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Build Your Own Fox Canoe

Stitch-and-glue construction of a lightweight, decked, double-paddle canoe.

A completed fox canoe on the shore

Tuition: $875 (partner: $425)

Materials: $1,445

Note: This is a six-day course ending Saturday afternoon.

At first glance, this design from Bill Thomas might be thought of as a kayak, but a more accurate label would be a decked-over, double-paddle canoe. Fox has proven to be quite a seaworthy boat, even though Bill’s thoughts while designing the canoe were of quiet waters and a relaxing pace.

At 14′7″ in length, Fox is longer than most decked canoes, and the beam of 30″ adds greatly to the boat’s strength and carrying capacity. Weighing only 42 lbs, the canoe can easily be carried on one’s shoulder and is steady enough to step into at the water’s edge. There’s room for a young child or pet to fit comfortably forward of the paddler. Her roomy 6′6″ cockpit also makes her a great platform for fishing or photography.

A completed fox canoe on the shore

Tracking is solid, and the bilge panels make it possible to lean the canoe and carve gentle turns as one winds oneself up narrow streams and backwaters. The long waterline and fine entry also make it possible to cover long distances when necessary. Fox’s ample freeboard coupled with a moderately high bow and 3” coamings make for a dry ride in a chop or swell.

Bill will guide students through the straightforward stitch-and-glue construction. Built of okoume marine plywood and 6-oz fiberglass cloth, the hull goes together fairly quickly, and by mid-week students will be installing the bulkheads and laying down the decks.

Adding to the elegance of the boat, each canoe will be fitted out with hatches for dry storage, mahogany coamings and seat back, and a caned ash seat. Foot braces aren’t needed, as Fox is perfectly comfortable to paddle with the outside of your knees braced against the coaming, or to sit in cross-legged when the mood strikes.

Bill Thomas is a sterling individual. Very knowledgeable, approachable, and patient. I look forward to future friendship and courses with Bill and WoodenBoat School.”
P.C., Columbus, Ohio
Bill Thomas was outstanding. His people/teaching skills are as good as his woodworking/boatbuilding skills.”
T.M., Middlesex, Vermont