I just found this Forum the past week and was pleased to see all the interesting discussions. I have previously (2006) built and launched a 16 ft. Peterborough Stripper from Tom Moore's original Canoecraft. The Bear Mountain Boats Forum was a wealth of information, as I had not built anything from wood that was expected to float, in water. The stripper was a lot of fun to build.

About a year later I discovered/purchased Roger Fletcher's book and decided to make a go of it and build a drift boat. Last April I laid out all the framing on poster board full scale. I am a retired Mfg. Engineer with 41 yrs in the Machine tool and Automotive Industry with lots of hrs. Hanging over a drafting table. After making the decision to build I spent many hours deciding materials, features etc.

I have 210 BF of White Ash from a couple of trees infected with the Emerald Ash Bore (big issue in Mid-Mich). So the framing is Ash (3/4" x 3.00"). I finished the last one in December. I just need to coat them with epoxy (been waiting for 60 degree temps). The frames are constructed using Half-lap joints. I discussed this in 2011 with Jim Watson of Gougeon Brothers and he offered their services in testing the joint strength (they have a MTS Tensile Test Machine w/ 100K Load Cell). I just received the results and test pieces a couple of weeks ago and will post them soon in this discussion. (I need to figure out how to post pictures here.)

The Stem blank is solid Ash. I just finished the transom a couple of weeks ago. It was made from African mahogany. The sides are going to be 1/4 x 7/8" WRC w/bead & cove. I have a couple of planks left over from the canoe. The sides will be encapsulated in 6 oz. glass and West System 105-207 Epoxy prior to being fastened to the frame. The bottom of the boat will be "cold molded" ash at 1/4 x 2 1/4" in two layers one oriented Fore Aft and the other 90 degrees to the first. Planning to add graphite to epoxy on the bottom.

Next work is to build a strong back and begin assembling the framing. Am looking foreword to your comments and assistance.

Thanks for being here.

phil w. (Dorf)



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Another issue popped it's head up after I had mounted the two Chine Logs.  I pushed the Strongback outside and looked it over in the sunlight ( we get some occasionally here) and looked the framing over from 10', 20' and further away.  I noticed a tweak in both ends of the framing.  Afer close inspection, the first two or three frames had moved upward in the clamps on one side or the other.  I used a mallot and re- seated then up against the stops and tightened the screws/nuts tight!   After checking a couple of the frames that had moved to the strongback's wire and checling "level",  ALL WAS GOOD! 

They returned to where they should be.  I was pleased to see they held.  I had done a lot of pushing and pulling on the first two sets of logs and they must have moved, I guess.

More to come,

phil w.

Today, another good day.  I managed to Epoxy the two 1/2 Chine Logs to the framing.  Going Fishing tonight and tomorrow,  working Friday and Saturday and that should be enough time to cure so I can remove the screws and replace them with dowels.  I made a bunch if 1/4" dia. x 1 1/2" Lg. Ash dowels and am ready to give it a try next time I get time to work on the boat.

More to come.

phil w.

Phil, are you going to leave the dowels cylinderical in shape? Have you considered tapering them slightly, perhaps cutting out a wedge shape that could be filed with some of your black locust in a matching wedge shape causing the trunnel to expand and keep them in place.

Rick N


Haven't gotten that far yet, but you got me thinking.  I was hoping to make them tapered but my tapered reamer is too big and haven't found one adequate for the job yet, so I kinda put the thinking part on hold till next week.  I think the splitting of the dowel an inserting a wedge has merit.  I think I'll try splitting a few tomorrow, after I get back from Fishing. 

The Walleye are "HOT" right now in Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay.  Picked up 14 Keepers Wed & Thur. with a friend.  Limit's five per day.  I have a golf outing in two weeks and I committed to supplying the fish for one day's evening meal for a bunch of "Hogs".  A man has to have his priority, doesn't he?

Thanks for the Idea Rick.  Will let you know how it goes.

phil w



Phil, I am envious of your fishing luck.! Glad to hear someone has some. And the time to go! I will be interested in seeing some pictures as you try out this idea. I don't know if the hole has to be very tapered or not.

Good luck with the fishing and the building.

Rick Newman

Just a couple of Saginaw Bay Eye's, Damn good eatin!


