Sean Hartman’s lashed skin on frame canoe

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kayak Photo-0205_001 kayak 2

Sean Hartman’s skin on frame canoe

Sean Hartman found plans for a skin on frame canoe (SOF canoe) taken from an old book some time ago.

He writes: ‘I found these plans while researching your Cinderella canoe. They seem to have been taken from an old book entitled Canoes, Dinghies, and Punts: How to build a canvas canoe by E T Littlewood. One of the photos attached shows the transom hitch lashings I used for the ribbands and later the gunwales.’

Sean has reminded me that he obtained the drawings he used to build this boat from – see them at

This seems like a good opportunity to mention that the scans from Practical Boat Building for Amateurs by as written by D Neison and updated by Dixon Kemp I put up some time ago include another set of drawings and instructions for making a canvas canoe.

Julie skiff sailing version

Look out for the sailing version of the Julie skiff. Click on the image for more

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4 thoughts on “Sean Hartman’s lashed skin on frame canoe”

  1. G'day Gavin. I have plans to build two Greenland skin on frame kayaks as the first priority when we move into the new place. I plan 2 different underwater profiles to make SWMBO's somewhat more stable than the traditional shape. It will be her first serious craft and she may need sponsons for a little while. Fortunately we can paddle in shallow water, so if worst comes to worst she can walk home. This model shown seems moer european influenced tha the one I propose. On the disc I sent you will find a few skin on frame boats from Hobart, and a beautiful West Greenland stripper.


  2. D.N. Goodchild sells the reprint of "Canoes, Dinghies, and Punts: How to build a canvas canoe" by E T Littlewood

  3. Hi everyone,

    Just had a few things about the build of this canoe which I thought might be of interest.

    I used plywood for the center forms as well as the stem and stern pieces and red pine for the gunwals and ribbands. The plans specify 1/4" square ribbands which just didn't seem right to me and after searching around other SOF plans, I decided that ripping the 1 1/2"x 3/4" gunwale stock in half resulting in a 3/4" square ribband was more suitable. The plans suggest later on to go back and lighten the boat by cutting excess material away, which I figured was easier to do before assembly. One problem though- the two center forms have very different shapes and the plans tell you to make rests for the ribbands in the forms. I did all that prepwork before assembly which resulted with the square ribbands not wanting to rest properly in the shapes without some twisting. The notches in the shapes do need to be cut out as you put the ribbands on or else use stock that is round and won't give you twisting problems- bamboo or pvc pipe were a couple ideas I had. Because of all of this, I settled on the transom hitch lashings to keep those pesky ribbands in place and it has worked wonderfully.

    Hope this helps!

    -Sean Hartman

  4. You could use cable ties instead of wax string much faster and stronger.. Ties have a tensile strength of half the strength of 1/4″ bolts… I would make the bottom more flat for stability… Could frame it in bamboo it’s as light as cedar but 3x stronger plus provides floatation.. Use hole saw to shape bamboo for good fit… Schedule 40 1″ pipe works also…

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