edge is straight. The bow end is "V" -shaped to fit against the angular projection of the bow piece in the middle. The side edges fit accurately over the upper edges of the second tier sections and the sides of the bow piece. A median raised ridge 1.5 inches wide and the same in height is left on the upper surface, which, after the cover is fixed, is shaped into 7 knobs (7) for carrying the shell ornamentation. The cover is 2 inches thick at the aft end and is continued forward in a raised semicircular part (8) from which there is a slight projection (9) forwards in the middle line. b, Longitudinal section of aft part, showing thick semicircular part (8) and raised knobs (7). The thickness of 2 inches aft diminishes to 1 inch at the bow end. c, Transverse section, showing transverse convexity with cover knobs (7) and side edges cut away on under surface (10) to fit over the flanged upper edges (11) of the plank sections beneath.
Figure 236.—Lashing bow cover to gunwale:
a, upper surface, the bow cover (1) fits against the gunwales (2) on either side and by reason of the oblique join (c, 7) the lower surface of the end of the gunwale projects below the bow cover as shown by the dotted lines on the left. A hole (3) is bored through the cover downwards and backwards so that it passes through the solid part of the gunwale to the inner side of the part (4) that fits against the flange of the side section of the hull. b, Under surface with the narrow strip covered by the hull flange (4). The forward projection of the gunwale under the cover (1) is shown with the solid part (5) and the part cut away (6). The hole (3) from the bow cover side has emerged below through the solid part (5) of the gunwale to the inner side of the part (4) covered by the flange. c, Section through cover (1), gunwale (2), and hole (3), with oblique join (7). The braid is passed through the hole and comes up on the inner side in the angle between the cover and the gunwale, as shown by the lashing (8) in (a, and b).
The lashing of the bow cover to the gunwales receives the special name of tuanga. (See fig. 236.)
The lashing of the bow cover to the side pieces was done by two methods. Those with a method of joining two pieces of the cover together are shown in figure 237.
Figure 237.—Lashing bow piece to sides and lashing two sections of bow piece:
1, bow cover; 2, side piece; 3, flange of side piece: a, and b, first method in front of raised semicircular part on upper surface of cover. a, Section through cover (1) with its shaped edge fitting over flange (3) of side piece (2). A hole (4) is bored through the flange and the under surface of the cover marked. The hole (5) is bored through the cover from the marked point. The hole (6) is bored through the cover to the inner side of the hole (5). b, The braid (7) is passed down through the outer cover hole, through the flange hole and up through the second cover hole. With the continuous loop, the lashing is made from the outside and finished the usual way. The braid shows between the two holes on the upper surface of the cover. Three such lashings were spaced on either side of the bow cover. c, and d, Second method, at the thick part, curving inwards to form the raised semicircle. c, Side view of bow cover (1) where the raised part ends (8) and side piece (2)—showing lashing over thick part (9) and second lashing over thin part (10). d, Section through cover (1) and flange (3) of side piece (2). The hole (4) is bored through the flange, the cover marked and the hole (5) bored through the cover from the marked spot. The braid (7) is passed through and the lashing made. The lashing shows externally on the outer side of the side piece and the upper surface of the cover. e, Section of two pieces (1 and 2) of a bow cover used when suitable timber was not available for a bow cover in one piece. The pieces were 2 inches thick so the joining method was possible. The hole (4) was bored through the piece (1) and a similar hole (5) through the piece (2). The sennit braid (7) was passed through and the lashing made in the orthodox manner. In making the lashings with the sides, it was usual to pass a loop of braid through all the paired holes before lashing down the cover, as it was easier to lift the cover and pass the braid through each hole separately.
The stern cover. The stern cover (velo) is shorter than the bow cove and covers in the space between the ends of the gunwales and the upper surface of the stern piece. In addition to the ornamental shell stands in the middle line, it carries the important fishing rod post (pou'ofe). (See figure 238.)
The shell stands are termed tulanga pule (tulanga, stand; pule, ovula shell) from their function but they also receive the specific name of salue.
The stern cover is lashed to the gunwales and the side pieces in exactly the same manner as the bow cover.
