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The Birch Bark Canoe

Discussion in 'Wood Canoe Basics' started by Dan Miller, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    [H=1]The Birch Bark Canoe[/H]The birch bark canoe, developed by the indigenous peoples of North America, come in a wide variety of shapes and styles that reflect geographic and cultural origins. The birch bark canoe is made from locally harvested materials in regions where paper birch (“canoe birch”) grows, primarily eastern Canada and the northeast United States.

    Birch bark canoes are constructed by laying the bark on a building bed and rough shaping it into the form of a canoe. Planking and ribs, split from white cedar, are inserted into the bark shell, once the ribs have been bent into shape using hot water. Lashings made from split spruce root hold everything together, and seams are sealed with spruce gum.

    [H=2]Birch Bark Canoe Builders[/H]

    A number of WCHA members build birch bark canoes. A listing of them can be found in the WCHA’s Builders and Suppliers Directory.

    • Adney, Edwin Tappan & Howard I. Chappell., The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America. 1983
    • Behne, C. Ted (ed). The Travel Journals of Tappan Adney:1887-1890. 2010
    • Dina, James. Voyage of the Ant. 1989.
    • Evans, Doug. Noah’s Last Canoe: The Lost Art of Cree Birch Bark Canoe Building. 2008.
    • Gidmark, David. Birchbark Canoe; Living Among the Algonquin. 1997
    • Gidmark, David. Building a Birchbark Canoe The Algonquin Wabanaki Tciman. 1994
    • Gidmark, David. The Algonquin Birchbark Canoe. 1988
    • Gidmark, David. Birchbark Canoe: The Story of an Apprenticeship With the Indians. 1989
    • Gidmark, David. The Indian Crafts of William & Mary Commanda. 1980
    • Goode, F. W. Beaver Bark Canoes: The Art & Works of Ferdy Goode, 2010
    • Guy, Camil. The Weymontaching Birchbark Canoe (Anthropological Papers No. 20, National Museum of Canada), 1974.
    • Jennings,John. Bark Canoes; The Art & Obsession of Tappan Adney. 2004.
    • Jennings, John. The Canoe: A Living Tradition. 2002.
    • Jennings, John, Bruce W. Hodgins, and Doreen Small, (eds.) The Canoe in Canadian Cultures. 1999.
    • Kent, Timothy J. Birchbark Canoes of the Fur Trade (vols. 1 & 2). 1997.
    • Kent, Timothy J. Paddling Across the Peninsula: An Important Cross-Michigan Canoe Route During the French Regime. 2003.
    • McPhee, John. The Survival of the Birchbark Canoe, 1999
    • Raffan, James & Bert Horwood (eds.), Canexus: The Canoe in Canadian Culture. 1988.
    • Ritzenthaler, Robert E. Building a Chippewa Indian Birchbark Canoe. Milwaukee Public Museum. 1984.
    • Roberts, Kenneth G. & Philip Shackleton. The Canoe: A History of the Craft from Panama to the Arctic. 1983.
    • Rossman, William. Builder of Birch Bark Canoes. Grand Rapids Herald Review (reprinted, Minnesota Historical Society). 1969.
    • Schneider, Richard G. Building a Birch Bark Canoe. 2000
    • Wilson, Ian & Sally Wilson. Wilderness Journey; Reliving the Adventures of Canada’s Voyageurs. 2000.
    [H=2]Streaming Video[/H]

    [H=2]Other Web Resources[/H]

    This resource guide was originally compiled by Rob Stevens.

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