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Two Solo Cedar Strip Canoes in the Studio

The Ashes Solo Pack – Plans

Easy on the eyes and back.

 13 feet x 28 inches – 25 pounds


A modern version of a historical pack canoe, once used to navigate the tangled swamps and waterways of Central Canada and the North Eastern States. Suitable for single or double paddle. Recurved tumble-home or hard-chine options.


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– What You Get –

– Is This the Right Boat for You –

– What Will Your Boat Weigh? –



Our Solo Pack is designed for those desiring a light, agile canoe that tracks well and can over some miles when needed. Her recurved tumblehome and low mid-ships height ensure that a paddler can stay centred in the canoe while maintaining a classic “C” stroke; and her modest rocker means that her ends will release when entering an eddy line. That said, she is best used in protected lakes and estuaries, slow moving creeks, canals and rivers. And her 13 foot length and low weight means she can be easily carried through difficult portages and stored in tight spaces.

Design and Building Choices

Plans for the Ashes Solo Pack come with the option to build either a hard-chined version or with recurved tumblehome. The hard-chine increases secondary stability at the cost of somewhat more difficult construction. The recurved tumblehome emphasizes Ashes’ elegant mid-ships shape. Regardless of which option a builder chooses, nothing changes below the maximum load line. The lines are also drawn for either stemless, or laminated stem construction.

Single or Double Paddle

Pack canoes like the Ashes Solo Pack are frequently propelled using a double paddle. At Ashes we’re traditionalists and favour a single blade. However, paddlers otherwise inclined and who choose a double paddle will benefit from a speedier arrival at their destination at the cost of a slightly damp lap. The lowered seat position for the double paddle also results in greater stability, an attractive feature for those building the canoe for novice or inexperienced paddlers. The plans come with appropriate measurements for either option.

Portages Made Easy

A Pack Canoe’s greatest asset is its portability. It’s possible to build the Ashes Solo Pack under 25 pounds. To achieve this a builder will need to start with 3/16′ strips and use 4oz cloth, while minimizing the use of mechanical fasteners and exercising a light hand whilst applying epoxy. The plans come with building notes that will point weight misers in the right direction.

A Long History

The Ashes Solo Pack is part of a long line of canoes, the first of which were built 130 years in order to explore remote lakes in the Adirondacks. Builders wishing to explore her lineage may find the following articles interesting.

Why Choose Plans for the Ashes Solo Pack

The Solo Pack is perfectly suited to exploring wetlands and marshes; she’s easy to carry through tangled brush and down rocky inclines. And with her shallow draft, she pushes through tangled reeds, over beaver dams, and across shallow flood plains more easily than her larger cousins. She is also light enough for extended carries, and will appeal to those in mountain regions where a long approach to the putt-in is the norm.

This is the design we recommend for those who carry their canoe through tight and long approaches, and for those who require a boat to explore shallow marshes, wetlands and estuaries.


  • Length Over All
13’0″ 3.96 m
  • Length on the Waterline
12’8″ 3.86 m
  • Beam Over All
28″ 71 cm
  • Beam on the Waterline
26.5″ 67 cm
  • Beam at the Gunnels
25″ 63.5 cm
  • Rocker – Aft
2″ 5 cm
  • Rocker – Fore
2.5″ 6.35 cm
  • Height – Stern
15″ 38 cm
  • Height – Midships
11″ 28 cm
  • Height – Bow
17″ 43 cm
  • Displacement at 2.5″
115 lbs 52 kg
  • Displacement at 3.0″
150 lbs  68 kg
  • Displacement at 3.5″
190 lbs  86 kg
  • Displacement at 4.0″
230 lbs  104 kg
  • Maximum Load (at 5″)
310 lbs 140 kg
Surface Areas
  • Total Surface Area
40 sq ft 3.71 sq m
  • Total Wetted Surface
18.5 sq ft 1.71 sq m
  • Lateral Wind Surface Area
14.5 sq ft 1.35 sq m
  • Meta-Centric Height
1′ 6″ 46 cm
  • Prismatic Coefficient
  • Block Coefficient



Click Drawings to Expand …



Useful Information

 Before You Get Started

Plans from Ashes come complete with all the details necessary to build a canoe but they do not include building instructions. If you are novice builder you will save many hours and benefit immeasurably from an purchasing either of the following:


Start with 1/4 inch thick cedar strips. 3/4 of an inch is as good a width as any and full length clear stock will make stripping your canoe a whole lot easier. Her gunnels are either a hardwood, or if a builder wishes to reduce weight, laminated softwood strips (two outer and three inner) with an outer hardwood rail shaped to please the builder’s eye. Best results will be obtained if the builder can curtail the urge to use fancy marquetry, or exotic woods. A materials list is included with you plans, as are scaled drawings of the strong-back.

Strong Back Diagram for Cedar Strip Canoe Building


Unless marked otherwise stations are laid out with the centre station placed in the middle of strongback, and each one thereafter is spaced at 12 inches on centre from the previous. At Ashes we cut our stations from 3/4 MDF. The bow and stern stations are trimmed for stemless construction, an easy and elegant construction method that contributes to her minimalist lines. Plans also have the outer stem profiles marked for those wishing to use hardwood stems.

The Tumblehome

Ashe’s tumblehome will cause some pause for thought for first time builders, however with a little patience she will go together with minimal fuss. Novice builders choosing to build the hard-chined versions included with some of our plans would be well advised to apply equal parts patience and good humour.

Building Light

A careful builder may wish to reduce the weight of their canoe by starting with 3/16 inch cedar strips. Keep in mind that you’ll have less material to start with and if not careful when fairing it’s easy to sand too far! Builders who hope to keep her light will also laminate the gunnels directly to the hull and use mechanical fasteners only in the ends and at the thwart. Likewise, seats will be attached to cleats glued and glassed to the inside of the hull, thus reducing the need for hangers and associated hardware.


The industry standard calls for 6 oz cloth. Builders wishing to match our advertised weights will start with 4 oz glass inside and out with a reinforcing layer laid inside and out in her middle third (on the bias). Likewise, her ends are reinforced both inside and out with two extra layers of 4 oz glass, 6 inches wide and also laid on the bias.



Digital Plans $75 | Printed Plans $95

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The Ashes Solo Pack

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Choosing Which Boat to Build | Why Choose a Design from Ashes | What Your Plans Include