Birch Bark Flask





Introduction: Birch Bark Flask

Create a Flask out of Paper Birch Bark

Step 1: Peel the Bark From Your Victim

Use a sharp Box cutter to score the bark in a long straight line down the stick.

Use a knife slowly separate the bark from the branch. then Scrape any left over material off the bark with the knife

Step 2: Make the Top and Bottom

use a Sawzall or hand saw to cut discs off of the end of the branch.
Cut 2 1/2 inch discs for the top and bottom of the flask
Cut 1 1 1/2 inch disk for the plug
I used a hatchet to break up the plug piece to larger than the finished size. I whittled the plug down to size using my knife (Be safe here and don't cut your hand). You could start with a dowel here and whittle it down to make it look "Hand Made"

Drill a hole in the top disc to hold the finished plug.

(You could dispense with the top and make a pen cup for your desk, or a drink holder, it would be a posh Starbucks caddy)

Step 3: Soften and Sew Up the Seam

Place the bark over a steaming sauce pot of water will soften it making it easier to bend.

Use a large needle (Glovers, sail etc) to stitch up the cut side.
I used a natural Hay Bailing twine and striped off a few fibers, softened them in the boiling water, twisted them and went to town sewing.

When Finished, insert the top and bottom (sand/file as necessary or apply some more steam to soften the bark)

Step 4: Make Your Own Nails to Attach the Top and Bottom

Take a piece of brass brazing wire that the thickness of a normal finishing nail

hold it securely in a pair of vise grips. Place the pliers somewhere firm and peen the end with a ball peen hammer. Use light taps to slowly mushroom the end into the head of your new nail.

Use side cutters to cut the wire at an angle creating a off center point in the tip of the nail to help it drive into the wood. I recommend inserting each nail as you make it, and make sure you make the nail long enough. (I kept dropping them)

Step 5: Attach Top and Bottom With Newly Made Nails

I used 5 nails on the top and bottom each, 1 next to each side of the seam, and 3 others evenly dispersed. Use your box knife to trim any bark that hangs over the top and bottom.

The bottom of the flask did split on me at the end so I would consider using a hard wood next time(I'll glue from the inside to "fix this problem"). I also don't think I'd use my own nails on a future version of this project. and I could have pre-drilled some of the finish nail holes to ensure a tight fit. Also I will be carrying this around in a leather pouch, so I might consider a oval shape that would more easily contour with the other bag contents.



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    In a word... AWESOME!!!!!!

    Very nice , is it watertight or would you have to add some wax , or keep it wet to make t swell shut? I remember doing something like this at scout camp years and years ago

    6 replies

    It's currently not watertight, but I would use parafin to seal this

    could you fire the inside of it like they do wine barrels to make it water tight?

    the barrels are fired for flavor not to seal them... barrels are sealed through swelling and a reed leaf betwen the wood

    Ah, well then never mind about the firing then

    My intent wasn't to make it watertight, I'm storing lead bullets in it. My understanding of wine barrels, is that the liquid swells the wood, which causes a tighter joint over time.

    To make this watertight, 1. dont lace the joint. 2. Make the edges overlap by at least half the circumference 3. Use Hide glue to secure the bark - Make hide glue, by boiling animal skin (deer etc). - Hide Glue is still commonly used anything that lasts 400 years must not suck. 4. Make sure the wood/bark joint is as tight as possible, I'd probably use hide glue on that joint as well, 5. line the inside with paraffin, or bees wax

    coolio, iv got to make one of these, i agree with lemonie verry ray meares.

    1 reply

    i've been on some Ray mears corses they were great fun!

    Your muzzle loader hobby sounds interesting. Where can I learn more about that? I love the antler ball holder. Hobbies that lead to making your own accessories are the best.

    1 reply

    First off I live in Montana where this hobby is common. I belong to a local club where I use the gear I make on a monthly basis, so I need it to actually work. If the gun thing is not your cuppa tea, you could always try the SCA for similar, hobbie/accessories relationship

    read the note on the last photo on step 2

    Yes, lead + drinking water, not so good. I'm actually not sure what I will eventually put inside this container.

    for a more natural finish to make it water tight, try using pine sap and smear it all over, then let it harden in the sun.

    Beats the pants off my pickled-onion fork... Excepting the nails, this is very Ray Mears. (nice) L