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Bryan’s Homebuilt Boats from 2004 and back

Note: The plans included on this page are for historical reference only. Carlson’s Hulls, a windows only program, is required to view them.

These are the boats that I’ve built or designed for myself. I’ve helped on other boats, but I am not including them. Please, feel free to contact me to learn more about these. If you have built or build one of these designs, please, let me know, or send me a picture. I would love to hear from you.

Freedom 17

The Freedom 17 canoe is the first boat that I built. I lived in an apartment at the time and built this in my living room. When finished we had to get it to the ground, which was one story lower, so I lowered it out the window while my significant other stood on the ground waiting for it so she could grab it. When people passing by saw it coming out of the window, they stopped their cars and one person ran out of the business that was below our place. By time it was on the ground 7 people had helped us.

Review: This boat is an exceptional design. It is a fast 17′ canoe, which is very stable for tripping out of. This is what I wrote on the Bear Mountain Web site:

” I built a Freedom 17 and love the way it paddles. It’s very fast, but stable and carries a good amount of gear. I paddle it with my girlfriend most often (I weigh 190lbs and she 135 lbs). We tried a sliding bow seat, but it didn’t really do anything, so I moved the rear seat slightly forward from the plans in Canoecraft and we just move around gear to trim out the boat.

We just took the canoe on a trip this last weekend with about 150 pounds of gear arranged in three packs and our fishing gear chucked in where it would fit, and we out ran everything on the water, including a empty aluminum canoe with a couple of beefy guys wanting to race us.

I’ve paddled almost every canoe from Old Town, Bell Canoe, and a couple from Wenonah. Out of all of them I like the Freedom 17 the best. A friend of mine has a Bell Northwind Kevlar, and he enjoys my canoe more.

Everyone likes their canoes a little different, but the Freedom 17 carries the gear I need, moves fast enough to crank out the mileage (we’ve done 24 in a day with it), and the lines look good. I’d give it a shot.”

And to add to this review, I have now discovered that this boat is also great for solo paddling or Omering. I’ve beat the snot out of this canoe, and I absolutely love it.

Look-Alike: a modified Wee-Lassie

I bought the plans for this canoe from the Adirondack Museum. When they came I lofted forms from the offsets on the plans. Then I changed the forms spacing on the strongback to change the length from 10 feet to 11 feet 11 inches. I also added depth and gave the canoe slight tumblehome. The canoe was originally paddled by sitting on the floor, but I added a seat, so you don’t have to sit on the floor in the bilge water and get wet all day. After all, canoeing is a naval operation and not an amphibious one.

Review: This is a fast little canoe, which is super stable and goes straight as an arrow. When we are taking friends out canoeing, and they have never been before, we put them in this boat. I built this for my two nieces who are 8 (Alyson) and 10(Paige), and they paddle this boat together. Their favorite trick is to lean the boat on its side and let water come in until they sink it. Of course, after that they have to practice canoe over canoe rescue with whatever boat I happen to have on the water with me. The only thing that I don’t like about this boat is that it doesn’t like to turn, but, hey, everyone else loves it. If I built it again, I would raise the sheer line by two or three inches. A depth of 12 inches would be perfect.

West Greenland Style Skin-On-Frame

I started this kayak, because I wanted to learn how to roll one. I’ve canoed all my life, but only dabbled with kayaking. I have a couple of friends who love kayaking, and often I would find myself in kayaks with them, but I wanted one of my own to learn how to roll. At first, I looked at several designs to build out of cedar strips or plywood (including, the Sea Spirit, the Outer Island, and Isfjord), but nothing seemed to be exactly what I wanted. I remembered all the books on boat building that I collect, and started to read all the books on skin-on-frame building. Finally, I started this kayak, which is mainly based on Cunningham’s book. There are touches from other books also.

