We have been building canoes since 1993.. Still at it in 2024!

"If you look for a happy person, you will find them building a boat," said Beran Wolfe. He was right. Kenneth Grahame has Ratty declaring, " There is nothing, absolutely nothing, quite so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."  Come and join us! 

Prepare to amaze yourself, and your friends, with the beautiful canoe you will build here.. and Yes! You do take your canoe home with you when you leave.

a serious workout

There are a few tasks which take muscle power, but we will be happy to give you as much help as you feel you want.

Plenty of space

Relax in the spacious grounds (more than 2 acres). We sometimes take the canoes outside to work on if the weather is suitable.

Plenty of opportunities for families, friends and partners to work together on their canoe. You will be guided through every stage
Big Brother 

Children are permitted in the workshop if you supervise them. They will remember helping to build their canoe for many years. We are happy for children to join their parents in various stages of the process, and there are plenty of outdoor activities for them when they are not in the workshop

YOur canoe will be a joy to paddle

Our standard Lakota is by far our most popular canoe. This can be paddled solo, or will take the family quite happily. We do offer other designs, but we are happiest with the Lakota, and we are sure you will be too. 


Your canoe can be carried on your shoulders, and transported home on any car.  You don't even need roof bars or a roof rack, we now sell foam blocks and straps which allow you to attach a canoe safely to any car roof.

Get hands on

The final coat of resin

The canoes are built using beautiful okoume marineply, and applying the resin really brings out the grain.


Typically we will get to this stage after about 24 hours of work or less. The work progresses at your own pace, and you are encouraged to tell us when you want a break, work faster or work slower.

Between the lockdowns

We will either wear masks, or keep the workshop doors open, during the current Pandemic


If you live locally you can travel daily, but many canoe building guests stay in one of our home made cabins, or in the Yurt.

The river cabin

Some of our canoe building guests opt to stay in our River Cabin. It is also popular with our Airbnb guests. There is currently a special offer for canoe builders booking the River Cabin for a week for just £200

The moment of truth! Will it float? 

Launch is always an exciting photo opportunity, and a proud moment for us all. You can just see the River Cabin in the background.

Stanley Smallcraft

The Peasemarsh canoes

 14Last year we had a kind visit by Paul Stanley, the canoe designer behind the lovely Stanley Smallcraft canoes. I had already bought a couple of his designs ( which come as full sized  paper templates). We were amazed how convergent design processes have resulted in canoes which bear significant resemblence to our own Lakota design. Paul very graciously offered to allow guests at Birchcanoes to build his designs at no extra cost, and last May ( 2023) we built our very first Peasemarsh 14 canoe. In early September 2023 we built a second Peasemarsh 14 with a moderated sheerline, which I and our clients were delighted with.She is  beautifully stable and a joy to paddle. Feel free to peruse Paul's website to get inspiration, whether you want to build a canoe at home, or indeed with us.  https://www.stanleysmallcraft.co/    

We are now offering the Peasemarsh 14 ( or our version of Paul's design) at the same price as the standard Lakota. The following benefits seem to be evident:
1) 22kg instead of 28kg
2) Significantly more stable, owing to a wider base
3) A 14 foot canoe is more readily stored in a domestic garage
4) Strikingly similar to the Lakota, owing to convergent evolution, but in my view even prettier
5) Just as easy to paddle, carry, transport and store as the Lakota, just maybe a bit easier

Currently taking bookings for  Summer and Autumn 2023.  

Email me on jclohesy@gmail.com to discuss availability, prices etc