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Birch Bark Boxes: Scandinavian Bark Basketry

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Course Overview

In this class, students will make durable, airtight birch bark boxes that are perfect for storage of coffee, tea, spices, or any number of other dry goods. Natural oils in the bark work to prevent spoilage, while the dark, air-locked environment inside the canister keeps things from going stale. These beautiful and functional containers are held together without adhesives. Precision-fitted parts, tension, and small wooden pegs are all that is needed to make these incredibly tough boxes. In days past, these containers held snoose (chewing tobacco) and things like matches and fire starters. Sometimes they were made as double- or triple-deckers, in which case you could store coffee, sugar, and tobacco all in one container. Allowing four days for this class gives ample time to cover topics ranging from the technical aspects of making containers to properties of birch bark and decoration. It also gives students time to experiment and explore the containers in more depth.

Required Materials and Tools

  • Sloyd knife (Mora 120 or 106)
  • Scissors
  • 16” -24” ruler
  • A few clothes pins/ clips
  • Small 8 ounce or less hammer
  • Pliers with a side nipper
  • Square or triangular bladed awl
  • Pencils
  • 4-in-1 or shoe rasp

Optional Materials & Tools

  • Large clothes pins (4 to 6)
  • Carving hook or gouge (strongly recommended, but not required)
  • Sharpening stones
  • Small ball peen hammer (no more than 12 ounces)
  • Smallest can or jar of contact cement you can get


Sat, Oct 5th, 2024  –  Tue, Oct 8th, 2024

Course Details

Hours: 9am-5pm each day
Tuition: $420.00
Materials fee: $35.00
Latest Update: View recent changes →

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Fred Livesay
Fred Livesay
St. Paul, MN

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Wesley Hathaway
Wesley Hathaway
Grand Marais, MN

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Birch Bark Boxes: Scandinavian Bark Basketry