Review: This kayak is slightly different from others that get built; it has five inches of rocker in the front and back! Other than the huge rocker it is pretty normal at 16’10 and 3/4″, and 22″ wide. I really like the way that it paddles. I’ve paddled a few touring boats our there and this is my favorite. It actually turns! A boat that turns is very important to me and that is one of the reason why my favorite solo canoe is a Bell Wildfire. This SOF also has a huge deep V hull, but feels very stable to me. I have no problem with sculling braces and my next goal after I get a bombproof roll is to learn a balance brace. And guess what? This kayak, even with the huge rocker, goes straight. I’ve had it is two to three foot rollers and it comes alive. It is an absolute blast. It does slightly weathercock, but I’ve discovered that if I slide my butt to the side I can counteract the wind and keep on course. I built a plywood version of this kayak, which is called the Fool’s Gold.

Side note: The paddle I’m using I also built. It is a Greenland paddle and I love it. This one broke, and you can see that in the first picture below. I built a new one, which looks 150% better.

Plans for Kayaks

Note: The plans included on this page are for historical reference only. Carlson’s Hulls, a windows only program, is required to view them.

The following four kayaks are plans that I would like to build. I’m including files for the Hulls program. To save them, right click on the link and then choose, Save Link As. This will pull up a box that will ask you were you want to save it as. Feel free to play with these kayaks, and let me know if you build one. If you do, you have to promise to let me paddle it and send me a picture.

Fool’s Gold: A S&G S-O-F

I started this project with the desire to build a kayak with bulk-heads and the capacity to carry gear safely and conveniently. I also wanted a kayak that performed exactly the same as my West Greenland skin-on-frame. So, I downloaded Hulls,which is a great program provided for free from Carlson’s Designs. I took the lines off of my skin-on-frame and inputed them into the Hulls program. I tweaked the program a bit and printed out measurements to draw panels from and then cut the panels from cheap and junky luan plywood. I’ve built the deck out of cedar strips left over from another project. The one I’m building has a slightly different sheer line than what is shown above. I learned a lesson about Hulls. The lesson is that when it splines a line, it produces a nice curve, which isn’t always the perfect thing on a kayak. The picture above has a sheer line very close to my skin-on-frame.

Plans: You are welcome to download my plans to look at in Hulls. Please, note when I took the lines off of my kayak, I didn’t have it leveled to the waterline, so when you look at the plans in Hulls, pitch the kayak by .75 before you run calculations to get an accurate representation of the actual boat. I will load more pictures as I get them processed. Here are the plans as I built this boat.

Plans Version Two: After paddling this kayak for 560 miles, I’ve come up with some design modifications that I would use if I built a second version of this design. In this plan, I’ve taken out some of the rocker, added some height to the sheerline in the front, and I flattened the center to make it slightly more stable when shooting photos. I suspect that this version will still provide a good amount of fun when in waves and it will be slightly better handling in confused chop. Here are the plans. If used as a touring kayak, the deck would need to be built an inch or two higher than the sheer line on the rear deck. A skeg consumes too much volume in the rear of the kayak for touring, so I added some volume in the boat that rearranges the center of buoyancy, so it shouldn’t need a skeg as much as the original does for touring. I’ve enjoyed sailing in a kayak now, and I would just add a rudder, so I could also sail.

Side Note: In the pictures below, you can see the hull stitched together and fiberglassed. The rounded forms are placed at my knees, then at my feet and one in between. I, unscientifically, arrived at a radius of 24″ for the circle that makes up the deck forms. (I think I would try 20″ on the next one.) The support holding the form at my feet location will be my foot brace. The second picture is an example of the difference in the sheer after I adjusted it in the Hulls program. The black spray-paint line represents what needed to be removed to make the sheer closer to my S-O-F. I turned off auto-spline in Hulls, so I could adjust the sheer line. The third picture is what I’ll see on the water. Note the compass. And the forth is a picture of my set up for taking the lines off of my S-O-F. The fifth is sea trails to see if Hulls’ Center of Buoyancy can be trusted.

