March 2004

Bark Canoe Store

2317 West Fairview Avenue
Spokane, WA 99205

John Lindman


1. News - Builders' Bulletin Board
2. Building Tip - Laying Out The Bark

Builders' Bulletin Board

Some of the readers have written in telling of the canoes they have made. Some of you guys have big balls - you picked up Adney's book and just took to the woods and built your canoe. My hat is off you you. You guys are an inspiration to the rest of us. It can be done. OK so send me pictures and I will post them on a web page so that others can see. I think we can all agree that the world is not suffering from too many birchbark canoes or pictures of them.

Here is what to do. Take your pictures and get them converted to digital. Make them into jpeg extensions. If this is greek to you then take your photos to Kinkos and tell them you want them scanned. They will scan them onto a CD for less than 5 bucks. My scanner decided to give up the ghost on me and I needed pictures in a pinch. I scanned over 70 photos on to one CD for less than $5 and it took me less than an hour.

Now if you have software where you can size your photo make it about 800 pixels wide. Pixels are the little digital building blocks that computers use. Your software will ask you to size in either pixels or inches. This will make a picture that will fit most monitors and it will be easy to send.

Then e-mail me the pictures at I will post them. In the e-mail tell a bit about the building experience. I will include this.

Now if you are not a builder but either have a cool photo of a trip or a canoe that you own or just a cool photo of a birchbark canoe and want to share it then please send it in. This could include a canoe from a museum. Whatever!

Building Tip - Laying Out The Bark

It would take too much time to cover all of the details on rolling out the bark - this is material for a book. However, there are a few key points that will make the process more successful.

As you unroll the bark apply hot water, go slowly, and use a utility knife to make little cuts perpendicular to any lateral cracks that may develop. Make this cut just below the crack so that the crack will go to the cut but no further.

Another tip is to make a line from the tip of your building frame to the end of the bark. Score this line just like you do the bark along the edge of your frame. When folding up the bark along the frame do the stern or rear tip first. Start by creasing the bark along the line and crease it flat - one side against the other. Now clamp it. Continue to fold up the bark along the frame and use your stakes to hold it in place. Once staked around the frame stake the ends. Place a stake at the tip of the frame and the end of your bark. If these end stakes have the bark pinched tight and are in line with the center of your frame you should have very little problem later on making sure your ends are straight and ensuring a sharp entry line on your canoe.

That is all for now.