"Canoe Birch"


Birchbark CanoeingBuilder
Dave Osborn, fishing guide and founder of Little Lakes Guide Service was kind enough to take some time out from fishing to help Beaver in collecting this nice Canoe Birch in Northern Wisconsin.

Could it be that Dave has found a new love??;) Thanks much Dave.



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Same question... If it were not going to be logged in a few months, would it re-grow the bark and survive or is it a gonner?? Just curious...
Ferdy tells me that the tree will eventually die. That is why he only collects bark from areas destined to be logged off in a short time. He works with local forestry people and gets the proper permits to collect the bark.

It was a cool experience. Ferd, and I (under his tutelege) offered cerimonial tobacco to the Great Spirit, thanking (Megwetch- thanks in Ojibway)) him for the life of the tree and the continued use of it's bark. Seems like the offer of tobacco helps on our fishing trips, too!
Woodchuck said:
Same question... If it were not going to be logged in a few months, would it re-grow the bark and survive or is it a gonner?? Just curious...

I had the same question and asked. The tree should grow a replacement bark called a scarring-bark. It's not the same as the original so you won't be able get more canoe bark out of that tree.

But I would guess like any other living being, it'll be a race against time before disease and pests attack the tree first.

This is the part about birchbark canoe making I feel really bad about.
an idea

I have changed my thinking about using trees (and their bark, roots, etc)in the last few years: I now believe that the responsible use of select trees is a good idea, especially when the user plants a tree or trees to compensate for the use of one.
Tree Bark

Tree bark is a waste product/by product of logging in my area here in Northern Wisconsin. A paper mill just West of here has 25 thousand cords of Birch in their wood yard at all times. That is a lot of Birch and Bark just to make paper!!! And think about all the other Birch that are cut down just to make tooth-picks, popcicle sticks, and tounge depressers! Say Aaaaaaaaaaaa:eek:

All I harvest is a few each year to preserve a lost art and keep the canoe alive. I feel I have a very LOW impact on the resource on the grand scale. Without sacrificing some our renewable resources there will also no longer be TOILET-PAPER! Then what shall we do?:confused:

At one point, I called the Ministry of Natural Resources and asked for designated area for logging (and explained who I am and why). They contacted the Canadian Canoe Museum and responded back to me telling to to contact forestry companies on my own.

Why is a seemingly easy thing to do so difficult? I'm even trying to search for a local log yard just to look for cedar logs to make ribs from.

yes, networking is challenging. But be persistent. Materials are out there. Maybe if you were more specific as to geography. After awhile you'll run accross someone who knows someone--There is more than likely a lobby group or associatin of timber harvesters or -- in your area. AND here's a secret, tell no one. Amish. A horse can harvest a tree sometimes better than a dozer. Except for the felling part. Check with them or maybe a government worker.
Dave Wermuth said:
...AND here's a secret, tell no one. ....

Don't I know it. I can exchange e-mails for several weeks with a canoe maker until I ask where he gets his logs from.
Secret follow up

If you can get to know an Amish sawyer you could maybe get some materials. If you're looking for bark, try some government web sites. Lumber companies. Paper companies. It takes time. I have a guy just down the road. Did not know he was there. But he was/is.
my wife has been making birchbark framed mirrors and pictures lately and we continue to struggle to find birchbark. anyone in the genesee lapeer area who has any, i would lov eto hear from you. small quantities are all we need not large sizes. thanks 810-736-0501 days:D
Gee Bob I wish I had known. I had to remove four Birches where the barn is going.I think the bark now is too tight to remove. Maybe Ferdy can suggest a way to get it off. I'll be down again around Thanksgiving.
Denis :)
I don't know where you are located ,but there is a canoe makers guild in Ontario. Pam Wedd can probably give you information as can Ron Pellinen of Black Beaver Canoes in Sault Canada. Good luck.