Chippewa Kitchen

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The Chippewa Kitchen can be seen as the indisputable KING of all “camp gadgets.” It’s the ultimate camp kitchen pioneering project, providing a huge element of convenience to a wide range of camp cooking operations. The Chippewa Kitchen can provide a raised surface for food preparation, a nifty place to hang tools and utensils, a framework from which a pot can be safely suspended over a cooking fire, and primarily, a convenient, raised cooking surface for cooking over hot coals.

There are all kinds of Chippewa Kitchens. They come in all sizes and shapes.

3 Chippewa Kitchen Styles
Chippewa Kitchens can be built in many ways. They all lead to more convenience for the cook.

When our troop first started making Chippewa Kitchens, we built them with one 10-foot tripod, with one 6-foot crossbar, and two 8-foot crossbars each of those extending out so that a shelf could be constructed where we’d pour the coals and do the cooking. We’d tie a rope from the top of the tripod and hang an 8 qt. pot over a fire built on the ground in the middle between the three legs of  the tripod. This always worked well, but with all the weight from the mineral soil, coals, food, and dutch ovens, it was a lot less stable. That design tended to make it difficult to keep the tripod from leaning and the crossbar extensions from shifting lower.

DOUBLE TRIPOD CHIPPEWA KITCHEN. Our more recent constructions consist of two 8-foot tripods connected with two parallel 8-foot or 10-foot platform supports over which we lash the cooking platform. With this design, you can build a cooking fire under one or both tripods and suspend a pot over each. Of course the platform is superb for Dutch Oven use and ideal for foil cooking.

Cooking demonstration on a Double Tripod Chippewa during an outdoor festival.
Looking good and feeling good at Playcard Environmental Education Center during Swampfest.

Materials needed for a Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen

  • two 10-foot x 3-inch platform support spars (For a smaller Chippewa Kitchen, 8-foot spars work great.)
  • six 8-foot x 3-inch tripod leg spars
  • four 6-foot x 2-1/2-inch tripod braces
  • two 6-foot x 2-1/2 to 3-inch front tripod braces (to support the platform support spars)
  • twenty to forty  3 to 4-foot x 2-inch floor spars (depending on the size of the cooking surface required)
  • sixteen  15-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes for square lashings
  • two 20-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes for tripod lashings
  • binder twine for floor lashing
  • piece(s) of burlap, terry cloth, or canvas to cover cooking platform

Link to Smaller Version

Here’s a procedure to make a Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen:

Build the tripods. Lay three 8-foot tripod legs side by side and lash them together with a tight tripod lashing. Make sure the butt ends are at the bottom and even.

Stand the tripod up by crossing the outside legs underneath the middle leg.

Repeat this process for the second tripod.

Click on the image for a larger view.
Labelled Chippewa Kitchen Spars (Click on the photo for a larger view.)

Lash on the tripod braces. Connect the two outside legs with one of the 6-foot front tripod braces. With tight square lashings, lash the brace so it is perpendicular to the ground and three feet high. Lash another 6-foot tripod brace to each outside leg and connect them to the middle leg with square lashings, about two feet and two and a half feet high respectfully.

Repeat this process for the second tripod, making sure the front tripod brace connecting the outside legs is again, three feet high.

Position the tripods. Place the tripods so the 6-foot tripod braces lashed to the outside legs (the stout ones that are three feet off the ground) are facing each other. These braces are the ones that will hold up the long platform support spars, which in turn will support the cooking platform. The distance between the two tripods should be close enough so the long platform support spars can extend over each brace by at least six inches.

Lash on the platform support spars. Place the long platform support spars parallel to each other on top of the three foot high tripod brace on each tripod. Space them apart so the shortest floor spar will extend over their edges by six inches on either side. Lash them in place with tight square lashings.

Lash on the floor spars. The cooking surface is made up of 3 to 4-foot x 2-inch floor spars, depending on how wide a cooking area will be required. These are lashed onto the parallel platform supports with a floor lashing using binder twine.

Prepare the cooking surface. Prior to adding 2 to 3 inches of mineral soil, and to keep he mineral soil from falling though spaces between the floor spars, spread pieces of burlap, terry cloth,  or canvas over the platform.

Finally, cover the platform with a layer of mineral soil thick enough to protect the floor spars from the intense heat that will be generated from the coals during cooking.

Double Tripod Chippewa Design
Construction is logical and easy. Burlap is a practical layer between the platform floor spars and the mineral soil.
A Covered Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen during an American Legion Open House
A Covered Double Tripod Chippewa Kitchen during an American Legion Open House

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