This cedar canoe drawing is taken from Edwin Adney and Howard Chapelle’s The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America–it appears on page 79. Adney surveyed the original in 1895. He notes that the boat shows moderate sheer and low ends.
For this set of free plans, I left the station shape and stem shape alone, and I modified the rocker and sheer. The original drawing shows the canoe with little to no rocker–I prefer a canoe that has some rocker–so I added a similar amount of rocker as seen in Prospector canoes. When I changed the rocker, I changed the sheerline, because I felt the additional rocker justified the appearance of a showy sheer. The end result looks classy.
Length: 17 feet
Width: 36 inches
Draft at 600 pounds: 5 inches
Optimum capacity: 300-700lbs
Elevator Pitch: The Modern Malecite St. John River canoe, originally built in birch bark in 1895, is a classic symmetrical canoe with moderate load capacity. Its rockered hull ensures easy turning without adversely affecting tracking. The tumblehome keeps the sides of the canoe close to the paddler for an easy reach into the water. Canoeists looking for a classic, cabin canoe or light-duty, symmetrical tripper will enjoy this design.
- Stefano Fasi’s builder’s log. Maybe the first one on the planet in over 100 years?
Free Canoe Plan Downloads
You can find the free canoe plans download here: Free Canoe Plan – Modern Malecite St. John River Canoe
I’m providing the free cedar canoe plans as a pdf (free Adobe Reader required to view) linesplan, which is printable on a letter-sized piece of paper; print this out for reference during the build. For building this wooden boat, I’m providing an A1-sized pdf of full-sized stations. This can be printed full-sized at many photocopy stores–no lofting required. I set the station intervals at one foot. For each station, I show lines to the outside of the canoe and for 3/16″ cedar strips. For builders who like a hardwood stem, I also included a 1.5-inch offset for the stem. For information on how to build a canoe from the free plans, see the book list below.
Recommended Books to Buy Before Building
- Canoecraft: An Illustrated Guide to Fine Woodstrip Construction: The gold standard for cedar canoe builders. Use this book with the provided free plans and you’ll end up with a great canoe.
- Building a Strip Canoe by Gil Gilpatrick: A great cedar canoe building book that explains excellent shortcuts.
- Strip Built Canoe: How to build a beautiful, lightweight, cedar strip canoe: Well written and easy to follow. Every builder should own this.
- Canoe Paddles: A Complete Guide to Making Your Own: Paddle building techniques included with canoe and kayak building books are typically crude. Follow the directions in this book and end up with a beautiful and functional paddle to go along with your canoe or kayak.
- Building Strip-Planked Boats: The newest book by kayak and canoe building authority, Nick Schade. A must have.
- The Strip-Built Sea Kayak: Three Rugged, Beautiful Boats You Can Build: The gold standard of kayak building books. Clearly explains all the sets of boat building from tools to epoxy work. There are so many tricks and tips in this book that you’ll be able to save time.
- Kayakcraft: Fine Woodstrip Kayak Construction: Presents a slightly different way to build cedar strip kayaks. Lots of great ideas.
- The New Kayak Shop: More Elegant Wooden Kayaks Anyone Can Build: If stitch and glue is your thing, then this is the book to get.