The outrigger booms. In bonito canoes, two booms ('iato) are connected with the float and a middle one is short. The booms receive the page 393names of front, rear and inside ('iato mua, 'iato muli and 'iato loto). The fore and aft booms were made of poumuli poles averaging 2.6 inches in diameter. The aft boom was 4 feet 10 inches long and the fore boom 2 inches longer. The middle boom was 3 feet 9 inches long and barely 2 inches in diameter. On the hull, the aft boom was 4 feet 5 inches from the fore edge of the stern cover. Between the aft boom and the middle boom, the distance was 4 feet 2 inches and between the middle and fore booms, 3 feet. The booms were laid across the canoe and the correct positions marked across the gunwales with charcoal. A single large hole to each boom was bored through the gunwales an inch below their upper edges and directly below the middle of the boom. The boom is replaced in position, with one end projecting but slightly over the right gunwale while the thinner end extends beyond the left gunwale. The under surface resting on the gunwales may be trimmed flat. The usual boom lashing with the single lozenge design and two alternative forms are shown in figure 239.
Figure 238.—Stern cover, rod post, and shell stands:
a, upper surface (1)—length 4 feet 3 inches, width at junction with gunwale (2) 17 inches, width at junction with stern piece (3) 5.2 inches, bow edge straight with right-angled joins (4) with gunwales, stern edge "V"-shaped, thick bow with raised curved part (5), rod support (6) and seven raised shell stands (7) in middle line; b, rod post from above, slightly curved bow edge 5.3 inches wide, curved sides meeting in sharp edge in middle line, length in, middle line 8.2 inches inclined groove (8) 2.5 inches wide inclined upwards and backwards to support bamboo fishing rod at acute angle with stern cover; c, rod post from right side, height 3 inches at bow end and 3.75 inches at stern end, rod post cut out of solid wood with stern lower hole cut through posterior edge for braid lashing of shells; d, shell stand, side few, 1.4 inches high with transverse hole bored through; e, shell stand from above, rectangular sides 2.5 inches long, ends 1.3 inches wide, sides and ends sloped upwards and inwards forming smaller upper surface. The shell supports are cut out of the solid median ridge left on upper surface of cover.
The float. The float (ama) is made of fau, a piece of the required thickness being selected and merely the bark removed. The length cannot be determined until it is fitted to the canoe. The rule is that the fore end comes level with the cutwater of the bow. When the position of the aft pair of connections with the boom has been determined on by temporarily trying in position, the aft end is cut off square about an inch behind the insertion of the pegs into the float. The short, square aft end of the float is typical Samoa. Never under any circumstances is the aft end of the float left or sharpened. The fore end is trimmed to a blunt point by cutting away upper surface and the sides, but very little of the bottom. The float of the page 394Tau canoe is 15 feet long. The diameter at the aft end is 4.4 inches by 4 inches and the fore end aft of the sharpened point, 4.1 inches by 3.9 inches. The wider diameter lies flat with the water.
The float does not lie parallel with the keel of the canoe but is closer in towards the bow. At the aft boom, the nearest part of the float and the keel are 38 inches apart while at the foreboom they are 33 inches apart.
Figure 239.—Lashing outrigger boom to gunwale, decorative designs:
1, inward projection of gunwale; 2, lower part of gunwale; 3, boom; 4, side piece; 5, inside lashing of side piece and gunwale. a, Section through right gunwale showing position of hole made an inch below the upper edge and passing through below the inner projection (1) of the gunwale. The braid is tied in a running noose (6) around the outer end of the boom. The free end of the braid is passed through the hole and makes a transverse turn (7) around the boom on the inner side of the gunwale. b, The braid is passed back through the hole and makes a transverse turn (8) around the outer end of the boom. The braid is passed in and out through the hole until 4 transverse turns have been made around the boom on either side of the gunwale. c, View from above, showing two sets of trans verse turns (7 and 8) around the boom (3). d, View from above. Diagonal turns (9, 10) are made over the boom between the two sets of transverse turns (7, 8), the braid passing through the hole after each turn and coming up alternately on either side of the boom to form crossing sets to develop the single lozenge pattern. e, Transverse section through boom. When five or more diagonal turns in each direction have fully developed the lozenge design, a few horizontal turns (11) are made around the lashing between the boom (3) and the gunwale (1). f, side view section through gunwale. The characteristic circumferential turns (11) tighten up the lashing and prevent the outer transverse series (8) from working over the end of the boom. The end of the braid is pushed through the clear space between the round boom and the flat gunwale and passed under the oblique and transverse turns around which it fixes the lashing with a couple of half hitches (12). g, Savaii decorative design viewed from above. h, Same Savaii designs seen from the side, also circumferential turns (11). k, View from above. Tau design termed fausanga fa'a'iato (canoe boom lashing) held to be true canoe boom lashing and though used on wall posts it retains the canoe boom name. The figures indicate the order in which the curved loops were made.
