Jarrod Dahl Birch Bark class with Plymouth CRAFT

The weekend went very well, 10 or so folks making several birch bark cannisters under Jarrod’s tutelage. What amazing material he brought from Wisconsin. We never see birches that large around eastern Massachusetts. They might grow big like that out in the western part of the state, but that’s way out past 495.

After the opening session/slide show/demo, it was time for the students to get involved. Started off making knife sheaths after a demo by Jazmin. She & Jarrod make pretty tidy knife sheaths.

Jarrod distributed the bark, then it was up to the students to suss out where to cut it. “About here?” says Jake.

Some could be de-laminated. Sorta like splitting hickory bark. Just easier.

Mary dove in and started cutting the joints with a chisel. Their first cannisters had triangular joints, later ones had curved joints. The triangular ones were a good place to start.

I semi-Tom-Sawyered Pret into cutting mine. Until I got to decorating it, that is. Then he disappeared in a hurry.


This one’s not mine, mine was more decorated. “tarted up” is the phrase, I think. But this punch impression is my favorite of the pile Jarrod brought.

Here’s a few of the punches, antler I think.

There’s many details, but I’m not writing a how-to. Here, Jarrod demo-ing pegging the white pine bottom in place.

A student’s cannister, bottom & top in place, next up was making the top and bottom bands. I messed mine up today at home, made a two consecutive simple mistakes.

One of Jarrod’s handles. Toggles, he calls them.

here’s Marie’s group shot. Big Steve – where’s your birch work?





Jarrod’s birch bark class at Plymouth CRAFT

We got underway tonight with a 2-hour intro to Jarrod’s class in birch bark cannisters with Plymouth CRAFT. https://www.plymouthcraft.org/

He showed some slides of harvesting the bark, and some historical inspiration, as well as examples of his own work. That was followed by a demonstration of cutting the joints for a simple cannister.

Here, using a chisel to stab out the slots and tabs for the connecting joinery.

I know from experience that wrapping your head around the layout of this joint is no joke. Here, he’s limbering the bark up for squeezing it so he can slip the tabs through the slots. Or whatever you call those bits.


Now to do it so all the components slide through in turn.

The body of the cannister fitted, a joined outside, and an overlapping liner slid inside.

I saw Jarrod make one of these, maybe a 20-minute demo, the year we first met. Since then, I’ve always wanted to delve more deeply into this aspect of green woodworking. So I’ve waited for this class for a long time. I greatly appreciate that Jarrod & Jazmin have traveled all this way; and have brought something new to us at Plymouth CRAFT. Looking forward to the hands-on part, starting tomorrow.

You probably already know Jarrod’s work, but just in case- https://www.instagram.com/jarrod__dahl/  

and https://woodspirithandcraft.com/