Wood Canvas Canoe Plans?


WCHA member #8947
My friend and I are about to embark on our first canoe building project, and we hope to build one of the wood/canvas variety. He is lucky enough to own a Seliga, so we have much to live up to... Regardless, we've gotten a few books (including the Thurlow/Stelmok piece) and have a hopefully basic understanding of the steps involved. For now we're actually looking to locate some good plans for a tandem boat that perhaps has a little more maneuverability/rocker/river running capability than the standard 17' flat bottom lake boats. Although certainly flat water paddling might be involved, so something with some versatility would be nice too, even though I know you can't exactly have it both ways... Just wondering what good plans might be out there - I've seen a few lists here and there, but am not so sure where to start.

Just as an aside - I see many plans are sold as "intellectual property" allowing for only 1 or 2 canoes for personal pleasuer to be built using them. Are there plans out there that are available to be made into canoes to be sold? (We are not planning on building boats for profit, so this doesn't really apply to my earlier question, I'm merely curious).

Thanks in advance for suffering the questions of yet another new-to-the-building-game canoe guy. I'm sure as we get into the process I'll be posting a lot more questions...
We maintain a list of available plans here: http://www.wcha.org/tidbits/plans.htm - as you will find, the number of canvas canoe plans available is a small percentage of the total. Off the top of my head, the 16' Chestnut Prospector is one of probably several designs that fit your description.

Another possibility is to adapt plans for another construction style (e.g. stripper) to canvas construction. This is usually done by further reducing the station molds to accomodate the sheathing and banding of the mold. There are discussions on these forums about how to do this. The next step further is to take lines off a canoe you like and loft it.

As for intellectual property question, this too pops up here every now and again. See for example http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?t=249
Alex Comb of Stewart River Boat Works sells plans for the 16' Prospector and the 16' Pal as well as others. The plans are very reasonably priced and are specifically for wood canvas. The plans are full sized for the form and allow for the thickness of the materials used to build the form. Check out this link: http://www.stewartriver.com/. You might want to talk to him before you decide which canoe to build. He generally recommends the Pal over the Prospector. Several of the members have built his version of the Pal and I believe are well pleased with the result.

Good luck and keep us posted.
I second that plug for Alex at Stewart River. I built his Pal model at his shop with Alex holding my hand at the technical parts. A great way to get the boat off the mold fairly quickly. You can then take it home to finish.
I think the Pal is a great boat for what you describe. Of course I'm sort of prejudiced toward it. :)
Yamaha YBR 125
Last edited: