In the North American steppe, few or no trees grew. Therefore, the rods for the Indians had a great value (a stake = value of a horse). They often traveled hundreds of miles into the mountains to get their poles. The slender straight logs of the Murray pine were best suited as tipi bars. Black larches, white cypresses and Virginia juniper were also used.
In Europe, these trees usually do not grow. Instead, we mainly use spruce, which are also ideal for the tepee construction. Even larches and pines or other softwoods can be processed into rods. Basically, only dry, straight bars are used. Fresh and still wet sticks are too heavy and bend slightly. In young forest stands we find the suitable straight-growing trees that are often felled and cut out as waste wood. Check with a forester if you would like to make your tipi sticks yourself.
The number of tip bars required depends on the size of the tipi and must always be divisible by 3 minus the two smoke flaps.
- 3 leg
- 2 x smoke flaps
- 1 x lift pole
|Tipigrösse||Num. rods||rod length|
|Ø 2.00 m||9 pcs||3 m|
|Ø 3.00 m||11 pcs||4 m|
|Ø 4.00 m||11 pcs||5 - 6 m|
|Ø 5.00 m||14 pcs||6 - 7 m|
|Ø 5.50 m||14 - 17 pcs.||7 - 8 m|
|Ø 6.00 m||17 pcs||8 - 9 m|
|Ø 7.00 m||20 pcs||9 - 10 m|
|Ø 8.00 m||23 pcs||10 - 11 m|
|Ø 9.00 m||26 pcs||11 - 12 m|
The tip bars should be dry, straight and the surface peeled smooth. The course of the rods should have a slim shape from the foot to the tip. Calculate the length of the rods from the tipi diameter + 1 / 3 up to 1 / 2 diameter (6m tipi = 8-9m rods) at least 1 to 1.5m longer. It is important that they are about 4-5cm thick in the crossing point to keep the opening as small as possible. A set of poles looks more elegant when the poles protrude into the sky as sharply as possible and the lengths vary slightly.
Firs, spruce or pine tips are very suitable for tipistangen. The lighter bamboo poles are available to 7m but not so robust.
Bamboo poles easily absorb moisture, and when they dry out, they split with the resulting tension. However, if the rods are pierced diagonally at each scar with a thin approx. 2mm drill, the tension is reduced, thereby increasing the life of the bamboo rods.
Production of tipistangen
An important work is the debarking of the rods. If they are freshly beaten, peeling the bark with a bark peeler makes little effort. With rasp and sandpaper smooth the bumps and knots. This work should be done with endurance and care, as every knot, every bump serves as a drainage point for rainwater or pushes through the Tipi hull and may damage it. If the poles are sharpened at the lower ends with a hatchet, they will not slip so easily when setting up. On the other hand, they should be round above. This is especially important for the rods to regulate the smoke flaps, as they reach into the pockets should they have no sharp edges.
The bark freed and smoothed rods should be allowed to dry for at least 3 months. To do this, set it up like a tepee or store it so that there is enough air to each pole everywhere. In the set-up variant, the rods must be rotated repeatedly so that they do not bend by its own weight.