Wood and Canvas Canoes

History

The history of the Wood and Canvas Canoes goes back about 150 years. Large parts of North America and Canada were undeveloped and only accessible via the numerous rivers and lakes. For several centuries the Indian birch bark canoes were used for this purpose. They were light, robust and very resilient due to the extremely high elasticity of the cedar ribs and planks. However, suitable birch bark was less and less available, and at the same time the demand for good canoes for the demanding conditions in the wilderness increased. Thus the construction method gradually changed.

Now the ribs were bent over a construction form and planks were nailed to it with small metal tacks made of brass or copper. Under each rib was a metal strip on the form, on which the nail was bent over so that both parts could be firmly connected. Strong cotton canvas replaced the bark and a linseed oil-based filler was worked into the fabric to make it waterproof and smooth the surface. The maintenance effort was manageable and repairs relatively easy.

Although the wooden parts were now sawn and no longer carefully split with the grain, the type of construction nevertheless ensured a high resistance to mechanical influences and made the boats suitable for everyday use by explorers, traders or prospectors. The original forms of the Birchbark Canoes were changed little, only in details, as fundamental changes in form did not promise any improvements.

History