Skin-on-frame Têtes de Boule Hunter’s Canoe Built

Têtes de Boule Hunter’s Canoe

Several years ago Alan Sinclair downloaded the free canoe drawings for the Têtes de Boule Hunter’s Canoe, a 9-foot, 8-inch pack canoe. A year or so later he sent in a contribution of $50 to help cover the costs of the time spent producing the drawings. Then he began construction with no clue how to do anything. He made it as skin-on-frame, regretting the departure from tradition, because he thought that would be simplest and would make a very light boat. It’s taken a very long time but he finally got it finished.

Alan sent several pictures and a thank you upon completion of the canoe:

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.

The canoe is constructed from ash ribs, stringers, outwales and stems. The keel stringer is made from oak. The inwales are red pine, and Alan finished out the canoe with walnut decks and seat back trim. For the floor, he said that “the floor planks are some weird molding wood from the hardware store, and I’d omit those next time.” All together it weighs 14 pounds. While Alan didn’t weigh it before skinning it, he believes much of the weight comes from the Dacron and coating that he used.

About the construction Alan said, “At least it’s very robust – bounced off a lot of rocks when we took it down the San Lorenzo river (low water here!).”

It’s so interesting to see these 100-year-old designs hit the water again, and this is an interesting and unique build. Take some time to browse his image gallery on Flickr.

Subscribe! Get PaddlingLight in your inbox. Enter your email address:


  • Thanks for showing my canoe Bryan! My family want a flotilla of them to spend a week on the Eel River,so we’ll be making more. I hope the next one will let me paddle it, instead of tipping me out.

  • Very pretty boat. Good job.

Comments are closed.