The 1865 St. Francis 2-Fathom Canoe appears as Figure 80 in The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America. It represents the typical form of a late-19th century St. Francis canoe, which, as described by Howard I. Chapelle, has high-peaked ends, a quick upsweep to the top of the stems, a vertical end profile with a short radius turn from the keel and rocker that occurs only in the ends of the canoe. By the middle of the 19th century, Chapelle notes that the St. Francis were building a fine canoe and selling them to sportsmen. These models became the standard for hunting and fishing in Quebec. Because of the popularity, other tribes attempting to sell canoes to sportsmen were forced to copy this style.
For the St. Francis canoe, Edwin Tappan Adney’s drawing disagrees with his stated measurements by a few inches. I decided to stick with the drawing’s linear scale. On a personal note, I had a slight difficulty fairing this canoe. Near the bow, the pinch and the roundness of the keel area seemed to fight each other. I eventually came to a satisfying conclusion with what I believe is fair and close to Adney’s drawings. Building the stem area with cedar strips might present challenges, but a generous use of nails, straps and clamps should solve any troubles. This boat has graceful curves and a flat bottom. Its 14-foot length will make it easy to move around or solo. It looks like a nice cabin canoe or a solo tripper. I can imagine this canoe on many Minnesota lakes.
Length: 14 feet 3 inches
Width: 31.2 inches
Depth: 13.8 inches
Maximum Capacity: 700 lbs.
Building From the Plans
You’ll need instructions if you want to build this canoe. Check out my canoe and kayak building books review. Everything you need to know is in one of those books.
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.