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P.O. Box 418
Hazelton, BC
V0J 1Y0

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Our busy workshop!

Archie is giving his Bear Paws its first trial in the snow!

Jessica is practicing how to use the Bear Paws!

Joe had so much fun he made 4 sets of Bear Paws in addition to his regular snowshoe project!

Thank you, please visit us again!

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Snowshoe Workshop - pg 2

Read more about the Snowshoe Making Workshop:

Making Rawhide

Scraping rawhide in the shop

Scraping the hide is very hard work and the snowshoe crew gained a deep respect for - and a glimpse into the work ethic and lives of our ancestors. We did encounter a nauseating smell but quickly overcame this sensibility and got to work. We had 8 hides and as the days passed we ended up morphing into teams to make the job easier. Our days ended with us feeling stiff and sore but very pleased with our perfectly scraped hides.

Our finished rawhideOnce all our hides were scraped, we learned how to make a cutting table that rotated the hide as we cut. We cut 7 out of 8 hides with our new rawhide cutters which worked amazing well. Then we wrapped our rawhide strips around the hide stretcher for drying. The last step was wrapping the rawhide strips into bundles.

Here we have one of our Snowshoe-making crew showing off our finished rawhide bundles.

 

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Building Snowshoe Frames

Our snowshoe makers are building frames out of maple

Jay T showing us his finished frameTo build our snowshoe frames we had to cut our maple into long strips approximately 1 to 1.5 inch widths and used our spokeshaves to prepare our frames. Our long strips needed to be knot free and perfectly grained as we learned that imperfections contributed to breakage. Once our strips were prepared, we started steam-bending using the two methods; method 1 required submerging our strips into a large barrel of boiling water; method 2 required the use of our home-made steam chamber that proved popular.

Archie M. is steambending his snowshoe framesWe built our own steam shelter and found it very warm as compared to the outside weather. While steam-bending, we learned to take our time and dreaded the sound of cracking; Bill would always smile and say "Don't be in a rush." We had fun bending our wood and were buoyant with success when we successfully strapped our wood into the form frame. While we students enjoyed moderate success in not breaking our snowshoe frames and having to start over, Bill showed us his mastery by making incredible bends and not breaking one single snowshoe frame.

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Snowshoe Weaving

Here, we are at the final stage of snowshoe making: weaving the frame

When we reached the weaving stage, we found that this process required careful concentration as it was easy to get thrown off the pattern. While weaving, we would notice one imperfection and have to backtrack to weave correctly. The weaving pattern is intricate and we again marveled at the skills required to building a set of snowshoes.

Taking our snowshoes for a spinWhen our snowshoes were finished and dried, we strapped them on and practiced walking and running via snowshoe. Our Snowshoes worked perfectly.

Overall, this workshop was wonderful and we give heartfelt thanks to our elder instructor Bill Green. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and our legacy with us.

 

 

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