Birch Bark Restoration

Don Fleischut

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I have just received a birch bark canoe in the shop I have a million questions, however it is best that I start by finding the right book. Can you recommend a publication or book on just how they were built.
The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America by Adney and Chapelle is required reading. Do not pass go until you have this book. Building the Birchbark Canoe: The Algonquin Wabnaki Tciman (or something like that) by David Gidmark may be the best of the currently available how-to books.

Even better may be to contact member builders directly, like Steve Cayard or Ferdy Goode. Ted Behne has bee doing a lot to promote bark canoes and would be a good fellow to contact as well.

Hello, forgive me if this question has been answered but I couldn’t find one in this section . In restoring old birch barks does one ever use linseed oils etc to restore resiliency to the wood as you would a wood canvas hull? Thank you
Hi Don, I restored an 80 year old birch bark canoe last year and Dan is right that those books will get you off to a good start. I had to completely take apart the entire canoe as it had not been near water for 40 years. Both ends were broken off and the bark was split gunwale to gunwale amidships. I ended up having to replace almost all of the woodwork and did so without using power tools hoping to re-build it the way it was originally built. I learned much through this process and although I'm not a pro like Ferdy or many others I'll help you out any way I can. Just ask and I'll do my best to get you an answer. Here is a before and after of the one I did and there is a long post here of this re-build with more pictures.
Best of luck, Gary


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