CANOES OF BARK
THE canoes made of bark from the birch tree are
wonders in the way of lightness and swiftness. Jethro
and I, hoping some day to be able to buy one, have
spent very much of our time learning to manage these
boats, which are like to eggshells for daintiness, and
it is not certain but that we may be able to build such a
craft ourselves, for we have watched eagerly the Indians
at their work.
 One must first get a quantity of thin splints of
spoon-wood, which are to be steamed and bent into
the form of the bottom and sides of the canoe, until
one has made the shape of the entire hull, when a
narrow rail of tough wood is put on to fashion the
sides and ends.
Then all, save the rail, is covered with bark from
the birch trees, the builder taking good care to choose
pieces which are free from such blemishes as unequal
thickness, an overgrown cleft, or any show of weakness.
This bark should be stripped from a tree so large
that each sheet or piece is of length sufficient to stretch
from rail to rail, and is fastened in place by sewing
with threads of sinew taken from deer.
When all this has been done, every seam, or hole
made by the needle, is covered plentifully with pitch
from the pine tree, which is not unlike soft tar, and
when it has been thoroughly dried, you have a boat
that will support from two to six persons, while yet
so light that one may easily carry it on his shoulder.
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