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Thread: Coverage?

  1. #1

    Default Coverage?

    I made a nice tee-pee this month that I plan to sleep in quite a bit over the summer. Anyone have some suggestions for covering that will shed the water well? I'm looking for all natural here... not a tarp or anything. I'm in New England, if that gives you an idea about the trees/plants I could use.
    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    So at the moment you have a tipi frame?

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    um, you really only have two choices, tanned hide, or foliage. And thinking about it, you really only have one choice, the hide since I can't think of how you would put foliage up with out a lot of cordage and very broadleaf plants.

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    Light cotton canvas....is the only practical covering. A typical 16 foot base Tipi at 14 foot high will take close to 25 average deer skin hides that have been tanned and oiled/waxed, that also need to be sealed seamed sewn together. Average Buffalo/Bison hides about 12-14

    You can find seconds of canvas awning material at places like Astrep Awning and others on the cheap.

    To make the canvas waterproof, unfortunately takes something not natural and that is Thompsons water seal.

    A pre made tipi covering can be bought, but they are really expensive. A place called Panther lodges http://www.pantherprimitives.com/ have them, you may want to contact them to see if they have seconds or returns for sale.

    New England has a Pine called Lodge Pole Pine.... they must be about 4"dia at the base, at least 18 feet long, cut, skived of all bark and placed in a running deep stream for a season to leech them of all pine saps. You hold them down under water with rocks and cross sticks. You will need at least 13 and maybe 15, always an odd number so you have a face pole for the entrance.

    You can also use tall spruce, white pine and cedars.......but lodge pole pines are the best to make it from.
    Last edited by OhioGrizzLapp; 03-23-2011 at 09:07 PM.

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    If you have a very large White Paper Birch stand of trees, you can use birch bark. Be Warnned though, this will kill the tree, you can use pine or birch home made pitch/glue to put the pieces together. For the same size tipi above, it will take approx 12 full peeled birch bark skins from at least 18" diameter x 14' tall bark skins to make the entire covering. This means you have to cut the tree down, cut all limbs and use a special birch peeler to create the peeled skins.

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    I wasn't aware of anything natural that would waterproof cloth, so I left it out. I like the bark idea, but thats just as much work as the hides. Of course, the native people who use this style of shelter have plenty of hides, but for most people, its not a suitable shelter. A wigwam (for lack of a better word) would be better since it can be made using grasses as its way to water proof.

  7. #7
    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    birch or pine tar, bees wax, vegetable waxes, there are probably a good handfull of options. home processing such material in the quantities a tipi cover would require is probably a large project. I'm not sure how tree tars with large amounts of exposed surface area would weather after long term use, as most of the volotiles which keep it soft will eventually evaporate, but somebody else might.
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