Hope all's well with you and yours.  I have been watching a series of YouTube videos, "Sampson Boat Co".  A sailor and boat builder (Leo) is restoring a 1910 Gaff sailing yacht.  Somewhere in your back yard.  Check him out. 

He recently posted the use of trunnels to secure the ship frames component pieces creating the individual frames.  The frames are Live Oak from south Georgia and the Trunnels are Black Locust.

It's the best and simple use of them I've seen to date.

Take Care,


PS: A pic from my recent trip to Katmai National Park in Alaska


 Your idea to use the split dowels was a good solution allowing me to eliminate the screws from the boat.  Today I removed all the screws (No. 8 x 1 ¼” Lg. Nickel Plated Steel) and replaced them with trunnels (dowels).   The screw holes were opened up to ¼” diameter and then the hole in the Chine Log was opened up with a tapered drill I found at Harbor Freight, just this morning.  Having split the handmade dowels and I made a small wedge from another, it worked fine to fill up the tapered hole.

I wet the hole; dowel and wedge with freshly mixed epoxy and thickened the rest with cabolsil.  It was a bit messy assembling it but worked just fine.

Initially had a problem removing screws from joints.  A wood burner nor a soldering iron didn’t put out enough heat to the screw to break the bond with the epoxy.  I used a #2 Phillips screwdriver and with it in contact with the screw head heated the shaft with a propane torch.  About the time the wood began to show signs of scorching from the radiant heat of the screwdriver, it was enough to let the screw be removed with out any problems.

Tomorrow I'll start to fit the other half of the Chine Log which can just be clamped to the first.  Don't anticipate the need for any screws, just more epoxy.

More to come.

phil w.

Phil, that's wonderful news. Now you can accomplish the "screw" free construction. Trunnels have quite a long history so you now have an interesting mix of new and old technology! I'm glad it's working. Now I can't wait to see how you solve the series of situations, how to do the bead and cove, fiberglass it and fasten it to the frame. That will be the challenge!

By the way the fish look good, hope your group enjoys them.




The plan for the sides with bead and cove WRC is simple (from my point of view).  I’ll cover the framing with thin plastic (painters cloth), clamp a vertical board (something soft) to the edge of the transom flush with the side edge of the transom, and do the same for the stem.  The stem board will actually be attached to the strongback support for the stem, eliminating screws into the stem. 

The first Strip will be clamped to the frames and stapled into the clamped boards.  The additional strips will be held into position to each other with rubber bands and ratchet straps to hold them to the framing.  My hope is to add an accent stripe to the sides about six inches below the Outwale.  It'll be a 3/4" wide African Mahogany strip with a ¼”  Aspen (white) strip on either side.

Upon the completion of the stripping of the side.  I’ll remove it and glass both sides with 6 oz. Cloth.  Attaching it to the framing is still up in the air.   Maybe 3M 5200?? or thickened epoxy.  Either way it’s going to be a two-three man job.  The jury’s still out on that one.  There’s some pics of the stripping technique as I described above. 


The pretty colored things are rubber bands.  You can see the accent stripe in a couple of them.

The bottom of the boat is another whole deal, to be delt with later.

Thanks for your interest and that of others and all of your/their comments, it keeps the blood flowing above the neck.

phil w.

Today I was able to fabricate the two second half Chine Logs.  I planed them to .350” thickness which will leave them about .016-.020” or about a smidge over 1/64” so they are a little proud and I will have a little material to fair them to the frames.  The Starboard side went on easy.  It took about 20+ clamps to get them flush on the underside so I don’t have to do any removal of wood on the inside of the boat.  There’s a couple of places where I’ll have to remove some wood on the top side to make them flush the whole length of the boat.  It sure does feel good knowing I’ve gotten past this hurdle.  It's been a long time coming.

 After I get the Port side done the next thing is to make the Inwales and fit them to the frames.  If they bend without the problems I had on the Chine Logs it should be easier.  If not I can always steam them at the Bow End where the bends are most severe.  I will just need to clamp them in position without screws, maybe trunnels for looks???  No Carriage bolts/Nuts!

More to come,

phil w.

Phil, glad to hear it's going well! I love to read the next parts of you adventure and how you plan to attack the next section. I enjoy the sharing of information and ideas.

Rick Newman


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