Bark for canoe construction was best gathered during a winter thaw or just when the sap started to flow in the spring. A tree of the desired size, with bark up to nine layers thick, was felled and trimmed, and the bark was cut and stripped off in one piece. The wooden frame of the canoe was of northern white cedar. The birch bark, with the brown, inner layer of the bark turned to the outside, formed the skin. Seams were sewn with split roots of spruce or tamarack, then waterproofed with spruce resin.
Our modern canvas and fiberglass canoes are patterned after the Native American birch bark canoe. Smaller pieces of birch bark were used in making dwellings called wigwams.