Attachment of booms to float. The booms being straight, the attachment to the float is always indirect by means of two pairs of pegs (tu'itu'i) to each boom. The middle boom, falling short of the float has no connection with it, but serves as a brace to the gunwales, a back support to the front seat, and an additional means of carrying the canoe if needed.page 395
The connecting pegs are made of ironwood (toa) about 0.7 inches in diameter at the thicker lower ends. Their length is decided when fitting takes place. The lower ends are sharpened for insertion into holes in the float, and the bark is usually left on the pegs. The fitting and lashing of the booms takes place outside the shed, as after it is done the canoe is carried down to the lagoon and tested. The float is laid on the ground at its correct distance from the canoe and then raised by putting pieces of wood under it to get the right level with the keel of the canoe which rests on the ground. When the float is adjusted to suit, stakes are driven into the ground to the outer side of the float and the long booms tied to them to maintain their relative position with the float.
The aft boom is lashed first. The pegs consist of an inner and outer pair, each of which embraces the boom and is lashed together as a pair. The boom and the float being in correct relative position, the pegs are tried in position. The inner pair is tested and the length of the outer pair made the same with the result that the angles made by each pair with the boom and the float are the same. The points where the four lower ends touch the float are marked and four shallow holes not more than an inch deep are drilled in the upper surface to form a pair on either side of the middle line. Transversely between pairs, the holes are 1.75 inches apart and longitudinally between individuals of a pair, they are 2.25 inches apart. As the diameter of the boom at this part is 2.6 inches, the individuals of a pair diverge slightly at the upper ends. The sharpened lower ends of the inner pair are placed in the holes and the upper ends directed upwards and inwards towards the canoe to embrace the boom and get the right angle of inclination. Holding them together against the boom with the left hand, the upper ends were marked so that they come above the point on the outer circumference of the boom that they touch but barely up to the highest upper level of the boom. They are then cut off square at the marks. In this way the length of the pegs is decided. It happens in the Tau canoe, that they are 12.5 inches long including the inch buried in the holes. They are replaced, held in the same position, and the lashing of the inner pair proceeds. (See fig. 240.)
The outer pair of pegs is lashed in the same way as the inner pair. The distance between the peg pairs on the boom is 10 inches. The Tau canoe was made with pairs of equal length, but some craftsmen do not seem to bother so long as the float is kept at the right distance from the boom. In some canoes, the inner pair was longer than the outer and different angles ensued with a wider space at the upper ends.
The depth from the under surface of the aft boom to the under surface of the keel in the Tau canoe is 15 inches. The similar measurement between the aft boom and the float is 12.5 inches, making a difference of 2.5 inches in page 396the lower level of the two. Slight as it is, it is important from the fact that it is always taken into account in setting the float in position.
The lashing of the fore boom differs only in the greater depth of the float from the boom. Thus where the nearest parts of the aft boom and the float were 8.5 inches apart, the distance of the fore boom was 12 inches. The pegs were correspondingly longer, each pair being 17 inches as against the 12.5 inches of the aft pegs. The lower ends were the same distance apart (1.75 inches) transversely, but the individual pegs of the same pair were 3 inches apart. As the boom in this part was 2.5 inches in horizontal diamteer, the upper ends of the pegs converged slightly as against the slight divergence of the aft pegs. Neither the slight divergence or convergence is of much moment except to show that the lower ends of each pair of pegs is approximately a similar distance apart on the float as they are on the boom, which is important as a type of local technique. The upper ends of the pairs were 15.5 inches apart. (See Plate XXXIX, B.)
