How to Build an Alaskan Totem Pole

I worked in Alaska one summer and had the chance to check an item off the bucket list. Building a full size totem pole! First thing you need is a good sized log. My brother and I wanted our totem pole to be 10 feet tall so we found a log about 14′ so we would have plenty of log to stick in the ground.


Logs this big are heavy so you’re going to need a way to move it around. Mostly my brother and I put it on our ATV or just used our muscles.


This is where your creativity comes in. Not knowing about any symbolism behind certain animals we just decided to go with animals that we had daily contact with. Eagles, bears, huskies, and fish.    10307380_528443830591224_9102533969691069765_n

The tools we used varied. The bulk of the work was done with a medium sized chainsaw as this turned out to be the most efficient way of removing wood. We used angle grinders to give finer detail and burn lines. We also used hand tools but we decided we didn’t have the next 3 years on this project.


Hammer and chiseling a totem pole is back breaking work due to the shear amount of wood you need to remove!    10622881_528443630591244_1301928016637890420_n

I used a deWalt ‘sawsall’ to create the wings from an extra plank of wood that we had lying around from the sawmill. Man, I miss my beard.

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Getting ready to drop the totem pole in the ground.

10550972_528444390591168_6360778984601712808_nWe replaced a worn out wooden pole with our new and improved totem pole and gave the lodge a legit alaskan totem pole instead.    10444393_528444467257827_6978025708041071990_n (1)




We sealed the heck out of the wood after it was in the ground to make sure it lasts a good long time. Go Alaska!

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