Cape Breton's Magazine

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

Page 10 - The Birch-bark Canoe

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1975/3/31 (1108 reads)

Root thongs were used well water-soaked or quite green....If a root strand was too short to complete a seam, instead of being spliced or knotted the end was tucked back under the last turns or stitches, on the inside of the bark cover. In starting, the tail was placed under the first turn of the stitch, so that it could not be pulled through. P/'' • 'JL s ??oores c' SP'iT Root 5 !>e '('' c' MfJoe??A}t' Top vietJ VJith the side seams and panels sewn, the bark is drawn over the gunwales to lay flat on top, and is trimmed even with the inside edge. Then the gunwales are lashed continuously their full length • though as seen from the side the thread would go through certain holes a number of times to leave space along the gunwale for the ends of the ribs. The rib ends are 2 inches wide and from the middle thwart to the first pair of thwarts they are spaced 1 inch apart, and from there to the eiids they are 1 1/2 inches apart • and the stitching around the gunwale would accomodate those rib ends. Then the thwarts would be lashed to the gunwale: 2 turns at the side of the thwart, 3 turns through the thwart holes, 2 turns at the other side. Then the weights and stakes are removed and the canoe is placed bottom-up over logs or a saw- horse. The bark that extends beyond the gunwales is cut to "the distinctive profile of bow and stern, which do not appear in the canoes of other tribes in so radical a form...,(They are; almost circular.,..The break in the profile of the ends at the sheer, a break that marks in more or less degree, the end profile of other tribes, never occurs in the Micmac canoe....The canoes had no inner framework to shape the ends; stiffness there was obtained by placing battens outside the bark, one on each side of the hull, that ran from the bottom of the cut in the bark required to shape the ends to somewhat inboard of the ends of the gunwales at the sheer. These two battens, as well as a split-root stem-band covering the raw ends of the cut bark, were held in place by passii' a spiral over-and-over lashing around all'three.'' (See drawing) Now the canoe is set upright on a soft, grassy spot and made watertight from the in? side. "The most favored material was spruce gum, the resin obtained from black and white spruce (Picea mariana or P. glauca). The soft resin was scraped from a fallen Now 206 Years Old ROBIN, JONES 8c WHITMAN, LIMITED Cheticamp, N.S. 224-2022 Inverness, N. S. 258-2362 Cape Breton's Magazine/lO Located on the Scenic Harbour in Sydney Isle Royale Motor Hotel & Motel HOTEL 564-4511 MOTEL 564-4567 "Setting a Royal Standard for food and comfort"
Cape Breton's Magazine
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