First Launch: I took the boat out for a test run and these are my impressions: It doesn’t get up to speed as fast as my skin-on-frame. It tracks slightly better. I think this is because the balance point is better placed. If I rebuild the coaming rim, (I don’t like the glassing job I did.) I would bump the cockpit back an inch. This would give me the ability to slide around in the cockpit and adjust trim slightly. This actually rolls easier than my skin-on-frame. The cruising speed and top speed seem to be the same as my skin-on-frame. It might be slightly faster cruising than my sof. I built a skeg box into the hull, and now after paddling the kayak, I know that I will finish the skeg. It will be nice to have the skeg in wind and currents and for touring, but I’m excited to get this thing in waves and play. Overall, I’m happy with this kayak. I’m glad I built it.


Now Here


I cheated on this one big time. I loved the look Hunter of the designed by Bjorn Thomasson. I used that boat as a basis for this one. He used an other boat as a basis for his, so I supposed this boat is based on a boat that was based on a boat, that probably was based on many boats before it. Anyway, it looks sleek, and I’d love to built it out of strips using Hulls to output forms for the build. Again, I think that I need to work on the sheer at the stems; they should pinch in more. The plans are here.

Note: The plans included on this page are for historical reference only. Carlson’s Hulls, a windows only program, is required to view them.


Harvey Golden took the lines for the kayak this is based on in 1998. The plans were published in Sea Kayaker magazine, and in my version, I widened the boat. I couldn’t get the rear stem to look rounded, so if I were to build it, I would change that when stitching it up. The plans are here.

Note: The plans included on this page are for historical reference only. Carlson’s Hulls, a windows only program, is required to view them.

Gokstad Faering

I quickly took the lines off of a drawing of the Gokstad Faering and inputed them into Hulls. It was much harder to make this look like it is suppose to look, than it is to make a kayak work. To build this, the three chine panels would have to be joined to a 2″ wide keel. I would probably laminate the stem over a plywood form, then attach the stems to a hardwood keel, and build up the plywood sides from the keel up. I would add gunwales both inside and outside. It looks like from the drawing that there are two rowing stations at either side of the center. It also looks like there are seat/supports in the bow and stern. At first look it seems to have a rudder, but it is more like a side mounted skeg — I’m sure there is some sailing term for this. The boat also has three thwarts that would double as seats. The plans are here.

Note: The plans included on this page are for historical reference only. Carlson’s Hulls, a windows only program, is required to view them.

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  • We would like to build a miniture faering for our new grandchild. Our daughter has married a norweigan and we would like to cradle to honor his nationality. I tried to get the plans by clicking on “here” but all I get are some numbers. I reduce your plan if you approve and we would be more than pleased to buy you Fat Tire. Thanks for reading our email from Northern Ontario, Canada

  • brian,

    I’m interested in your faering design, but am having a hard time getting hulls to run on my ancient windows box. is there any way that the txt file can be transcribed into a more standard table of offsets?

  • Any simpler way to transmit plans to us , poor neanderthaler!These number really do not make any sense at all , even with all the tutorials I could put my hand on .
    Thanks for an answer , even to send the right tutorial , that i may not have find !!!!

  • Note: The plans included on this page are for historical reference only. Carlson’s Hulls, a windows only program, is required to view them.

    To download the plans, right click, choose “Save As”, and then save the plans.

    Open them in Hulls.

    If you’re looking for a kayak to build, I suggest skipping the designs on this page and building either an Iggy, a Siskiwit Bay, or the experimental plywood Siskiwit Bay.

    If you’re looking to build a faering, I suggest Iain Oughtred’s Elf. Learn more about him in this book: Iain Oughtred: A Life in Wooden Boats. Check out Iain’s book Clinker Plywood Boatbuilding Manual. Early in the book are the drawings for his Elf faering.

    I hope this helps.

  • […] or two with the kayak, I sold it. Some years later, I bought a solo canoe and started to build a cedar strip tandem canoe in my apartment’s living room. During the years between selling the kayak, my focus and […]

  • Now THAT’S a cool boat! :)

  • […] Bryan’s Homebuilt Boats from 2004 and back […]

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