Sunday, December 30, 2018

Gear Project: Woodstove camp case

Here are some old pics of a quick project update. A while back I picked up a Kni-co Trekker stove that was used once by the original owner after realizing winter camping wasn't for him and his girlfriend. The stove was in great condition, even though I could tell he lit the stove without using a false bottom or sand as recommended by the manufacturer. He lowered the price even further when I mentioned this so got it for around 1/2 price off retail.

Canadian Outdoor Equipment sells a false bottom for the stove but it is quite pricey and heavy. Came up with my own solution using a metal pegboard from Home Depot. The length was a perfect fit and the sides were already pre-bent. Measurements showed that a single piece would be too large to try and fit through the door. So I cut a chunk out of the middle of the pegboard and fold down a single side on each piece. The two pieces cover the bottom of the stove and fit tightly with a friction fit, but can also be easily removed if needed. One piece is more narrow than the other so it can fit nested into the other when inverted. Here they are on top of the stove and then placed in the burned chamber...

Galvanized pegboard made into a false bottom.

In burn chamber

The new false bottom doesn't interfere with the storage of the collapsible stove pipe...

Of course galvanized metal can give off nasty fumes when initially exposed to fire. The stove has since been used and the toxic coating safely burned off. 

Also ended up making a carrying case of sorts for transportation and minimize any soot transfer. I used scraps of fire-retardant canvas to make a case that snaps open and closed. With some grommets and cordage, two carry handles exit from the sides to make lifting easier.
Scrap canvas pieces made opened up

The design allows for just one side of the carry case to open so that access to the stove interior is quick and easy.

opened flap to access stove door

Once everything is snapped up, the case does its job to cover the stove. In camp, I've used the empty case (still snapped into shape) as a way of collecting tinder and small branches.

Finished carry case

It was used well on my late fall trip back in October and fits perfectly on top of the wanigan for transport across portages. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Circa 1890 Cree paddle: Cherry Gallery

Cherry Gallery's monthly current selections for Nov/Dec 2018 once again features a remarkable antique paddle. This one dated to circa 1890. It has features common to Eastern Cree paddles including the reverse-spatulate blade with straight sides and the wide, rounded tip.  Normally carved from spruce, this specific paddle is made out of cedar.

Cree Canoe Paddle
This diminutive cedar paddle is handmade in the traditional shape of native Cree paddles, with a small oval grip, an oval upper shaft, and an elongated lozenge-shaped blade. The natural wood's grain on one side of the blade has an attractive wave-like pattern.
Circa 1890
5" w, 62.5 h

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Historic Paddle Illustrations at has a gallery page of artworks by Edwin Tappan Adney, the famed amateur ethnographer and canoe historian whose work eventually was published as The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America. Many of Adney's illustrations are there, including this artistic rendering of fur trade canoe ornamentation and a painted woodland paddle.

Another great bark canoe and paddle sketch features Maliseet hunters calling a moose. It was featured in the St. Nicholas Vol XXIII - March 1896 - NO. 5 in an article entitled, "Their First Moose Hunt".

Lastly is a one of Adney notes featuring the carving details and decoration of a Penobscot paddle etched with a family of moose on the blade and floral designs at the throat and grip face. His scribbled notes mention that the paddle was found at the Sportman's Exhibition, Maine Exhibit, New York in 1897 and was possibly made by a St. John Indian living at Old Town, ME.

Friday, December 7, 2018

1794 Mi'kmaq Rennes de Robien Canoe Model

First posted back in 2017 (here), the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes has a model birchbark canoe with an accompanying paddle dating to at least 1794. The souvenir is constructed in the Mi'kmaq style with its distinctive hump amidships. It was assumed to be collected by Christophe-Paul de Robien (1698-1756), a French ethnographer and historian. After the French Revolution, his personal collection inherited by his descendants was seized by the state and distributed to what became the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes. During the inventory process, it was inscribed with a date of 1794 although the original construction date is likely older.

Modèle de canot avec rame
Inv 794.1.782
Museum of Fine Arts     RENNES

Accompanying the canoe is a single paddle with a pole grip and a decorated blade. Although faded, it appears that half the blade was painted with a red pigment creating a simple "yin/yang" effect. The canoe and paddle as well as other curiosities collected by Robien are now on display in a special gallery at the museum. One particular visitor has captured the model and paddle in the following photo:

Additional posts on this model are found here and here

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