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Re: Birchbark


As a basketweaver, I have some experience with birch bark.  The character of
the bark will be different if it is harvested in the winter or in the late
spring/early summer when the sap is up.  Typically, the bark is more pliable
when harvested in early summer.

After I harvest bark, I flatten it in a press for about a month.  This will
help keep it from curling. Then, I cut out thick scars and slice the bark
along its lentice lines to the appropriate width.  Finally, I split (peel)
the bark into thinner sheets.

I usually don't soak the bark before I use it, but I do treat it with mink
oil.  (As a vegetarian, this last step fills me with guilt; however, it
makes the bark supple and preserves its luster.)


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