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 made a living as a woodworker for years, so I've got a reasonable set of tools, but my shop doesn't have a dust collection system, so the first step was to build a dolly, so I could move the project outdoors when I was doing yucky stuff

I made a simple jig to cut the limber holes...and another to taper the frame sides

I really like the dolly setup.

I had built kayaks back in the 70s using polyester resins, but I didn't have much experience with epoxies. So for my first frame assemblies I mixed a batch of straight epoxy and one thickened with cabosil. I mixed 3 oz batches, and when they kicked I still had quite a bit left in the pot. It didn't seem like the yellow cedar absorbed enough epoxy to create a starved joint, so I made a test joint without the cabosil that worked fine - that's how I'll proceed. 

I didn't buy epoxy pumps, and I'm having a tough time measuring out small quantities of resin and hardener - any tips?

Put the epoxy and hardener in squeeze bottles,this gives you good control of amounts.A gram scale is the best way to mix/measure.If the epoxy is 2:1,you can use small plastic cups like 2oz shooter ones.

Don't mix big batches and let them sit in the cup,dump them out after stirring.

Remember to wet both sides of the joint first, no pooling of epoxy,let dry, scuff sand, then mix with thickeners  and try not to apply too much pressure to the joint,this squeezes out all the glue.

Also when mixing by weight the ratios are different,most 2:1 epoxies by weight will mix around 40-45 grams of hardener to 100 grams of epoxy.3:1 will be around the 30/100.Check with the manufacture what yours is.

Tungsten - great suggestion, I'm headed off to the store!

After the frames were assembled, I borrowed a tip from Kurt Selisch and made a jig to guide the chine log cuts. After reading his comment about frames 1 and 9, I slotted the attachment for the ears and undercut the base plate a bit - that allowed me to use it for the more extreme bevels

Once the cuts were made I started on the Daly's Seafin teak oil, a suggestion I got from Mike Baker (thanks Mike!). Currently on the fourth coat. Next step, stem and transom. 

Ketchup bottles for epoxy,they have a big opening.If your hardener is runny then a mustard bottle works well.

OK, now it's time to scarf some plywood. I've been scratching my head about how to make the cuts for a while now - I was skeptical about using a saw, but when I asked around, three folks who build professionally all use that method, so I bought a West System scarfing jig. The only saw I have (outside of my 18v one) is a worm drive, so I went online and found a Ryobi for a ridiculously low price - my first mistake. The West system instructions have you mounting a steel jig pretty close to the blade - I didn't like that, so I added a plywood fence

I tried a cut, and it was miserable - fiddling with the saw and jig didn't help - the saw base was too flimsy, the shaft bearings had a bunch of runout...

So I went back to the router. Guy Fredrickson had a great setup that I copied. First I set the jig up at one end of a square, flat workbench. I laid down a 1/4" piece of melamine as a sacrificial under layer, and butted it tightly to the jigthe underlayment was square, and this allowed me to align the long edge of the Hydrotek to the underlayment to achieve a square scarf cut. Next, I established lines 3" from the edge of two sheets of plywood, and stacked them in the jig.

I set the router depth so it would cut just shy of the depth needed, so I could finish up with a belt sander. As expected, the cuts needed a bit of a tuneup. time for the belt sander...

I left the sacrificial under layer in place, and ran a strip of blue tape across its short edge

Then I placed the Hydrotek exactly on top of the underlayment. The blue tape and the line I had drawn 3" from the short edge in the last step provided  a visual reference that allowed me to check the progress as I sanded.

I've never considered using the belt sander for exacting work, but it was simpler than I had imagined to get a clean job, ready for epoxy.

David, you do some nice work. I'm sure that your post will be helpful to others in the future!

Rick N


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