This has to be the most amazing woodworking documentary I have ever seen. At every step, he does something I would never have thought of.
This documentary shows how a canoe is built the old way. César Newashish, a 67-year-old Attikamek of the Manawan Reserve north of Montreal, uses only birchbark, cedar splints, spruce roots and gum. Building a canoe solely from the materials that the forest provides may become a lost art, even among the Native peoples whose traditional craft it is. The film is without commentary but text frames appear on the screen in Cree, French and English.
It is 57 min long but you will not be bored for a second watching this craftsman!
This is a film from 1971 and apparently his son Jean-Louis (pictured above in a recent photo and presumably one of the boys also shown in the video) now carries on the tradition of making these in Manawan, Quebec.
Note that while Cesar cuts down the birch tree which he strips of its bark, I have read that the bark can be removed from a living tree and it will not kill it – and the bark will regrow – how’s that for amazing resilience and sustainability?! I suppose without a ladder or other means of getting up high into the trunk of the tree, cutting it down was the only method. On the other hand, many of the other parts of the canoe are built from the birch. ( He carves two paddles from the birch as well)
-- If you can't joint it, bead it!