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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Looks like Swiss cheese, however I agree with Phil. The quality of the work you do will solve all the problems. Keep up the good work!


Thanks Rick. 

That should do it.

Martinac. When I bought this boat it was named “Phoenix Rising”. I think I’ll keep that name. It really is on the brink of salvage. 

Martinac. The port side bottom stringers are removed and most of the sanding is done. 

Martinac. Two coats of Smith’s Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer on the port side plywood. 

Martinac. I had some engine, transmission, and exhaust manifold parts sandblasted. Then a painted them with VHT Primer. More to do on this front. The transmission is a Paragon HF2D. Completely obsolete. I pray it works. 

Martinac. I sanded smooth the outside bottom hull in the areas where the holes were. I did this mainly so the painter’s tape would adhere better. Then I used a disposable brush to apply West epoxy from the inside surface to fill the holes. This appears to have worked very well. It’s a hot evening here in the 90’s so the epoxy was very thin and seems to have soaked into the plywood nicely. I didn’t fill all the holes on the first application. The second cup of epoxy kicked before I used it all. I’ll apply more epoxy tomorrow. 

Martinac. The port side bottom plywood is coated in epoxy and nearly all of the holes are filled with epoxy. I’ve gone over it four times trying to get all the holes filled with epoxy. But there are always some that open up. Nevertheless, I think it’s ready for the fiberglass. I’ll fill the seams along the chine and keel with 3M 5200. Then I’ll cut the fiberglass cloth to fit the bottom. Then I’ll apply the epoxy.

The days are too hot for epoxy work. I’ll have to get an early start one morning while it’s still cool. 

Perhaps by November it will cool down enough!


Yeah. It’s going to be a hot summer. 

  1. Martinac. The fiberglass is laid and ready for epoxy. Maybe early tomorrow morning. That strip is 195 inches long. About 36 inches wide at the widest point. 


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