Humber River

Links to Kayak and Canoe Plans, many are free.

What is the difference between Free and Paid for Plans?

Sometimes nothing! Proven Free Canoe and Kayak plans have been made available particularly the traditional shapes.

Designers sometimes offer their earlier designs for free. Usually these plans have been tested and the Designer decided to change or improve them and are offering the old model for free.

Sometime backyard boat designers will make their experimental boat plans available for free. Some are good, some are not so good. There are some truly altruistic boat designers who offer plans for free AND will support you in your build.

Many free boat plans are plans that come from old magazines. Many Popular Mechanics plans, which have expired their copyright, are offered for free. In these cases the lines might be quite good but the building methods and suggested materials might be outdated. Measurements are not always accurate, check carefully.

What's the advantage of buying plans?

Often Free Boat Plans are less detailed than plans you purchase, often not much more than a table of offsets. Also a bought plans entitles you to some support from the designer, this is rarely the case for free plans, where the designer is sometimes no longer alive. Bought plans will almost certainly offer material lists, supplier contacts, details on how to do specific steps, rig details, required tools and tips. Bought plans will also often offer full size plans for the various frame stations saving you lots of draughting time.

Good bought plans will often save you time, and money.

One way of getting inexpensive plans is to buy a designer's book. Often to illustrate the book several plans will be included free.

You should have a good building reference book, get one with a few usable designs. If you have a bit of experience you might check out Building Classic Small Craft : Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats Gardner's book. Building Classic Small Crafts. A bit advanced but an interesting read with lots of offsets.

Another useful reference that will help you interpret old plans and help integrate modern methods is: Devlin's Boatbuilding: How to Build Any Boat the Stitch-and-Glue Way

Free Kayak Plans

Many Designers Sell Kayak Plans or Kits.

Book in German about Eskimo Kayaks in particular folding boats. A lot of information including diagrams and illustrations. If you read German, you score!

Eskimokajaks Auf Gebirgsflussen Band II (German Edition)

Free Canoe Plans

I have included pirogues and other canoe like boats in this section of free plans.

Free Plans are always a bit of a mixed bag. Some really good plans, some pretty terrible plans and everything in between. If you are a beginner, take your time, study the plans, MAKE A MODEL, get a book. If you are not sure how to do the building buy a plan from a reliable designer. The plans will be much more detailed and you will have someone to turn to for answers.

Canoe Plans, Different building methods

Plans in no particular order. Skin on frame, strip contruction and Stitch and glue construction.

Here is a link to John's who has made a few skin on frame canoes. There are no plans but detailed instructions and lots of photos of his build.

Building a Strip Canoe, Second Edition, Revised & Expanded: Full-Sized Plans and Instructions for Eight Easy-To-Build, Field-Tested Canoes A book with plans included.

Canoecraft: An Illustrated Guide to Fine Woodstrip Construction. This book is a classic. Instructions and offsets to build the boats.

The Canoe Shop: Three Elegant Wooden Canoes Anyone Can Build

Fuselage Frame Boats: A guide to building skin kayaks and canoes

I try to be accurate and check my information, but mistakes happen. Some free plans are good but others are worth exactly what you paid for them. I offer these links without guarantees. I do not endorse them or recommend them. Do your homework.

email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine