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Free Canoe Plan: Têtes de Boule Two-Fathom Canoe

Têtes de Boule Two-Fathom Canoe free plans

The Têtes de Boule Two-Fathom Canoe appears as Figure 103 in Edwin Tappan Adney’s and Howard I. Chapelle’s The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America. It looks like Adney used this canoe as one of the two canoes he based model number MM 98 on. The model appears on page 62 of John Jennings’ Bark Canoes: The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney. Figure 101 in Bark and Skin is a photograph of several Têtes de Boule canoes. The Têtes de Boule were skilled canoe builders and built canoes for the Hudson’s Bay Company. They considered this 14-foot canoe a family canoe. Like other Têtes de Boule canoes, Chapelle notes, it has a flat bottom combined with a well-rounded bilge and moderate flare, which probably would make this a stable canoe for its width. The end becomes V-shaped and narrow. To arrive at the shape in the birch bark canoes, the endmost rib was “broken” in two. The stems rise almost 28 inches. As a comparison, classic canoes like the Prospector have 21-inch bows. Chapelle notes that Têtes de Boule “canoes paddled very easily.”

When modeling this canoe, I ran into few problems which is atypical of modeling canoes for this free canoe plan project. The station, plan and profile views all matched up, which is also a rare piece of gold in Bark and Skin. I like the high bow. It seems to flow into the lower sheerline unimpeded by any need to humble its appearance. There’s a grace to the moderate flare in the sides of the canoe that reminds me of Lakefield cedar and canvas canoes. I think this would make a nice cabin canoe or a solo canoe for someone who likes Canadian-style solo paddling. It’s big enough to bring the dog.


Length: 14 feet 8 inches
Width: 33 1/2 inches
Depth: 14 1/2 inches

Têtes de Boule Two-Fathom Canoe Linesplan

Canoe Building Books

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To build a canoe from these free plans, you need information on how to do it. You should buy one of these two books to get you started.

For a more in-depth review, check out my canoe and kayak building books review.

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 Drawing Downloads and Paid Drawings

The drawings are available in the online store. There are free options and paid options. You can find the free canoe plans download here: Têtes de Boule Two-Fathom Canoe


  • Beautiful canoe. Any idea of what kind of load could this canoe realistically carry in basically calm water situations?

  • The displacement figures for 4- to 7-inch waterlines:

    4 inch – 330 lbs.
    5 inch – 443 lbs.
    6 inch – 562 lbs. – This is shown in the 3/4 view and in the plans.
    7 inch – 683 lbs.

    A 7-inch waterline leaves 7.5 inches of freeboard. Displacement includes the weight of the canoe and all gear in it, so to come up with the capacity, you need to subtract the final weight of the canoe from these numbers. Probably 40 to 50 lbs. in standard cedar strip construction.

  • […] an example, let’s say we want to make the Têtes de Boule Two-Fathom Canoe into a cabin canoe with roomy, but not too room paddling stations and plenty of leg room in the […]

  • Very nice layout my friend. Bouyancy looks just about perfect for a craft that size. very nice…

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