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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Is the site broken? I can’t post pictures.

Guy, I tried to post a picture and it still worked. Try again and let me know.


Hi Rick. I cannot even sign out.
I cannot post pictures or sign out. On two separate computers. Strange.
Are things working better? I haven't heard from you or Randy.

Rick N

Hi Rick. Looks like it’s working again. I’ll update later. Thanks. Guy

I decided to release the frames and the stringers. So the entire bottom of the boat is off, except for two frames in the bow. I need to replace one cracked frame. And I’m going to add wood to all the frames to strengthen them. This will take time. But I am in the process of reassembling the transom. 

Getting ready to cut the patterns to replace the one cracked frame. I used the original frame to trace patterns onto paper. And then used to paper patterns to trace the patterns onto the mahogany board. The beveled edges will have to be faired later during mockup assembly. 

Transom and bottom frames lined up. The second frame from the right is the one that will be completely replaced. I used 3M 5200 to reassemble the transom. You can see the white seams, that’s the 5200. It’s very tenacious stuff. Stays on anything it touches. Takes days to cure. 

Starting to glue-up the new frame to replace the cracked frame. But I’m using the cracked frame as a pattern for the new frame. 

I’m still working on the bottom frames. I’m using the 3M 5200 to bond the surfaces. I apply it to both mating surfaces and spread it out to make sure I get good coverage.

I’m working on the two bow frames that I didn’t remove. Like the other bottom frames, I’m adding another layer of 7/8-inch-thick mahogany.  


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