Birch Bark Canoe

Over the weekend I started reading The Survival of the Bark Canoe by John McPhee, a favorite author of The Wildwood and one discussed here previously. The book describes the process used by Henri Vaillancourt to make birch bark canoes using the same tools and methods American Indians perfected. The canoes which are made using no nails, screws, or rivets are essentially lashed and sewed together.

While describing the constriction process and history of the canoes, McPhees book also goes on to tell the story of an eventful expedition he goes on with Vaillancourt through the Maine woods. At the end of the book are also a great collection of drawings by Edwin Tappan Adney of birch canoes.

While had been thinking about building a boat recently, I think these birch bark canoes are a bit to much for a beginner. If you are interested however you can find out more at Henri Vaillancourt’s site and more history here.

4 Comments so far
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What a piece of work that is! I’d love to see one in action.

Comment by Ro

I thought you might dig this photo http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/206/301/lac-bac/on_the_job-ef/www.lac-bac.gc.ca/on-the-job/03_natural/enlarged/0516031001_e.html of Innu making birch bark canoes in Labrador circa 1920.

Comment by Scott

This is an hour long but well worth it.


Comment by Roy

Ah Roy I finally watched this film, this movie is amazing, thank you for posting. And yes the hour is well worth it

Comment by nbolton

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