Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Babiche seats?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Treewater, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Here is the current project. I see that the seats I want are called "Babiche." (was that a curse word?) So where do I find how to make a babiche seat?
    No, it's not a Trailcraft. Don't know what it is. About 1955? vintage. Picked up in Vermont. Yes, I elected to varnish all the woold prior to covering. Haven't seen that done but seemed like a good idea.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010
  2. Dick Persson

    Dick Persson Canoe builder & restorer

    Hi Tim,

    Babiche is a French Canadian adaptation of an Algonquian word derived from the Mikmaq ápapíj, meaning cord or tread.

    A very good description of the principal of laceing can be found in Gil Patrick’s book “Building Snowshoes and Snowshoe Furniture”.

    Dick Persson
    Headwater Wooden Boat Shop
  3. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    got the book

    Thank you Dick, found the book on bibliofind.
  4. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

  5. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thank you Fritz

    Thank you Fritz. I'm on my way. I searched the internet for something like this but never found it. Anyone have suggestions for type of material and source? I guess plain rope/cord would do. I just want a seat.
  6. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Tim --

    Nice work restoring that canoe frame.

    I believe that Tandy sells some rawhide (babiche) lacing; Crazy Crow Trading Post ( sells deer and elk rawhide, as does Sioux Trading Post (, which also has moose raw hide.

    Several years ago I helped my daughter make snowshoes for a school project, and it took a bit of hunting around to get babiche -- more often called rawhide by modern retailers -- in different widths.

    Snowshoe manufacturers have also used neoprene strips, and amateur builders have used nylon cord -- paracord -- and lampwick. like babiche, these should be varnished.

    You might consider weaving the seat of nylon tape; weaving instructions may be found at and I suppose you might even use Shaker chair tape -- colorful, but being cotton, probably not the best idea in a water environment. Nylon tape is readily available in camping supply stores and some hardware stores.
  7. Thos Doran

    Thos Doran Curious about Wooden Canoes

  8. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood


    The babiche method is easy to get the hang of and the two seats I have done seem quite firm even with a first effort. Both the sites listed are good for instructions. My only caveat is that mortise and tenon joints would be best for the seat. On one seat the single screw in the end allowed twist and I had to pull the seat out and put an extra nail to hold it firm. Even with that, for a very light and simple seat, I really like it.

Share This Page