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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Starboard bottom removed.

At the start of this project I was very naive and I didn’t expect to be were I am now. The bottom planks and plywood are off. After some porcupine’ing I’ll remove the keel and then the frames are easily removed after that. I want to replace the one cracked frame and strengthen the others. 

So far I’ve collected about 2 gallons of wood screws. 

Porcupine’ing the starboard bottom. The chine rails and some of the frames will soon come off. But they are in a good position for porcupine’ing first. I drilled out the old wood screw holes to remove some of the old wood and filled them with toothpicks and waterproof Gorilla Glue. 

I started this project 200 days ago. Today I freed the keel plank. 

Porcupine’ed keel plank. 

I hope you didn't cause a run on tooth picks in your local area!


Hi Rick. I bought a case up front. 19,200 toothpicks. : )

Guy, Curious as to why you are using gorilla glue for toothpicks as opposed to epoxy?
Boats going to be a beauty when your done.

Hi Phil,

The foaming Gorilla Glue is waterproof. And I like the way it expands. For the complete process I do the following for below the waterline. 
1) Remove old wood screws. 
2) Scrape and clean the surface of the wood around the holes. 
3) Drill out the old holes to remove some of the old wood and vacuum. 
4) Apply some Smith’s Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (SCPES) to the holes. 
5) Fill the holes with toothpicks and glue. 
6) Lightly sand the entire plank or frame as needed. 
7) Apply more coats of SCPES to the entire plank or frame. 
8) Coat with Sandusky’s bilge paint or West System fiberglass and epoxy. 

Guy, I get it, sounds like this boat is going to be around a long time.

Yeah... at the start I never planned on being where I am now. So now’s the time to do it right. The hard work is behind me. 


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