Hello Everyone,


My name is Guy and this is my first post in this forum.  I am here because I want to build a wooden drift boat and, undoubtedly, I will occasionally need advice of the pool of experts and experienced drift boat builders on this forum.


In preparation for this project I have read and studied three books: Drift Boats and River Dories by R. L. Fletcher, Boatbuilding with Plywood by G. L. Witt, and Covering Wooden Boats with Fiberglass by A. H. Vaitses.  I have also developed my own set of construction plans based off of the "Original McKenzie Double-Ender with Transom" in Fletcher's book.  I used and MS Excel spreadsheet to calculate all of the dimensions, cut angles, compound angles, and bevel angles of all frame components and I used Pilot3D software to calculate the as-cut dimensions of the plywood sides and bottom.  At this point I am pretty comfortable with the mechanics of construction and I think that I am just about ready to start purchasing lumber.


Presently, I plan to use Meranti Hydro-Tek plywood; 1/4-in. on the sides and 1/2-in. on the bottom.  I found plenty of places to purchase these materials, but they are all far away from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and as a result shipping costs more than the materials.  Are any of you aware of a business within a few hundred miles of Idaho Falls that sells this plywood?  I have a few requests in to the local lumber companies, but I have yet to talk with someone who has heard of this material before.


I also plan to use Port Orford Cedar (CVG) for the straight frame sections and White Oak (quater sawn) for the bent frame sections (chine logs and sheer rails).


Thank you, Guy

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That should provide a very reliable and powerful ride! Good luck with your project.


Very cool project you got there, good luck

Thanks Rick and Mike!

I seal coated and painted the undersides of the foredeck and aftdeck planks. I did the same with 111 pieces of frames. At this point I’ve pretty much done everything I can with all the pieces I removed from the hull. Everything is cleaned, repaired, sealed, and painted. And if not painted, it’s ready for stain and varnish. 

It’s now time to focus my attention on the hull. I’m cleaning and scraping the bilge. When that’s done I’ll power wash the inside. Then it will be time to flip the hull and strip the bottom. 

I’ve been focusing my efforts on cleaning the inside of the hull in preparation for flipping the hull. Lots of scraping and brushing. The weather was nice enough yesterday that I took it outside and power washed it. Today I sanded the stringers. Tonight I’ll start “porcupine’ing” the screw holes... filling with toothpicks and glue  

About 800 toothpicks and some epoxy filler. 

Lots of dedicated work! Keep it up!

Rick N

One of the frames had two cracks; one on each side symmetrical to the center. I made these five pieces to sister onto both sides to strengthen the frame. 

I fitted a new shaft seal to the hull. This is new technology. The seal is between graphite and stainless steel. It replaces the old stuffing box. The new seal is larger so I had to modify the frame. 

It looks like interesting technology. Guy, are you familiar with www.woodenboatforum.com? As I got involved with drift boats I also started following that site and have learned a considerable amount of knowledge I will probably never need, however, I love to learn new things so I follow many posts on there. A few discussions on stuffing boxes and such. Your system is by far the most advanced I have seen.

Rick N

Hi Rick.

This seal is virtually maintenance free. However, you have to supply water from the engine’s cooling system. This boat has a pump to take raw water from the lake. The water goes through a filter, the pump, the exhaust manifolds, the engine block, back into the exhaust manifolds, then out the back with the exhaust. 

Without the water supply, the seal will overheat at higher speeds.


Good looking system!

Rick N



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