Figure 240.—Lashing connecting pegs with float to boom:
1, boom; 2, float; 3, 4, connecting pegs; other figures, lashing turns: a, side view, the lashing braid is tied to the near peg (3) with a running noose (5), the pegs make diagonally opposite pairs of acute and obtuse angles with the boom, the pegs are left long above the boom to assist the diagrams; b, side, the left hand holds the ends of both pegs firmly against the boom while the right makes a few turns (6) with the braid around the pegs and the boom through the obtuse angles; c, view from above showing transverse turns (6) over the boom on the float side of the pegs; d, side, the braid is crossed under the boom to the float or acute angle side of the peg (3) and a set of turns (7) are taken around pegs and boom through the acute angles to cross the first set (6) diagonally on the outer side of both pegs; e, from above, showing the second set of turns (7) crossing transversely over the boom on the canoe side of the pegs; f, side, the braid makes the usual circumferential turn (8) around the lashings between the near peg (3) and the boom (1); g, from above, the loop of the circumferential turn (8) is clearly seen between the near peg (3) and the boom (1); h, side, another circumferential turn (9) is made but instead of passing between the near peg and the boom, it passes directly over the top of the near peg (3); k, from above, showing the circumferential turn (9) passing over the top of the near peg (3); m, from above, another circumferential turn (10) is made over the top of the near peg and the braid crosses under the boom to the far side. An ordinary page 397circumferential turn (11) is made between the boom and the far peg (4) and then two circumferential turns (12, 13) over the tops of the pegs are made to anchor the pegs down to the lashing and prevent an upward push by the float driving the pegs up through the lashing, the braid is crossed under the boom to the float side of the near peg, crosses it diagonally to appear on the canoe side, whence it makes a diagonal turn (14) across the space between the two transverse sets (6, 7) and passing to the float side (left) of the far peg (4), it crosses its outer surface downwards and to the right. n, From above, the braid crosses under the boom to the right side of the near peg, crosses over it to its left side, and then crosses the upper surface of the boom diagonally (15) between the two transverse sets (6, 7), crossing the first diagonal turn (14) to reach the right side of the far peg, the braid descends by crossing the far peg to the left and crosses directly under the boom to the left side of the near peg where it is back to the commencement of the first oblique turn (14). By continuing the two sets of oblique turns alternately to, either side of the first turns (14, 15), the single lozenge design is developed on the upper surface of the boom as shown. p, Side view; in making the oblique turns carefully, the lozenge pattern (16) is also developed on the outer side of each connecting peg. The lozenge design being completed and the lashing firm, the braid is run down the near peg in a few close spiral turns (17) and 3 or 4 loose spirals (18) are made over the left forefinger held against the peg; the finger is removed, the braid end (19) pushed up under the loose turns from below, the loose turns drawn taut in order from above, and the braid end pulled upwards to remove the slack. The braid is cut off close to the turn from under which it emerges and the lashing is complete. r, Side view, Savaii lashing, with series of turns (1, 2, 3) distributed over wider area of boom on float side; s, from above, Savaii lashing with series (1, 2, 3) crossing transversely over boom.
The peg connection with the float is not made secure. The points are placed in the shallow holes of the float, not to hold the float to the boom but to keep the lower ends from slipping off. Strictly speaking the pegs in a bonito canoe are not really attachments. They act as rigid struts to keep the float at its proper distance from the boom. When the canoe is in the water, the force is mostly downwards against the float from the boom through the pegs. The float withstands this downward thrust and so balances the canoe. When the canoe rolls to the right, however, the booms lift and there is a strong tendency for the pegs to come out of the shallow holes in the float. Also in carrying a canoe, the float will drop off through its own weight if it has to depend on the connecting pegs alone for its attachment to the boom. A suspensory sennit is therefore used to supplement the peg attachment.
The fallacy of generalizations is well illustrated by the pegs of the Samoan bonito canoe. In Aitutaki, Cook Islands, a Y-shaped connecting peg is used without any additional lashing. The forked limbs are attached to the boom and the straight stem driven well down into the float. In some cases, it shows through on the under side of the float. Canoes are sailed with the float at times well out of the water as the canoe heels over. Here the connecting peg serves as a suspensory attachment as well as strut and so differs materially from the Samoan connecting peg.
Suspensory float attachment. The suspensory attachment (li) between the boom and the float is of vertical form, the braid passing around the boom page 398between the upper attachments of the pegs and around the float between the elements of each pair. (See fig. 241.)
Figure 241.—Suspensory sennit attachment (li) between boom and float:
1, boom; 2, float; 3, fore pegs; 4, aft pegs cut off; back views with sections through float between fore and aft pegs: a, a length of braid is doubled, the loop passed forward over the boom and brought back under it, the two limbs of the braid are passed through the loop (5) and drawn taut, the doubled braid is brought down the right side of the float between the inner pegs, passed under the float and up between the outer pegs, whence it passes upward behind the boom; b, the braid is brought over the boom and a number of turns made around the float and boom in the same manner as the first turn; c, the number of vertical turns being sufficient, a series of close transverse turns (6) are made around both limbs of the lashing, which draws them together and tightens up the lashing; d, a couple of longitudinal turns (7) are made over the transverse turns by passing the braid between the diverging limbs above and below; a couple of turns are taken around one of the upper limbs and the lashing fixed with a couple of half hitches (8).
