The poles are cut from locally managed forests. They are usually spruce which grows tall, straight and thin. They are the suppressed neighbours of faster growing trees. When seasoned they are light and strong.
A set of poles is selected to prvide an appropriate mix of stouter and slender poles to give strength with lightness.
They are cut to a length which provides a good size crown above the cover giving the tipi a look of balance. The number and length of poles for various sizes of tipis are set out in the table.
All the canvas used for the cover, lining and door is water and rot proofed. Additionally it can come with a fire retardent proofing if required. Various weights (thicknesses) of canvas are available and we usually use 12 or 15 oz which is strong and long lasting.
Tipis are traditionally made from white canvas as this lets in the most light. However coloured canvas is available and may be used in decorative ways, e.g. for smoke flaps and door strips.