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Free Canoe Plan: Têtes de Boule Hunter’s Canoe

Free canoe plans for the Tetes De Boule Hunting Canoe

The Têtes de Boule Hunter’s canoe appears as Figure 102 in Edwin Tappan Adney and Howard I. Chapelle’s The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America. I believe that Adney modeled the canoe in 1930. A picture of the model appears on page 63 in John Jennings’ Bark Canoes: The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney. This is a slightly different canoe than I’ve modeled before. It’s only 9 feet 8 inches. There aren’t many canoe plans, let alone free canoe plans, on the market for a small pack canoe like this. Loaded to the 4-inch waterline, the canoe carries 145 lbs. At the 6-inch waterline, which Cliff Jacobson states leaves plenty of freeboard in a solo canoe, the displacement is 250 lbs. Perfect for a small, lightweight, day-tripping canoe for fishing and hunting.

Chapelle writes that the Têtes de Boule were excellent canoe builders living in an area with good materials. They built canoes for the fur trade. Generally, they didn’t decorate the canoes unless the buyer requested decoration. Both Chapelle and Jennings note that these canoes paddled easily. Jennings writes that a builder named Dube — maybe that’s a misspelling of The Dude — built the canoe on the St. Maurice River in 1930.


Length: 9 feet 8 inches
Width: 26 1/2 inches
Depth: 12 inches

Tetes De Boule Hunting Canoe Free Linesplan

Canoe Building Books

To build a canoe from these free plans, you need information on how to do it. I drew the plans for cedar strip canoe building. 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.
The free drawings comes with a combined station and stem plan. You can work from this if you only want to print out one piece of paper. Great for framing and placing in the boat house (garage). Sample below.
Station and stem plans

These drawings come with multiple pages of nestings. Each station and stem is drawn separately. Use spray adhesive to fix the paper to your plywood before cutting out the forms. Nestings cost extra. Sample below.
Sample forms

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.

Canoe Builder’s Photos

By Alan:

He says:

Several years ago I downloaded your plans for the Têtes de Boule Hunter’s Canoe. A year or so later I sent a contribution ($35 or $50 – can’t remember) and began construction, with no clue how to do anything. I made it as skin-on-frame, regretting the departure from tradition, because I thought that would be simplest and would make a very light boat. It’s taken a very long time but I’ve finally got it finished boat so here are a couple of photos.

Thank you so very much for letting me get the plans free initially – it was a great inspiration at a low point.

This first canoe was totally experimental. From my ignorance this canoe’s shape is too round (I let the ribs change shape) so although my daughter can manage it fine my higher center of gravity tips me in at the least movement … fun for all, but I really need to make a second canoe that will be “my” boat.

Best wishes and grateful thanks

By Dana:

Read his building report at the Tool Library.

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  • I’m building this one as my next boat. I’ll let you know more down the line. It will be a skin on frame; so build should be fast. Probably a splash by this spring / summer.


  • Fun! I’d love to see this as a skin-on-frame. Looking forward to hearing more.

  • How stable is this canoe? (I am 57 years oldl:))
    It will match my needs, day trips and to fish from. What will the approximate weight become if I build it of Western Red Ceader.

  • Hey, Carl,

    That’s a good question. It likely hasn’t seen water since the 1930s, so it’s hard to tell exactly. Out of cedar and fiberglass, I’d guess it would come in somewhere between 35 and 40 lbs. depending on what you use for the seat and gunwales.

  • Thanks Bryan
    I had the strength to lift the canoe if the weight is between 35 -40 lbs. I can see that I can buy printed drawings for it. How much will it cost extra, when the drawings are to be sent to Denmark

  • I’m not sure about the shipping to get the drawings to Denmark. I’ll stop by the post office and see if I can get an estimate. You can probably get the weight down to 30 lbs. if you really watch what you’re doing and use 1/8-inch strips. Can you drop me an email with your contact info? My email is

  • Hi again
    I have sent an email to you

  • I have built a 12 foot canoe using 3/16″ cedar strips and 4 ounce fiberglass cloth. The total weight is 29 pounds so you should be able to build this short canoe to be no more than 25 pounds and probably less.

  • Thanks, Glen.

    I haven’t yet decided on the thickness on the ceder stip, but it will probably be between 3.5-4 mm

  • […] I have chosen to build a canoe, which matches my money budget, so I have some drawings for […]

  • […] Bryan Hansel from, decided In September 2010 to draw and release free canoe and kayak plans based on historic designs found in Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America and Mark Starr’s Building a Greenland Kayak. On the 24th of December, 2010 he published the plans for Têtes de Boule Hunter’s Canoe. […]

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