Building Tip a. - Super size me!
by John Lindman

Measurements for a 26ft fur trade "North Canoe"

In case you have plans to build a 26' fur trade canoe here are some measurements that perhaps could be of some assistance. I checked in Adney's book "The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America" as well as Tim Kent's book "Birchbark Canoes of the Fur Trade Part II" for measurements of former and existing fur trade canoes. There were none that were exactly 26' so I had to use a few canoes to get an idea of what would be appropriate. Both books were very helpful especially Tim's book.

Let me tell you, when I did a mock up of the prow and it was inside the house it looked huge! I thought it must be too big. Ah, but once outside and positioned with gunwales and the building frame it looked right. The canoe is done and the lines turned out pretty much how I had intended. I just got back recently from Winnipeg - I hauled it out there along with 3 16ft bark canoes. Hell of a deal when I hit North Dakota - strong winds. The semis would just blow my poor canoes around. This canoe departed Montreal in late May for Thunder Bay. There will be more photos of this "Big Bad Boy" in up coming newsletters.

While Tim's book provided very valuable measurements as did Adney's no book exists to my knowledge that provides the measurements needed to arrive at the final measurements. To me that would be very helpful. Therefore I am passing this on to you.

Here are the measurements:

Length - 23'
Width - 36"
Materials - Douglas Fir Gunwales, Black Ash Thwarts, White Cedar Ribs and Sheathing White Spruce Root.

Finished Canoe
Length - 26'
Beam - 56"
Depth at Center - 20.5"
Prow Height - 40"

Height Sticks
Center Thwart - 17"
1st Intermediate Thwart - 17"
2nd Intermediate Thwart - 18"
End Thwart - 18.5"
Note: These were positioned vertical from the building frame to beneath the temporary thwarts that were the exact same height as the lower edge of the inside gunwale.

Inside - 24' 4" long x 1" wide x 1.25" deep
Outside - 25' long x .5" wide x 1.25 deep
Cap - ... long x 1.5" wide x .5 deep

Center Thwart - 53" long
1st Intermediate Thwart - 46" long
2nd Intermediate Thwart - 29.5" long
End Thwart - 12.5" long

Distance between thwarts
Center to 1st Int - 9 lashings
1st Int to 2nd Int - 9 lashings
2nd Int to End - 8 lashings
End to Gunwale Tip - 8 lashings

Main hull sheet is 42" wide by 18' long;
end hull sheets are 36" wide by 5' long each.

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