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> Issue 10 > Page 8 - The Birch-bark Canoe

Page 8 - The Birch-bark Canoe

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1975/3/31 (1233 reads)
 

would hold the set." Hot water, today, would seem simpler. The ends of the gunwales are drawn together, pegged and lashed as shown in the drawing • and then some build? ers would drive a tiny wedge from the inside between the two gunwales to tighten the lashing. Now the temporary thwarts are removed and the two pairs of permanent thwarts are fitted in place and pegged down through the gunwale. Our research has not been able to discover how precisely to determine the length of the thwarts o- ther than the middle thwart. We can offer this, however: In a Malecite canoe, built along very similar principles to the Micmac canoe, a canoe about 19 feet long and 36 inches beam would have a middle thwart of 33 inches, a first pair of thwarts 26 inches, and a second pair of 15 inches. Once the thwarts are all fitted in and peg? ged and a single lashing hole is bored in both shoulders of each thwart • the gun? wale is complete and you now have the building frame. With the gunwale laid exactly in the center of the building site, stout stakes with one side cut flat are driven into the ground outside the gunwale, as shown in the Drawing of the First Stage of Construction. The flat side faces the gunwale, about 1 inch away. Note in the drawing that the stakes extend beyond the gunwrale at both ends; this is because the bark cover will extend beyond the gunwale. These end stakes should be driven in pairs about 1 inch apart. Then all the stakes are pulled and laid aside and the gunwale is taken off the site. The birch bark roll (perhaps taken from storage in the nearby stream) is unrolled on the site, covering the stake holes • the white side of the bark is up. To maintain flexibility, it will be moistened frequently during construction. A single piece of bark is usually long e- nough for the canoe. If it is not, it is pieced out at this time. If, as is more likely, the bark is not wide enough, it will be pieced out after the sides are raised. The method will be described at that time. For now, the gunwale is replaced exactly in the position it held, and scrap boards weighted with rocks are put upon it to be certain it will not move. Now the bark is slashed • single cuts are made from "the edge to a point close to the end of each thwart, and also to points along the frame halfway between the thwarts." llie cuts are made to within an inch of the gunwale and "while it is being slashed, the bark cover is bent slightly, so that it is cut under tension. Later, when the required shape can be determined, these slashes will be made into gores" • that is to say, V-shaped pieces will be removed so that the upturned edges of bark will meet flush and not overlap. (See drawing) At this time, the slashed bark sides are bent upright and the stakes are returned to their holes, A set of smaller stakes • called the "inside stakes"--is prepared. They are cut to a kind of wedge, about l/2 inch thick, one face left round and the ?Se seillean a'phosas daoine ri lusan Flcnvntving' Hon' Truro and Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia Excellent Accomodations x:h?? MARklAND omaWALL. VICTORM COUMTV, N. S, • HMfW). OilWMti 4* 14r8. Chester McBvoy, Manager C & G MadEOD IIMITED ''74c Su%c 0' TAiK' ScoUiaA" CLAN WALL PLAQUES CLAN BADGE PINS SCOTTISH BOOKS GAELIC BOOKS CLAN DECALS SCOTTISH RECORDS CLAN DOOR NAMEPLATES CLAN DOOR KNOCKERS CLAN BADGE POCKET CRESTS TARTAN SOUVENIRS OF ALL TYPES 361 Charlotte Street - P. O. Box 658 | Mail Orders | sydney, nova scotia I CANADA Cape Breton's Maeazine/8 A Specialty
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