Building my first Drift Boat - 16' Double-Ender with Transom

Hello folks,

I stepped foot in a McKenzie style drift boat for the first time nearly ten years ago, and have been wanting to own one ever since. I have decided (finally) to start building my first drift boat; the Original McKenzie Double Ender with Transom. 

I purchased Rogers book, as well as the plans from 'The Rivers Touch' and I have been taking small steps towards starting the project for over a year now: building a shop space, purchasing tools, researching, cold calling strangers for advice, gathering materials etc. 

I started last week, and have learned a few important things already:

  1. Scarf joints are not as scary as they look (I wish I hadn't have waited so long).
  2. Being a complete beginner at something is rough - somehow I forgot that.
  3. This website and the contributions made by all of you is invaluable. I contemplated not posting but then realized that it would be selfish not to give back.

I am open to as much advice, suggestions, criticisms, stories and photos as possible!

My goal is to have this boat on the water by the Winter of 2021 (changed from 2017 haha)

So, here goes. I hope you enjoy watching me work through my first technical wood project ever ;). Maybe this can help a newcomer like me down the road.

Thanks All, 


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a few boat Details:

Wood I have settled on: (mostly because there is little for options in rural East Kootenay BC)

  • Side Panels - Marine grade fir  - 1/4" 
  • Bottom - Marine grade fir - 1/2"
  • Frames  - clear fir 3/4

Fit/Finish I have settled on: (mostly because I selected relatively poor plywood, which I didnt realize at the time)

  • 6 Oz glass inside and out side panels
  • Silvertip epoxy for glassing and T88 for glue-ups (thanks Mike B)
  • 20 oz glass on bottom with graphite
  • Painted sides with the exception of the rub rails will be clear finish (i may change my mind once it's glassed, but the for is already failry checked
  • Varnished interior.

I'll decide the rest later!

I am using Mike Bakers plans as well. the 17x54 may be my next boat. I plan to use the techniques in Mikes' plans with the drawings and details in Fletchers' plans.. they are both awesome documents to have.

My side panels are scarfed and cut. Still some cuts to make and sanding to do on them. Here are a few pics:

Turns out the shop vac hose is a bad thing to have near a scarf... this was one of my many frustrating moments during the scarf process..

Laying out station lines.

Made the cut, and it worked out just fine (this was nerve-racking though). Will clean up the edges once they are clamped together..

 I have my work area for lofting back - and my partners car back in the the warmth (she's happy about that:). I'll start the frames in the next couple weeks.


Best of luck - looks like you have a good start. Don't be shy about asking questions, there's a lot of knowledge and experience on this site. 

Looks great, sometimes the hardest part is getting started. Then once that happens you can't get enough!

thanks Larry/Nicole and David! I agree! It's been fun so far..

Very Nice! The worst part is by the time you get adequate at one of the steps, its time to move on to the next one.  It's a fun process.  How'd you do your scarfs?

Thanks Bennett, yeah that's the truth! 

I used a 12:1 jig that is in Mike Bakers plans. The jig is in the picture below. The clamps worked but I had to baby sit them - need a more suitable clamping method

I used 2 x 3" aluminum angle for my router to extend the base (as in Mike's video), then used a belt sander to finish it off.

I really over sanded on the first scarf as you can see in the pic.. I should have been more aware of the lines, and taken a few practice runs in hindsight. The next three were way better..

Its been really good following your post as well.. I'll true up the panels with a plane the way you did.. looks like that worked well for you.

Scarf Jig 

First attempt - Over sanded scarf in two spots on the first 12 inches

extended router base- worked really well.

Hey Kyle,

One thing, I have gone away from using t-88 on white oak. I had some issues on gunnels so now I use West g-flex. No problems with t-88 anywhere else just the white oak. Most likely some over-clamping was involved as well.

Oh that's right. I may need more epoxy so I'll try the G-Flex next. Thanks Mike.

I really like the work tables ;)

Thanks Mike, I really like them. For my small shop they are perfect. Here is a link to the plans, (basically as shown in the images below). I could have used two more; six would be perfect for supporting the side panels. They stack easily too.


Thought I'd share a basic overview from the plans


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