My first glimpse of a drift boat was on the Cal Salmon as a kayaker in the late 70s - i was intrigued by the way the boat rode through the wave trains and could handle the water. I got a better look a bit later on a couple of Rogue trips, watching them through Blossom Bar... I thought I'd like to try that. The idea of building one was cemented a few years ago after a visit to Andy Hutchinson's shop and seeing his build of a decked boat in sapele - what a beautiful boat. So as a start, I got Roger's book and built a model, getting an idea of how things went together and where the challenges might be. This spring, I traveled to Flagstaff to attend Brad Dimock's class, where I met an incredible variety of skilled folks, all interested in building - not to mention a shop to die for. Then it was off to Oregon and the wooden boat festival. I stopped in Bend, where I picked up a trailer and a bunch of great information from Mike Baker - now I had a trailer, and needed a boat. Materials were a bit of a challenge - I originally wanted Port Orford Cedar for the frames - in Bend, there's a reliable supply from Orepac, but in Victor, where I live, no such luck. I ended up with Alaskan Yellow Cedar for about $7/bf. Hydrotek was next on the list. McBeath lists it on their web page, but there was a 2 month wait, so I ended up getting mine from Edensaw. Following Brad's lead, I'm using epoxy from Resin Research. Now for the fun stuff...

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I used 3/8 ply with good support on the sides and a support pc across the back of the knee brace. That small of a deck is plenty strong. The deck on my cabin cruiser was 1/4"ply and it held up to 40 years of walking on it, and there was no epoxy. it had 1x2 supports under it on 12"centers

Ive been trying to think back, its been alot of years, the more I think about it, I had a runabout that was 1/4" deck, that cruiser was 3/8". I restored both those boats and replaced the decks on both.

Your boat is heavy duty, 1/2" maybe?,lol....waiting for your update :)

The pace of the project has slowed down - not only is the skiing good these days, but I'm at the point where there are more decisions to be made - seats, fly line deck, floorboards can have a lot of variety in design and execution. I started up front - I didn't want visible fasteners for the fly line deck - that made alignment tougher 'cause the epoxy makes the parts want to slide around

but after a bit of fiddling around, I got cleats in place. Next step was to spile the deck

I took the advice I got here to heart, and beefed up the underside of the deck with a coat of glass

and a couple of battens

and got most of the work done on the rower's seat

Then started work on the guest seat. This one had me scratching my head - Roger's book doesn't show a sliding seat on this boat, instead refers you to his Bridges boat for details. But the dimensions he shows for a fixed seat puts the seat quite high in the boat - at the same time, he advises that the guest's seat should be lower, to allow the rower better visibility. I got some (more) advise from Mike Baker, and ended up with a height just a bit lower than that of the rower. For some reason, the support layout had me thinking too hard until I ran a string line down the center of the boat

Now that the supports are mocked up, I'll work on the design of the seat. I liked Brad Dimock's idea of a storage box under the seat, so I'll see if I can get that to work. 

Hey David, I just glassed the underside of my deck this morning and had a question, do you flow coat the glass before gluing and filleting the battens on?

Provided the layer of glass you applied is recent enough for a chemical bond, I'd just bed the battens in thickened epoxy then use the remainder for the fillets. 

OK - after a trip to the desert where it's warm

and the flowers are blooming

it was back to winter and a visit from good friends for a few days of skiing. Oops - I should be building a boat - ice is out on the Teton River! So I got back to it. The guest seat has a storage box and allows reclining across the seat

The rowers seat needs to have the webbing snugged up - for those of you that choose webbing, a word to the wise - BEFORE you assemble the seat, counterbore a recess for the nut and washer holding either end of the webbing.

Seems like I'm getting close now. Several more coats of Daly's on the interior parts, install oarlocks and make the covers for the seat boxes and that should just about wrap it up. I'm headed to Brad Dimock's lapstrake class in Flagstaff on the 16th to finish the Swampscott dory we started last year - by the time I get back, the boat ramps around here should be melted out and it will be time for sea trials - I hope she floats...

Very nice David, been waiting for a update. That must have been hard to take being in warmth with a t shirt on ;) I`m looking out the window at snow and ice. Boat is looking good. Its been seeming like its getting close for me for the longest time!! I`m starting to wonder. Do these ever really get done? Ive seen pictures so it must happen somehow. I dont think you have to worry about it floating.


Just make sure you tighten the little brass thingy in the rear of the boat and she'll float just fine. Your boat is really looking fine!  Nice workmanship throughout.  Enjoy it!


Over the last few days, my wife has noticed how the smell of the Daly's teak oil I've been slopping around has permeated my clothing and begun to intrude on the part of the workshop she calls our house. I figure floorboards are going to take a lot of abuse, might as well get them saturated. 

In a futile effort to keep up with Mike Thomas's superb detailing, I decided to add a bit of walnut to the hatch covers - he's a tough act to follow. 

After looking at a few pictures of Greg Hatten's Obsession, I realized I had made a poor choice of wood types for my knee locks - the meranti/walnut combination looks a bit dull, but that will have to wait for the first remodel. Oh well, back to the shop for another coat of Daly's...

Awwww, thanks but I wish now I would have built the boat you did. I just wanted something small and simple to build, and though it is small I might have got a little carried away, I dont do simple well. I made poor choices on alot of stuff like frame angles and layout, lumber sizes, rail design and some of the woods. It has been a good learning experience but if I ever build another one it will be just like yours ;) 

(I need a table saw)

Well, I'd never have the balls to start a build without plans - I've seen guys like you do that and come out with beautiful boats, but I just don't have that much confidence - maybe after a couple more tries. 

That is one nice boat you are building. Great detail and craftsmanship, yet not over the top! It is cool to see you are incorporating different boat builders techniques / designs into your build, this is the ultimate way to improve a design. You could call it the "Rayger Bradbaker" model!
Cheers, Robb


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