Hello to all.  My name is Ted and I just recently joined the Forum. I've spent numerous hours reading Forum posts to gain as much knowledge as possible about building a drift boat before I take on the project myself.

I ordered a set of Don Hill plans last week and they'll be sitting in my mailbox in the next couple of days. I like most first time builders, have lots of questions and I'm hoping I can lean on some of you to help answer some I'll surly have. I'll do my best to keep them to a minimum!

I'm going to build the 16 Standard boat. I have woodworking experience, and a shop with most all of the wood working equipment I'll need to take on the project. I also have sources for all the materials I need.

I've already decided on Hydrotec 1/4 and 1/2 marine plywood for the skins and West System for Epoxy.  My choices of hardwoods is my first issue.  I have a source for Ash, White Oak, and Douglas Fir. Since D Fir is so nice to work with I'd like to use it in the frames, and if possible elsewhere.  But I'm thinking the hardness of Ash or W Oak might wear better and therefore a better choice in some places?  I love wood but it's not esthetics, it's what works the best.  Any Suggestions?

I'm NOT a great photographer nor writer but I'll try to post some pictures and thoughts of the build. I hope I can contribute and look forward to communicating with all. 




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Time to take on scarfing plywood. Never done it before so I spent some time analyzing the job.

I looked at a number of ideas and jigs to accomplish the task. After reading a number of post I felt the major issues with poor scarfs was varying heights across the width of the plywood and/or movement in the jig cutter during machining. I felt this was directly relate to the fixture flexing and the plywood not being square to the router guides.
So first, I built a very flat, sturdy platform to support the plywood. I made sure the height of the router supports (pipe) and lower guide was parallel across the width of the fixture. I also made sure the router sled was flat and didn't flex.

Next, after loading a sheet of plywood into the fixture I noticed the plywood (especially the 1/4”) wouldn’t lay flat everywhere on the platform. Sliding wedges under the pipe (as others have) helped, but it pushed the pipe up which I knew was going cause problems.

To keep the plywood from flexing during machining I used 2” double backed tape to basically glue the front edge of plywood down completely flat on the platform.
I used 1/2” key stock as a spacer to make sure the plywood was square to the fixture and to give me room to lift up the front edge of the plywood to pull off the cover of the double back tape. I used a laminate roller to press the plywood tight to the double backed tape.

I used a shallow 3/4” mortise bit with a 1/2” shaft to keep the bit from flexing. I made a trial cut and made a few minor adjustments. I was more than pleased with my second attempt.  Repeatability was great and no sanding was going to be necessary. I think the parts will marry each other nicely.

The only issue that needed addressing was getting the plywood unstuck from fixture. I used a heat gun to heat the plywood and soften the tape to pop the plywood off the fixture. Each scarf was done in three passes.

I'm new at posting thing on a forum and think I might have posted some updates in the  in the wrong place?  I'll try here and see if how it goes.

I finished cutting the scarfs on all the plywood and was happy with the outcome. While everything is set up to handle long material I'll get the plywood scarfs epoxied together and get the fiberglass cloth on the inside surfaces. I need to laminate 2 pieces of 1/2" plywood together to make the transom. I'll do that while I'm using epoxy.

I'm getting better with cutting tapers and angles so the transom went together without isues. I'll coat it with resin when I do the plywood joining.

Again glued and screwed together with 5200 adhesive. Now onto the plywood.

Assembling the plywood:

I used the platform I made to support the plywood during the scarfing operation as the base to glue the scarfed sheets together. I see a lot of guys assembling on the floor. I like working up on a table. It's easier  and it'll be much warmer than the concert floor for curing the resin. I’m using West System Epoxy to wet out the then mixing 403 filler to fill the joint bonding step. I laid a 4” wide board across the joint and added two 25 pound tool boxes on top to hold everything in place.

Table setup for joining plywood: Not much room.

Sheets ready for Epoxy and 403 filler:

Joints after removing toolboxes:Joint after sanding squeeze out:

Notice all the squeeze out was on one side of the joint. This indicated that I either positioned the sheets wrong before adding the weight to hold them together or they slid after adding the weight? I checked the T alignment marks I made on both sides and they indicated they slid.

The next joint I made I placed a staple in each end to keep the sheets from sliding.  This picture shows the joint after the resin was cured. I pulled out the staples and lightly sanded to get a nice smooth joint.

I got the staple idea and many others from posts I found on the forum. Thanks to all for the help!

Now onto getting fiberglass cloth on the inside surface of the sides and bottom. Then I'll assemble the sides to the frames and transom. 


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