Tarlow's Web Site - Tepee Project

All right, I've gotten it into my head to make a tepee (tipi or teepee are also acceptable spellings). I've always liked them -- something about how they're simple, natural, and ingenious. I think what triggered me to go from thought to action was a visit to the Crazy Horse project going on in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

So, I began to do a little research on the Internet to find a little "how-to" help. There seemed to be enough good information out there to start up, so I went for it. If you want to get started, just go to your favorite search engine and search away!

Luckily for me, I've got 40 acres of woodlands that I can use for my raw materials. So I'm able to collect wood to fashion into poles. The covering for the tepee is another matter, though. I don't seem to have any tarp trees in my woods. :(

With a little help from some friends, I got a bunch of long, mostly-straight ironwood trees from my woods. Here, and here, are some pics. I'm trying for a 15-18 foot tepee, which means the poles should be around 18-21 feet long.

Well, I've got the ironwood trees. But I was a little hesitant on starting to cut them up, smooth them, etc. with so little practical experience. I just didn't have a good feel for the project yet. So, I decided to construct a 1/5 scale tepee to gain some experience. And I took some pictures along the way.

[Image] Here's the brush pile I gathered my poles from.
[Image] Then I brought them inside to work on them.
[Image] I cut out the 12 straightest 4' sections I could find.
[Image] Then I cut off any small protrusions and peeled the bark.
[Image] I took 3 of them, and set up the basic tripod.
[Image] The rug was added for friction, and the other poles set up.
[Image] I found some old cloth, and draped it over the skeleton.
[Image] Using a pattern I snagged from the Internet, I cut the covering.
[Image] And draped it again. There's no doorway cut out, and the smoke flaps aren't set up.

So I feel a little better about taking on the life-sized tepee. More to come.