Figure 242.—Savaii suspensory attachment of boom and float:
1, boom; 2, float; 3, fore pegs; 4, aft pegs, back views: a, completed attachment, showing two sets of turns around float, made between fore (3) and aft pegs (4); b, showing sennit braid turns. The braid is fixed to the boom and makes the first turn (5) around the float, but it passes over the boom on the same aft side; passing over the boom to the front, the braid makes a second turn (6) around the float and returns up over the boom on the same front side. The two series are continued on either side of the boom until sufficient turns have been made. A series of half hitches (7) are made around the two limbs of the first set (5) and the braid passes directly across to make a series of half hitches (8) around the two limbs of the second series (6), which completes the attachment.
The li lashing, therefore, keeps the float attached to the boom when any pull comes on the float or boom that would tend to separate them. It also keeps the float firmly up against the lower ends of the pegs and helps to keep the page 399float in the correct relative position to the canoe. The lashing and the pegs are complementary to each other. As the bonito canoe is a deepsea fishing canoe which is carried down to the water, the float does not drag against the bottom. The turns of the li lashing which pass round the bottom of the float are thus not worn by any friction. When the peg connections and li lashing have been made, any extra length of boom is cut off about 4 inches beyond the outside peg lashing.
The steering seat. In eastern Samoa, the crew of the bonito canoe usually consists of three. The two forward seats are simply cut out of a plank of the length of the outer width of the canoe at the gunwales just in front of the aft and middle booms. They are about 6 inches wide and the under surface of the two ends are shaped to fit over the upper surfaces of the gunwales.
The steering seat (nofoanga), however, is specially made as it takes part in supporting the lower end of the bamboo fishing rod for the use of which the canoe was made. (See fig. 243.)
Figure 243.—Stern seat and hand hold:
1, stern seat; 2, stern cover; 3, fishing rod post; 4, gunwales; 5, aft boom; 6, hand hold: a, stern seat to aft boom, from above, the stern seat (1) in position, 2.25 inches from stern cover (2) fits over both gunwales (4) with which it is flush on outer edges. The hand hold (6) consists of a bent ironwood branch 0.75 inches in diameter. A hole bored through inner projecting part of left gunwale 7.5 inches from aft boom; sennit braid fastened to slightly flattened aft end of branch with slip noose, passed through hole in gunwale and turns taken around branch to fix aft end; a couple of circumferential turns around lashing between branch and upper surface of gunwale; braid run spirally around branch to reach other end which is lashed to aft boom with oblique turns (7) around boom and branch and circumferential turns (8) finished off with couple of half hitches (9), around oblique turns. b, Under surface of stern seat, length 18.25 inches, width 6.5 inches, made of plank 2 inches thick, under surface out away at ends (1) to 3.5 inches wide and 1 inch thick to fit over gunwale; intermediate part (2) hollowed out to 1 inch thickness, leaving a raised flange (3) along edges including allowance for groove (4) cut in middle line of aft edge; c, stern seat, back view showing thinner ends (1) to fit over gunwales, the raised flange (3) with mesial groove (4) and two pairs of holes (5) bored transversely through flange.
With the seat in position a length of braid is passed through each of the outer holes of the seat and a loop taken around the backward projections cut on the piece in the bottom tier (tatao) already mentioned. This projection (fa'alave) is behind the steering seat under the stern cover. (See fig. 232, b.) The turns of braid (laoa) prevent the seat moving forward. Some seats have holes through the front flange of the seat and have laoa lashings passing for-page 400ward to fa'alave projections formed on the planks of the bottom tier in front to prevent the seat from sliding back.
Through the two inner holes a loop is formed of a few turns of sennit braid. The loop which projects backward is then closely seized with spiral turns of the braid so as to stiffen the loop and keep it open. The loop ends are on either side of the groove at the back of the seat. The two form an opening into which the small knobbed end of the fishing rod handle is set, while the rod is leaned back against the slanting surface of the rod post on the stern cover.
Much difference of opinion exists regarding the correct names of the various parts for holding the rod, but Manua, Tutuila, and Savaii seem to agree the braid loop itself is the futia. The handhold (pu'enga) is shown in figure 243 a, 6.
The diagonally lashed stick forms a hold for the left hand of the steersman as he leans forward to swing in the bonito rod with his right. In Savaii, the hand support is called pu'enga and in eastern Samoa, it receives the somewhat general name of manu. The handhold should be grasped quietly without any sudden jerk and the swing of the rod made evenly and smoothly. This applies to the activities of life, hence the saying, "Ave malu i le pu'enga" (Grasp the hand support gently).
Figure 244.—Fishing rod forward support (lango'ofe):
1, boom; 2, float; 3, aft connecting pegs; 4, rod support: a, a forked stick (4) of ironwood or other suitable wood is selected with a slight bend at the lower end, and of such a length that the fork will be almost 7 inches above the boom. The lower outward bent end is laid against the front side of the aft outer peg and lashed with transverse and circumferential turns (5), the braid is run spirally around the stick and reaching the boom, some oblique turns around the stick and the boom are made, finishing off with a couple of circumferential turns (6). The braid is run spirally up to take a turn over the fork and returning towards the boom is finished off with a couple of half hitches around the stick. The braid may not be run over the fork and the stick may be tied to the inner peg instead of the outer. b, Stick with two forks for carrying 2 rods as in Savaii. The stick is tied to the inner peg and the lower fork is 16 inches above the boom. The lashings to the peg and the boom are the same as in (a). The characteristic Savaii lashing (7) of connecting pegs to boom is shown.
Outrigger rod rests. In action, the bonito rod stretches obliquely upwards over the stern with its lower end supported by the futia loop and the rod post. In going to or returning from the fishing grounds, the rod lies horizontally across the outrigger booms. There are two supports for the rod to prevent it from rolling off the booms: a, the fore support (lango'ofe) consists of a forked stick attached to the outer end of the fore boom and one of the connecting pegs (see fig. 244); b, the aft support is tied to the aft boom closer to the hull than the fore support, being on the hull side of the middle of the boom. It is also low, the fork or loop being level with, or just above, the boom. Three forms seen are shown in figure 245. In Tutuila the aft support was called manga mate and in Savaii, the canoe owner called the loop an umele, which differs from the usual Savaiian meaning of that word. The narrow knob on the butt of the rod handle rests on or in the rear support. The rod thus lies obliquely between the rests with the handle part within easy reach of the steersman, and the outer end well raised.
Figure 245.—Rear support for fishing rod:
a, a short fork (2) is lashed to the boom (1) with diagonal crossing turns (3) and finished with circumferential turns (4) (type common in Manua). b, A piece of wood (2) with a groove (3) is laid on the boom and lashed with transverse turns (4) at either end (seen in Tutuila); c, a seized loop of sennit braid (2) is tied to the upper surface of the boom with transverse turns (3) passing through the loop (seen in Savaii).
Shell ornamentation. The properly set-up bonito canoe has a row of shells down the middle line of both bow and stern covers; one mounted on each knob (salue). The numbers vary, but in the canoe from Tau, the bow set consisted of eight: seven shell supports on the bow cover and one on the upper surface of the bow piece. The stern set consisted of nine, there being two on the stern piece and seven on the stern cover. The white shells used are called pule (Ovulum) and are difficult to get in Samoa. They came in the way of presents (taulanga) to high chiefs. Some of the sets have been in the possession of some families for a considerable time. When a bonito canoe rotted and was abandoned, the shell ornamentation was transferred to the new canoe.
Each shell had a small hole cracked through the back not far from the rim to allow the sennit braid lashing to pass through. Commencing at the stern with the craftsman on the right side of the canoe, the lashing commences with the end support on the left. There is one shell to each support. The raised supports have a hole drilled through each from side to side trans-page 402versely to the long axis of the support and of the canoe. All the natural slit openings of the shells must face one way towards the worker, The long axis of the shell with the long axis of the natural opening lies horizontally and longitudinally on the support. (See fig. 246.)
