The Têtes de Boule Hunter’s canoe appears as Figure 102 in Edwin Tappan Adney and Howard I. Chapelle’s The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America. I believe that Adney modeled the canoe in 1930. A picture of the model appears on page 63 in John Jennings’ Bark Canoes: The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney. This is a slightly different canoe than I’ve modeled before. It’s only 9 feet 8 inches. There aren’t many canoe plans, let alone free canoe plans, on the market for a small pack canoe like this. Loaded to the 4-inch waterline, the canoe carries 145 lbs. At the 6-inch waterline, which Cliff Jacobson states leaves plenty of freeboard in a solo canoe, the displacement is 250 lbs. Perfect for a small, lightweight, day-tripping canoe for fishing and hunting.
Chapelle writes that the Têtes de Boule were excellent canoe builders living in an area with good materials. They built canoes for the fur trade. Generally, they didn’t decorate the canoes unless the buyer requested decoration. Both Chapelle and Jennings note that these canoes paddled easily. Jennings writes that a builder named Dube — maybe that’s a misspelling of The Dude — built the canoe on the St. Maurice River in 1930.
Length: 9 feet 8 inches
Width: 26 1/2 inches
Depth: 12 inches
Canoe Building Books
To build a canoe from these free plans, you need information on how to do it. I drew the plans for cedar strip canoe building. You should buy one of these two books to get you started.
- Canoecraft: An Illustrated Guide to Fine Woodstrip Construction.
- Building a Strip Canoe, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded by Gil Gilpatrick
For a more in depth review, check out my canoe and kayak building books review.
The free drawings comes with a combined station and stem plan. You can work from this if you only want to print out one piece of paper. Great for framing and placing in the boat house (garage). Sample below.
These drawings come with multiple pages of nestings. Each station and stem is drawn separately. Use spray adhesive to fix the paper to your plywood before cutting out the forms. Nestings cost extra. Sample below.
Get the Drawing Package
The drawing package includes the full-sized study plan and each station and stem drawn separately on a PDF that prints full sized on ARCH D size paper (nestings). You can cut these out and glue them to plywood to cut full-sized forms. A pdf of the electronic drawing package. is available for this kayak. You can print the file on 24- by 36-inch paper on your own.
Free Canoe Plans Downloads
The free cedar canoe plans come as a pdf (free Adobe Reader required to view) that you can print off at photocopy stores.
Canoe Builder’s Photos
Several years ago I downloaded your plans for the Têtes de Boule Hunter’s Canoe. A year or so later I sent a contribution ($35 or $50 – can’t remember) and began construction, with no clue how to do anything. I made it as skin-on-frame, regretting the departure from tradition, because I thought that would be simplest and would make a very light boat. It’s taken a very long time but I’ve finally got it finished boat so here are a couple of photos.
Thank you so very much for letting me get the plans free initially – it was a great inspiration at a low point.
This first canoe was totally experimental. From my ignorance this canoe’s shape is too round (I let the ribs change shape) so although my daughter can manage it fine my higher center of gravity tips me in at the least movement … fun for all, but I really need to make a second canoe that will be “my” boat.
Best wishes and grateful thanks
Read his building report at the Tool Library.