Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making eBook

William Hamilton Gibson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making.
the two strips on each side, and sewing around the whole with a winding stitch, exactly after the manner of the edge of an ordinary palm-leaf fan.  The inside of the canoe should now be lined with long strips of cedar running through the entire length of the boat if possible, but if not, should be so cut as to neatly overlap at the ends.  These pieces should be an inch or two in width, and from a quarter to half an inch-in thickness.  The ribs are then to be put in.  These are generally made from ash, one or two inches in width, and [Page 263] a quarter of an inch in thickness.  Any light flexible wood will answer the purpose, and even barrel hoops when attainable will do very well.  These ribs should be bent to fit the interior of the canoe crosswise, either close together, or with equal distances between them and the ends should then be firmly secured beneath the gunwales by a continuous loop-stitch through the bark.  For a canoe of twelve feet in length, the width should be about two feet, and in order to keep the gunwales firm, two or more cross-pieces should be inserted, and lashed firmly at their ends as our illustration shows.  The centre third of the length of the canoe should be parallel at the sides, and if two braces, two feet in length are placed at each end of this third, the shape will be about perfect.  We now have a bark canoe of considerable strength and durability, and it only awaits to be made water-proof for final use.  In order to accomplish this all the seams outside, and the entire interior of the canoe should, be smeared with pitch, after which its floating qualities may be tested with confidence.  Should any leaks occur their where-abouts are easily detected, and an additional application of pitch will remedy the difficulty.  The Indians in sewing their bark canoes use tamarack roots, fibrous plants, and grasses, in lieu of thread, and even with these inferior materials often attain to such perfection in compact sewing, as to render the use of pitch unnecessary for water-proof purposes.  Such skill is rarely attained by the white man, and the art of making a water-proof canoe, even out of a single piece of bark, is by no means an easy task without the aid of tar or pitch.

[Page 264] For the trapper we strongly recommend the birch “bark.”  With the above directions we are sure no one could go astray, and we are equally sure that a canoe made as we describe, would present advantages of lightness and portability which no other style of boat would possess.  For temporary purposes, canoes can be made from basswood, hemlock, or spruce bark; but they are at best, very rude and clumsy in comparison with the birch bark.  They are generally made after the principles of the above described; either sewing or nailing the edges of the bark together, and smearing every joint and seam profusely with pitch, and adding gunwales, lining, and ribs.


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Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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