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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This is what it looked like originally. 

You've come a long way, Baby!

Got the hull flipped. It went pretty easy. I installed anchor points in the transom and bow. It was balanced pretty well during rotation. 

Lots of work ahead striping the fiberglass from the bottom and removing the wood screws. 

You are doing a great job. You are fortunate to have the dedication to take on such a project!

Rick N

Thanks Rick. But the magnitude of what I got myself into didn’t really sink in until about the second month. : ). Thankfully, what I bought is only 17 feet long. It could have been worse. : )

On the WoodenBoat Forum some of the guys realte to ten-year projects!

Rick N

I’ve put in about 24 hours a week on this boat since November 2019. These types of projects are no small effort. 

I’m still deconstructing the bottom. I’m stripping the fiberglass with a heat gun and scraper. Then the filler above the head of each screw has to be cleared with a Rota-Broach and cleaned with a pick. I start backing them out by hand before using the drill. Once all the screws are removed the planks almost fall off the frames. 

Keep up the good work!


Half of the bottom is stripped and four cups of wood screws removed. 

Removing port side bottom planks and plywood. 


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