The birch tree is one of my favourite trees; up there with the mighty Sequoia, the resilient Juniper, and the weeping Willow. Not only is the Birch a gorgeous tree to look at, its bark is strong, water-resistant and pliable, making Birch bark a great material to make stuff with.
During our Saugeen River trip, we peeled some Birch bark off a standing tree, with the intention of making our first primitive Birch bark drinking cup. That never happened; not there at least. After transporting the Birch bark home and leaving it to sit a couple days, the bark dried out a little, making it brittle and hard to work with. Not smart on our part.
Last night we did what we could with what we had, improvising along the way. A couple slits, some rope knots to keep the cup in tact, and then some candle wax to plug up the leaky bits. (Clearly, this is a joke of a Birch bark cup.)
If you’re actually interested in learning how to make one, make sure you’re working with pliable, freshly-peeled bark. You’d also do well to watch this video. (The rope & wax were used purely out of desperation.)