If you’re a loyal reader of PaddlingLight, you know that I’ve been modeling old canoes and kayaks from sources like The Bark Canoes and Skin Boat of North America and turning them into free plans. I’m almost three months into the project, which started on October 8th. So far, I’ve modeled 12 free plans during the project and with the holiday crunch I need a week off — that’s why you’re seeing this post instead of a new plan this week.
The process for modeling one of these boats is lengthy. I put in a couple of hours on each boat with some taking longer than others — surprisingly, because the canoes are symmetrical, they take more work. After I’m finished with the project on April 1st, I’ll have around 200 hours into it. I hope that the plans result in some of the boats getting built. For more, check out my canoe and kayak building books review.
I also hope that if you find these plans useful, you send me cash to compensate my time. By releasing the plans for free and asking for a donation, I’m running a little experiment. When these boats get built if you like how it paddles, I ask for $30. Prior to the Free Canoe and Kayak Plan Project, I offered seven plans on the website. Four styles got built. The Siskiwit Bay and Iggy being the most popular. For the most part, builders sent me cash. I hope that trend keeps up, because these plans do have value. It will help decide if I continue to release my personal designs for free or if I have to set up some type of optional payment system upfront before I release the plans. That’ll mean changing from a donation after getting the plans to a pay-what-you-want before you get the plans system. Other Indie designers have had success with the later system.
Here’s the info on the free canoe and kayak plans released so far:
Free Kayak Plans
- U.S. Coast Guard Museum Greenland Kayak — Length: 16 feet 4 inches Width: 20-3/4 inches
- 1883 Southwestern Greenland Kayak — Length: 16 feet, 6 inches Beam: 20 inches Depth: 6-7/8 inches
- Walrus Kayak — Length: 17 feet Beam: 22 inches
- MacMillan Kayak — Length: 17 feet 3/8 inch Width: 19-5/8 inches
- 1921 Southwest Greenland Kayak — Length: 17 feet, 1 inch Beam: 19-1/4 inches Depth: 6-3/8 inches
- Fram Museum 1888 West Greenland Kayak — Length: 17 feet 10 inches Width: 20-7/16 inches
- Peabody Essex Museum Labrador Kayak 1867 — Length: 18 feet 4-1/2 inches Width: 19 5/8 inches
- North Greenland Kayak — Length: 19 feet Width: 21-3/4 inches
- South Greenland Kayak, Fig. 208 — Length: 19 feet 6 inches Width: 20-1/4 inches
- Têtes de Boule Hunter’s Canoe — Length: 9 feet 8 inches Width: 26 1/2 inches
- 1865 St. Francis Canoe — Length: 14 feet 3 inches Width: 31.2 inches Depth: 13.8 inches
- Hudson’s Bay Company North Canoe — Length: 29 feet 11 inches Width: 59 inches Depth: 26 inches
Here are other free plans that aren’t part of the project:
Free Kayak Plans
- Siskiwit Bay — Length: 17 feet Width: 21 inches — Great modern British-style sea kayak. Built many times.
- The Iggy — Length: 16.543 ft Design beam: 1.745 ft — Greenland-style sea kayak with a modern deck. Built many times.
- Goodnow Kayak — Length: 16.679 ft Beam: 1.478 ft — Built a couple of times.
- Siskiwit Bay Multi-Chined Kayak — Length: 17 ft Beam: 1.757 ft
Free Canoe Plans
- 1898 Passamaquoddy Ocean Canoe — Length over all: 17ft 4in Beam: 36in
- Modern Malecite — Length: 17 feet Width: 36 inches — Rave reviews from builders.
Happy New Year! I hope your paddling dreams come true this year.