The Log has Landed! 2021 Elsaesser Fellow Begins Project

Bryant Jew, C-276, with 12-foot section of Douglas fir.

SEA Semester alumnus Bryant Jew, C-276, is the recipient of the 2021 Armin E. Elsaesser III Fellowship Award. Bryant is using his award to build a working Hawaiian style dugout canoe while creating videos to teach the public about such vessels and the culture that surrounds them. This is his first update.

It’s been a long journey of problem solving and exploration, but I’ve finally cleared the first major hurdle in my project: transporting the log that will become the dugout canoe! In the first two months through a long chain of connections, I was put into contact with Dennis, who had trees that had been cut down due to a recent fire. One Saturday afternoon, I drove out and scouted some of the trees with Dennis, and with the help of his neighbor Fred I was able to select a beautiful 12-foot section of Douglas fir that was due to either be mulched or incinerated. The log was around 30 inches in diameter, with around 75 years of growth rings! Although the log was perfect, it proved to be a significant logistical challenge as Fred estimated that it weighed around 3 tons (6000lbs), which was quite a bit more than the weight capacity of my small hatchback.

Bryant Jew, C-276, with 12-foot section of Douglas fir.

Bryant Jew, C-276, with 12-foot section of Douglas fir.

After looking at several transportation options, I opted to rent a large flatbed truck and set out towards Dennis’ lot with my mom and dad in tow. Once we were there, Fred was able to load the log with his skid steer and it was off to the (very slow) races. After an hour and a half long journey down winding mountain roads, open freeways, and nervously checking the rearview mirror to ensure the log was still there, we made it back home. The forklift I had rented lifted the log off the truck with ease, and then promptly sank its small wheels into the soft ground after leaving the driveway. After a brief moment of panic, a bit of thinking, and another weeklong delay, I was able to rent a forklift with tracks. The following Monday, the log was finally maneuvered into place! I am now waiting for the proper tools to come in, and I can’t wait to get started.

I am also editing a video on the process that will be posted to YouTube and considering livestreaming part of the carving process. Links and updates will be posted here.

Contact: Douglas Karlson, Director of Communications, 508-444-1918 | |

March 26, 2021

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