Figure 246.—Lashing ovulum shells on bow and stern covers:
a, the end of the braid is passed through the hole in the first shell and then tied with an overhand knot around its standing part to make a running noose which is drawn taut around the lower rim of the shell. In the figures the shell is cut away to show the hole which otherwise cannot be seen from the front. b, The shell (1) is placed on the end support (2) and the braid (3) brought through the support hole from the far side; c, brought up vertically from the support hole, and passed through the shell hole from the near side. It is then continued through the support hole from the far side and up through the shell hole from the near side, making two vertical turns (4). After passing through the shell hole to the back, the braid (3) is brought to the left. d, Two horizontal circumferential turns (5) are taken around the vertical turns from left to right on the near side. e, After the braid passes to the back on the second horizontal turn, it is brought forward through the shell hole from the back (6) and passes to the right to the next shell (7) which is set on the next support (8). Passing on the near side of the second shell (7) the braid is passed back through the shell hole and then brought forward from the back through the hole of the second support (8). This is the position in (b) from whence the process is repeated with each shell. f, The first shell (1) is shown as it really appears and the second (7) with part of the shell removed to show the braid. In the real condition the horizontal stretches of the braid and the turns passing through the shell hole cannot be seen. The end of the braid is carried on through a hole bored transversely through the thinner aft part of the rod post, drawn taut and tied. The bow ornamentation is lashed in the same way commencing at the bow end. Here, as the craftsman had to stand on the left side to have the commencement on his left, the shell openings all face to the left. After lashing the shells the braid end is passed through a hole made through the little forward projection from the semicircular raised part of the bow cover.
In Manua, the braid of the bow ornamentation is sometimes taken back with a circumferential turn around the lashing of each shell between the shell and support. This is to strengthen the bow lashings as the bow gets rougher treatment in plunging through the waves. The stern ornamentation does not need the extra support. (See Plate XXXIX, B.)
The lashing of a shell to the end of the middle boom was a sign of distinction in Tau where the privilege was confined to the Tui Manua and the Fiti family.page 403
Owing primarily to the scarcity of the proper ornamental shells in Samoa and secondarily to the breaking down of old time values which accompany the establishment of a foreign culture, the shell ornamentation has been abandoned in most parts, with the exception of the Manua group where it was seen in use. The bonito canoes, however, are still made with wooden supports because the canoes are built by a guild who retain the full technique of their craft. The question of adding shells is for the individual owner who may not have a set of shells available. The wooden projections remain unbored and survive as the mechanical part of the ornamentation having now become the entire ornamentation themselves. It is doubtful if any owner would consent to his canoe being built without them. He looks upon them as a necessary part of a bonito canoe which every person of status must have. He pays for the canoe and expects value for his money.
Figure 247.—Patches and repairs:
a, patch made while canoe was being built. The small patch (1) has been fitted into the angle between the three plank sections (2, 3, and 4), when the planks were 2 inches thick. After fitting, the flanges were made on all edges and the patch (1) lashed to all three planks with the usual flange lashing. b, A plank split before it was dubbed out. Besides the edge flange, flanges were made on either side of the split (2) and the flange lashings (3) made to keep the split together. c, Crack 25 inches long in old canoe in Tutuila. Holes were bored right through the wood in pairs on either side of the crack and 1.5 to 2 inches apart. A strip of bamboo (1) 0.5 inches wide was laid over the crack on the outer side of the canoe, with the inner concave surface of the strip against the canoe. Transverse lashings were made with each pair of holes over the bamboo and through to the inner side of the canoe. The lashing turns show on both sides of the canoe. d, Old split repaired by making two pairs of holes (1, 2) on either side of the split and transverse lashings through holes. The lashings are fixed by driving wooden pegs into the holes from outside. The outer ends of the pegs are cut off and also the lashing turns on the outside. e, The repaired split in (d) showing inner surface with the braid turns (1, 2) intact and kept in place by the pegs. This method follows the technique used in figure 233.
Repairs. When damage occurred to a plank resulting in loss of material, the whole plank had to be removed and a new one of the same size made, with flanges at all edges for joining. Patches could be put in before the sections were thinned down, as the thick material allowed flanges to be made at any shaped edge. Similarly, cracks could be repaired by the flange method, if the cracks occurred before the timber was thinned. Cracks in finished canoes could not be repaired by the flange method so alternative methods were adopted, as shown in figure 247.
Two-rod fishing. In Savaii, a short rod (matila) is sometimes carried in addition to the full length rod. The rod post is wider and has a lower groove on the right for the short rod. At the back of the steering seat there are also two sennit loops (futia), the right one again being for the end of the matila. The forward high-forked rest on the fore boom has two forks; the right one being for the short rod.