Lean-To: Wilderness




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by Ernest Thompson Seton 

A Waterproof Shelter of Wilderness Stuff

If you have plenty of spruce, balsam, or hemlock boughs available to furnish a roof thatch, it is easy to make a lean-to. This consists of a frame of poles bound with roots of spruce or tamarack, or else the inner bark of the elm, tamarack, leatherwood, or pignut hickory. (See A in illustration.)

Begin at the bottom and cover them with the boughs cut twenty or thirty inches long and each one attached to the poles at D in the illustration.

If you chance to have an abundance of birch bark, it is yet simpler. Cut the birch bark as large as possible and insert a row of sheets at the bottom, brown side up, overlapping at the up-and-down joints instead of setting the bark pieces side by side as in shingling. The top row may need extra binding poles to hold the bark sheets down (X X in B). These poles are bound at their ends to the ends of the poles below them.

If grass or rushes are used, tie it in bundles and put on as with boughs. Sometimes the grass bundles are lashed separately to the upper sides of the poles with root or bark bindings.

If one happens to have a supply of clay handy, a first-class clay roof can be made. Make the structure very strong with cross poles so close side by side that they touch each other. On them lay a few inches of grass, and cover all with the clay hammered smooth.

In each case, the ends may be filled up with the same material as the roof.

A fire in front makes of it a very comfortable dwelling. 

In rough, hasty work, the lashing of the poles is dispensed with; the poles being held in place by knots left projecting on the two main end supports. This answers for the clay or the bough roof, but will not do for birch bark or other shingling.

See Also:

Dan Beard's Fallen-Tree Shelter

The Adirondack & Bark Teepee

The Birch Bark Roll 






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Peer- Level Topic Links:
Adirondack Lean-To ] Bark Teepee ] Beaver-Mat Huts ] Boys' Den ] Boy's Gym ] Daniel Boone Fort ] Covered Council Ring ] Dixie ] Fallen-Tree, Peel Bark ] Half-Cave Shelter ] Indian Communal ] Indian Shelters ] [ Lean-To: Wilderness ] Log Tents ] Mandan Council House ] Mossback ] Newbrunswick ] North Woods ] Old Tents ] Pole House ] Pontiac ] Racks and Wrinkles ] Red Jacket ] 12' Tepee Plans ] Wire Kens ] Woodcraft Cabin ] Woodcraft Stone Cabin ] Woodcraft Outhouse ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.