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Birch Bark Canoe Building: From the Harvest to the Building Bed

Course Overview

Explore the history, construction and use of the Native American birch bark canoe in this comprehensive, hands-on course. During the course you work as a class toward the construction of a bark canoe, from harvest to finish-work. Paddled for centuries on the lakes and rivers of the interior, all the necessary materials can be sustainably harvested from a healthy boreal forest: birch bark, cedar, spruce root and spruce gum. You'll spend the first days of this course in a variety of forest habitats harvesting these materials and preparing them. In the second portion of the course, you’ll return to the shop and prepare a building bed, sew sheets of bark, and insert gunwales, stem pieces and bent ribs. Part history lesson, part apprenticeship, this is a rare learning opportunity for anyone interested in the construction and history of the birch bark canoe. Ethics of harvest and construction skills using only traditional materials, tools and techniques will be emphasized. In an apprenticeship-like setting, Erik will pass along the required skills to create a full-sized bark canoe by following historical building techniques. Students will learn the finishing stages including pitching the canoe. All students will be encouraged to paddle a finished canoe.

Course Details

Length: 10 Days

Currently Scheduled Sessions