FAIL: Making a dugout canoe with fire – it didn’t work

Paul Pinkerton

I tried to make a native american dugout canoe…… it didn’t go so well: I got a second degree burn from kneeling on a hot coal, got a log burned through it, got another log burned through it and got a log and burned a hole through it as well.

Ben has been kind enough to share his experiment with us and you can see more of us work and you can help by upvoting his projects here.

So Ben will walk us through his winning failure.

Fun fact: I built this in an area where lots Native Americans were known to live

Step 1: Obtain REALLY big Log

The first step to failing is to obtain a REALLY big log I got my first one from a tree that fell over in a creek.

Step 2: FAIL number one

Find a log


A big log…

This was my first try

Why it failed: it failed because some relatives were over and I forgot to check on the fire and it burned through the bottom

Lesson learned: DO NOT kneel when EXTREMELY hot coals are scattered everywhere

Step 3: FAIL Number two

Started of well


Really well


Then failure


Why it failed: It failed because the coals dropped into the hollow spot and the log was up in flames within an hour

Lesson learned: don’t use hollow logs

Step 4: Fail number three

Great start


Burning nicely


Burning a bit too well



Third and closest to success

Why it failed: I didn’t put it out enough

Lesson learned: put the fire out totally ( I also came up with a rhyme: when in doubt flood it out)

Step 5: Float Your Boat

Time for the launch


Time for the sinking


Good job then that I really wanted a submarine….

Now time to float your boat! My sisters didn’t want to get on it so they put their Instructables shirt (they won it in the makerspace contest) on a stuffed animal. 🙂

As you can see it’s maiden voyage didn’t go so well.


jack-beckett is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival