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Bark & pitch questions

Discussion in 'Birchbarks, Dugouts and Indigenous Craft' started by wildpaddler, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. wildpaddler

    wildpaddler Anyone can learn to canoe

    I'm in the proccess of researching and planning for my birch bark build for next summer. I want to build a 16 foot canoe, the style is not finalized yet. My question is, I want to use winter bark in the boat, when is the best time to collect the bark. I've read that a warm day in February is a good time. Also after the bark has been collected what is the best way to store it until it is needed?

    Next question is how much sap is needed to seal a 16 foot canoe. I realize this will depend on the amount of stitching and the number of pannels and gors. But can anyone give me a rough estimate?

    I've started collecting sap during my canoe trips into northern Saskatchewan. It can be messy, I've spent more than one trip sticky from head to foot and smelling like a 2 X 4. I also met my tree this past week. A friend lives on a lake in northern Saskatchewan and has the largest paper birch tree I have ever seen on their property. They've given me the tree.

  2. beaver

    beaver Birchbark CanoeingBuilder

    Greetings wildpaddler,,,,,,,,

    Glad to hear your up for the challenge of building the ultimate canoe; the birch bark.
    Winter bark may be harvested generally in the early spring, on a nice warm day prior to the tree having is't leaves. It sounds like you have a dandy canoe birch lined up eh?
    If you've spent several days sticky from head to toe you may already have enough pitch collected; about a quart or so, more if you plan on pitching the seams inside and outside. You'll still need extra anyway for touch up from time to time.
    Good luck on your 1st canoe a please give us some updates once you get started eh.

  3. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer


    There are several builders of wonderful bark canoes in the WCHA. Hope you'll post pictures of your project, and join the ranks of those who know how to use the crooked knife.

  4. OP

    wildpaddler Anyone can learn to canoe

    Thanks for the info, I haven't had a chance to melt the sap and strain out all the bark, twigs, bugs etc. Actually I don't have a suitable pot for the job, I'm not allowed to use Zoe's good stock pot any more after I boiled spruce roots in it for the birch bark basket that I made for her. The roots left a sticky film on the pot.

    I will certainly post photos as the project progresses. Speaking of photos here are a few of the tree.

    Zoe is standing next to the tree for scale

    Attached Files:

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