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Birch Bark re-fresh

Discussion in 'Birchbarks, Dugouts and Primitive Craft' started by ebeeby, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. ebeeby

    ebeeby Novice Canoe Restorer

    I've done a wood and canvas restoration. A relative wants me to take ownership of a birch bark canoe made in the 1980's. It has been stored outside in northern Kansas on a rack but under a large overhang. Looks to be in good shape but very dry and the pitch seams have dried/cracked.

    Is there a "go to" book on freshening up a bark canoe? Some of the lashings are brittle and I have no idea how to make the seam pitch.

    Any guidance would be welcomed.

  2. beaver

    beaver Birchbark CanoeingBuilder

    Here is a link for pitching a bark canoe
  3. slidegear

    slidegear Alan Sidlo by default

    Prepping for pitch or just a way of refreshing what's there


    I've been experimenting with different ways of using the traditional (and maybe not so traditional) materials to create functional applications for repairing or refreshing natural surfaces such as those found on birchbark canoes. Above is a picture of something I've tested before hand and have applied to prepare for the application of new pitch. As can be seen, the area that has the application is fresh and ready to accept additional material while the gore which has been left untouched looks dried and flaky. The difference is evident on the birchbark which now has a new lease on life as do the lashings on the affected area. The pitch compound, seen below, is also something I've been developing which can readily be found in nature though difficult to come by yet comprised of the exact same materials presently in use. Which makes me wonder if it hasn't already been done applied in this fashion?


    These pictures were taken a few days after just to ensure that it wasn't just a wetted out surface that simulated the effect.
  4. beaver

    beaver Birchbark CanoeingBuilder

    So what is this so-called experimental preparation? What have you developed?
  5. slidegear

    slidegear Alan Sidlo by default

    Oh so simple, that only an idiot would dare to think of doing it... or maybe it came to me by accident!

    "Yeah, so one day I was out on the river clearing away some of the spring debris chewing on the little chunk of pine resin kept around for emergencies. Well it was pretty "fresh" tasting but started sticking to my teeth. The only liquids available for rinsing my mouth was either river water or the moonshine used on special occasions depending on the mood. Well the resin alcohol combo felt like it was about to set my gums afire, feeling like they were gonna rot right off my teeth. So I spat it out clumsily spraying the gunwale and as it dripped down the side of the boat whatever it touched started shining like new again!"

    Well, that's not really how it went... the facts were changed to protect the innocent. The ingredients and the combination as applied probably aren't nothin' new or 'riginal so I had to come up with some story... probably the only thing I really made up here.
    Last edited: May 1, 2013

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