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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Chine panels are on. 

Chris Craft. Transom panels are on. Not clamped overly tight. Just enough to hold in place. 

Beautifully done, Guy.  Even your cauls are pretty wood!!  I like the stand-off detail.

Hi Shawn. That’s mahogany I bought for making the battens. I still have battens to make for the side planks, but that’s still down the road a ways. Presently I keep checking the clamps to make sure nothing has slipped while the 5200 is curing. That would be bad. : )

Chris Craft. Seal coating the battens that go on the inside bottom between the frames. 

Bilge paint on the bottom battens. 

The temperature inside my garage hovers around 50F. At these temperatures it takes a long time for the bilge paint to dry and the 3M 5200 to cure. About a week or longer. 

Chris Craft. First bottom panel on! This is a very critical stage. They were all pre-fit before so hopefully I won’t have any surprises. 

Looking good!


Thanks Rick!

Chris Craft. More bottom panels on. It’s difficult to judge just how much 3M 5200 to lay down. A little squeeze out is perfect. 

Chris Craft. Attaching the battens is a little challenging. I pre-drill a rectangular pattern of four holes for 3/4-inch #8 wood screws. Then I apply 3M 5200 to the mating surface of the batten. Then I use two picks through two diagonal holes in the bottom as a way of locating the holes in the batten. So I hold the batten with one hand as I located the holes with the picks with the other. 

The other two diagonal holes have wood screws in the ready. It’s working. Lots of 3M 5200 showing inside the hull. But that’s fine. I’ll clean it later and give it another coat of bilge paint. It’s not seen in this boat anyway and I want everything well sealed.  


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