Friday, June 13, 2008

Mini Pack Basket & Paddle

In keeping with the minature scale of the model canoe, I decided to use some of the left over bark and spruce root to make a miniature birchbark basket. NativeTech has some nice info about Birch Bark containers as well as some sketches. In the end, I ended up with a simple design that contained sewing methods I learned from the lashing of the canoe.

I started off with two pieces of bark, although I only ended up using one (bottom piece in the pic). It was actually a full delaminated outer layer that was paper thin. The panel was soaked for additional pliability and then formed into a basic shape held temporarily with clothespins.

Bark pieces; Forming the shape; Temporary clamping

The top portion would be round while the bottom square with folded up sides. The triangular seams would be sewn with root using a saddle stitch while the upper seams sewn with a stitch identical to the one used for stitching the gores of the canoe.

Stitched up with dark spruce root

To form the rim, a thicker piece of fresh root was coiled into a circle and cut to fit the circumference of the opening. In addition, a thin strip of bark with the white side facing in was prepared to form an additional layer around the top of the basket. Then a coiling stitch was sewn through both bark layers binding the rim into shape.

The rim piece; Clamped into position with outer bark; Coil stitching

The mini Maliseet paddle had been cut out of some scrap poplar stock last time I went to the Carpenter's Square workshop. A few minutes with the spokeshave and the paddle blade was formed, although to even out the grip area, I ended up using the Ferrier's knife I picked up a while back. This was sanded out and using a mini round rasp, I carved out the hollow spots on the grip.

Mini paddle blank; Shaving it down

The paddle makes a great utensil for stirring stews & sauces. I think I might make a bunch more just for fun of it - a good use of the scrap wood. The pack basket is pretty crude by most standards, but I've got a few more pieces of bark to make more when I'm in the mood.

Mini basket & paddle

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