a birchbark canoe


These are some good books I've read about birchbark canoes. You can get most of them from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association or from Amazon.com

Birchbark Canoes of the Fur Trade
Timothy J. Kent
Silver Fox Enterprises, Ossineke, Michigan, 1997
ISBN 0-9657230-0-3

A two volume set that examines many birchbark canoes in great detail. Lots of photographs and illustrations of contruction details.

The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America
Edwin Tappan Adney and Howard Chappelle
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1983
ISBN 1-56098-296-9

This is the book on birchbark canoes. Edwin Tappan Adney studied birchbark canoes from the 1880's to 1950 when he died. He measured them, made detailed drawings of them, described their construction methods and made models of them. The book covers canoes from Newfoundland to the Pacific Ocean as well as umiaks and kayaks from the arctic. If you want to make an exact replica of an Ungava-Cree crooked canoe or a Malecite paddle, the information is here.

Bark Canoes: The Art & Obsession of Tappan Adney
John Jennings
Firefly Books, Richmond Hill, ON, 2004
ISBN 1-55297-733-1

A wonderful book about Tappan Adney with excellent photographs of 110 of his canoe models.

Building a Birchbark Canoe - The Algonquin Wabanaki Tciman
David Gidmark
Vanwell Publishing Ltd., 1994
ISBN 1-55068-053-6
The best how-to book. It gives a history, general constructions techniques, and then detailed looks at the methods of 5 famous Algonquin canoe builders with lots of photographs.
Birchbark Canoe - Living among the Algonquin
David Gidmark Firefly Books,1997
ISBN 1-55209-150-3
This is the story of how David Gidmark learned to build birchbark canoes. It is funny, entertaining and also full of valuable information.
The Survival of the Bark Canoe
John McPhee
Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1975
A great little book about Henri Vaillancourt of Greenville, New Hampshire. It tells the story of a canoe trip by the author and Henri and along the way describes the canoe-building process. Henri comes across as a bit of a dweeb but you have to admire his canoes. They are simply beautiful. Read a review by Jim Lacey
Crafts of the North American Indians - A Craftsman's Manual
Richard C. Schneider
R. Schneider, Publishers, 1972
ISBN 0-936984-00-7
In this book, the author explores many native crafts. The chapter on building a birchbark canoe is wonderful because he describes all his problems and setbacks as well as his successes. This is very reassuring for those of us who are just starting out.

Back to birchbark canoes

© Judy Kavanagh, 2005