Free Boat Plans

A selection of Free Boat Plans that can be viewed and / or downloaded.

These free to download wooden boat plans (pdf) were first published in magazines such as "Popular Mechanics", "Popular Science" and the "Boat Builder's Handbook".

"Popular Science" magazine and "Popular Mechanics" back issues can be viewed online at Google Books.

All these free boat plans can be built by anyone with a common sense modicum and a few basic woodworking skills and tools.

However, if you have not got the skills and tools yet, this is a great way to acquire them.

One of the beauties of building yourself is that you do not have to buy everything at once, just get what you need when you can afford it.

While some of the instructions suggest using exterior plywood, I would always recommend using marine grade.

If you need help with lofting out the plans click here for an article here which should help.

Canoe Free Boat Plans 

Blue Bill

canoe plans

Combining the features of both kayak and canoe, "Blue Bill" is for those out-of-doors-men who hunt or the sportsmen who need an ultra-light-weight portable boat for use upon any waters.

Besides being usable to build a double-end paddling model, a few changes permit the plans to be used for making a canoe that will accommodate outboard motors up to 6 hp. for swift, speedy transportation on any stream or waterway.

Weighing only 75 lbs. complete, "Blue Bill" is easily transported atop an auto anywhere.


Canvasback canoe plans

This kayak is the answer for young people who want to build an inexpensive boat for summer fun.

A shop full of power tools is not necessary, either.

All the work can be done with ordinary hand tools and a few C clamps.

This Free Boat Plan will carry one adult but it's handiest when paddled by a youngster.

The boat is stable in the water and, even though it can be turned over, it will not sink.

It's also light enough to be carried with ease.

Building is so simple that the 'Jig' consists of only two blocks and a few bricks. 

Hunting Kayak

Hunting Kayak canoe plans

For many years a favorite of hunters, trappers and traders the kayak now is as popular with Europeans as the outboard boat is with Americans.

Although this boat was designed to carry two people, it will accommodate three in a pinch and gear may be stowed under fore and after decks.

A few strokes with the double paddle will send it gliding across the water with the minimum of effort on your part.

Kayaks are surprisingly seaworthy, too — more stable than a canoe, in fact, because the occupants sit on the bottom of the hull which lowers the center of gravity. 

Pintail and 10ft Duck Boat


'Pintail' drawn from plans by Wm D Jackson is another of the Free Boat Plans from the 'Boat Builder Handbook'.

This one is being built by Greg Allore .

Glide Easy

glid easy canoe plan

If you have ever struggled with the oars of a heavy, slow-moving rowboat and then paddled a swift, high maneuverable canoe you can appreciate why many true sportsmen prefer canoes.

But, too often, the multi-ribbed conventional canoe is not only hard to build but too thin-skinned for hard usage.

This Free Boat Plan teams up plywood and fiberglass to produce a tough, scrape-proof canoe you can build in one-tenth the time it would take you to turn out a conventional canoe.

The use of only one frame offsets the extra weight of using plywood, so that this canoe is still light enough for comfortable portage. 

Little Chief

free canoe plans

Little Chief is a canoe with many virtues, ideally adapted to quick, easy construction.

Canoes are not easy to build, but here is one Free Boat Plan that can be made of ordinary materials for a fraction of the cost of conventional canoes.

It has attractive molded lines and may be built either as a paddling model or, with slight changes, adapted for use with small outboard motors.


free wooden canoe plans

In all countries of the world, particularly the United States, the kayak is enjoying newfound popularity.

Here's a nimble, lightweight craft that has its roots in the Arctic as a basic instrument of survival, yet is branching out as a modern outdoor sport on our own rivers and lakes.

To the Eskimo, a kayak is more than a boat.

When he's laced into his whale-bone and walrus-hide craft, he's ready for anything in the way of water or weather.

To most of us, however, a kayak is pure adventure and fun.

It's perfect for poking around uninhabited Islands, exploring the bends of a lazy, winding river, or just breaking the peaceful surface of a placid lake at sunset.

Redwood Canoe

canoe free plans

You can build this 74lb, 16 foot canoe using redwood strips, an old boat-building technique.

Two persons can sit side by side in the center with one person at each end and plenty of room for gear.

This canoe is formed around plywood templates using redwood strips glued edge to edge.

You lay up the strips, remove the form, and the canoe is complete, except for fiberglassing and putting in the seats. 

The plans can also be used to build a 13-foot version of this strip planked canoe.

DIY Wood Boat Books
redwood canoe
73 page, step by step instructions for building the Redwood Canoe using modern strip planking techniques and materials
Everything you need to know from building to launching, yours to download (pdf) for
only $10
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Houseboat Free boat Plans

Budget Houseboat (Trailerable)

Budget-Houseboat plans

The Budget Houseboat is like a camper that goes on water.

She's 20 ft. long with a 9-ft. beam, containing 300 sq. ft. of usable floor area.

This means that while she can accommodate two in outrageous comfort, she can easily take a family of four on an extended vacation and be entirely self-contained.

There are two full-size permanent bunks in the forward section of the cabin.

The dining table, in the rear section of the cabin, seats four and then drops down to convert into an extra bunk 6 ft. 4 in. long and 38 in. wide.

Cabin headroom is 6 ft. 2 in., and two cots can be stationed to the rear of the cabin area.

Bayou Belle

Bayou Belle houseboat plans

Bayou Belle is a 25' scow that can be built as a sports utility, a fishing boat, or a houseboat, depending on your requirements for pleasure offshore.

As a sports utility, she can be used for towing water skiers and for cruising, as a fishing boat, she offers a stable platform with plenty of elbow room and stowage space.

As a houseboat, she has roomy interior accommodations for a leisurely life afloat.

Construction of Bayou Belle makes use of prefabricated sections, which means that much of the work can be done indoors in the average garage during the cold winter months, and the boat completed outdoors in time for launching in late spring.


Float-A-Home houseboat plans

A houseboat is a unique water craft in that it combines most of the comforts of home with the mobility of a boat.

Of course, use is limited to sheltered waters, and speeds are slow in comparison to more sea worthy vessels.

Float-A-Home is a 21-footer that provides plenty of living space for three or four persons.

An extremely simple houseboat to build, the free boat plans feature a strong hull with a heavy keel and close-spaced framing.

This, coupled with a relatively low profile, makes it a very stable craft.

DIY Wood Boat Books
Float a Home
94 page, step by step instructions for building the "Float a Home" shanty boat using modern plywood building techniques and materials.
Yours to download for
only $10
Add to Cart

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