The 1910 St. Francis Canoe in Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America is one of the Free Canoe Plans that I offer. It’s also one of the most graceful canoes in Bark and Skin. It’s high ends and sweeping sheerlines lead the eyes from tip to tail without interruption. The canoe measures just over 15 feet and its 36 inch width makes for a stable ride. It’s appearance is more modern than many of the other canoes in Bark and Skin, and it’s easy to imagine that this could be commercially manufactured today. It’s not surprising that builder’s flock to this design.
1910 St. Francis Skin-on-Frame Canoe
Completed: July 2011
This unique version of the 1910 combines the shape of a birch bark canoe with the technology of a skin-on-frame kayak. The colored covering looks like real animal skin and contrasts perfectly with the ribs and stringers. While Mike didn’t detail the building process completely, he gives hints about how he did it. Here’s how I’d do it: Set up a strongback with the center station and two on each side of the center station and the stems. Then bend the gunwales, add stringers, and bend the ribs using the stringers as guides. Skin it and outfit.
Here are some pictures of the canoe I built from your plans. I’m sure I used way too much oak… She has cedar stringers, oak ribs, oak bow and stern pieces, ash inwale, mostly ash outfitting (some unknown hardwood scraps). I skinned with 14 oz. polyester from G. Dyson. Coated with tinted spar varnish (I’m not happy with the tinting, but sometimes you just have to try new things). I learned a lot on this project… ideas I’ll use on the next one. Thanks for the plans.
- The process was inwales & thwarts, then ribs, keelson, stringers, and outwales (with much adjusting).
- I made the outwales the same thickness as the stringers, skinned over it, attaching the skin to outwales with monel staples. I finished with oak rub strips. Couldn’t figure out a staple-less way of skinning it.
- The bow and stern are steamed and laminated. I got the idea from the bark canoes, with split and wrapped gunwales.
About its performance Mike writes:
We launched it on Lake Chatcolet in northern Idaho last weekend, and it handled great. It seemed very maneuverable.