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Wood/canvas canoes were the standard working and recreational canoes for decades.  They continue to be preferred by knowledgable outdoor enthusiasts.  Wood/canvas canoes have proven to be comfortable, durable, reliable, and versatile.


Many paddlers are familiar only with the manufactured plastic composite and metal canoes and are unfamiliar with  hand crafted wood/canvas canoes.  The quiet of the wood/canvas canoe is unrivalled for enjoying the environment and observing wildlife.  The wood interior and traditionally caned seats are comfortable, especially in inclement conditions or prolonged time on the water.  The flexible, living wood “works” with currents and waves and like the tree will sway and spring back rather than fighting the elements.  The canvas finish incorporates silica to make it extremely slippery and tough.  People often are surprised at how the wood will flex while the surface will slide off an object rather than catching as do plastic and metal canoes.


Tom Evans regularly builds 16′ and 17′ double-ended canoes designed from decades of paddling experience on lakes and rivers.  They have a sharp entry and exit for ease of paddling and good tracking.  They have a moderate rocker so that they  are easily maneuverable.  Volume amidships will accommodate a generous load.  The fullness of the ends gives good floatation so that they ride over waves rather than  penciling into them.


All finishes are oil based, easily maintained, and will withstand years of use.  The canoes are built so that they don’t gain weight on prolonged exposure to moisture.

Tom in his workshop

Materials in Evans canoes are:

  •  Carefully selected white cedar ribs and planks

  •  Straight grained white oak stems

  •  Durable white ash gunwales, thwarts, decks and seats

  •  Solid brass and bronze fasteners and fittings

  •  Seats hand caned in traditional seat caning patterns

  •  Canvas made from long cotton fibres, tightly spun, and tightly woven

  •  Oil based wood treatments and canvas finishes


Traditional methods are used to handcraft Evans canoes. Building a canoe takes a minimum of 100 hours of hands-on work and a minimum of six weeks time depending upon the weather and how long the various drying and curing steps require. The steps are:


  •  A rigid form, which is a mirror image of the interior of the canoe, is fitted with the inwale (inside portion of the gunwale) and the stems.

  •  Tapered and rounded ribs are steam bent over the form and fastened to the inwale with ring nails.

  •  Time is required for the ribs to dry and stabilize.

  •  Most of  the planks are fastened to the ribs and stems.

  •  The canoe body is lifted off the form.  Decks are installed and the ends of the canoe are completed.

  •  Wood preservatives and water repellents are used to treat the canoe body.

  •  Canvas is stretched to fit and carefully attached.

  •  Filler is rubbed into the weave of the canvas to make a smooth surface.

  •  Time is required for the surface to cure and stabilize.

  •  Marine enamel is applied with sanding between coats.

  •  The outwale is attached to complete the gunwale.

  •  Seat frames are completed by hand weaving the seat of cane.

  •  Thwarts and seats are installed.

  •  Exposed wood is treated with oil/varnish mixture  for durability and ease of upkeep.