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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Bottom frames are installed. Held in place with some 3M 5200 and bronze 1/4-20 bolts. The transom frame is painted and ready to be connected to the stringers. I’ve been dividing my time between this Chris Craft and a second boat project. I’ll post a picture of that one separately. 

My other boat project... I picked up a Martinac 24-ft cabin cruiser out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the same area I got the Chris Craft. But I don’t know the age of this boat. It’s engine is a 1959 Flagship 283 V8 (Chevy small block), but it’s not the original engine. It replaces a more narrow engine, I suspect an Chrysler in-line 6 cylinder, but I have no way of knowing for sure. So the boat may be from the 1940s. If anyone has a clue, please respond. Thanks. 

I’m installing the chines on the Chris Craft. The scary part is the commitment. I’d better get this right. 3M 5200 isn’t very forgiving. 

  1. On the Martinac, all of the mechanical systems and flooring are removed. That was actually quite a bit of work. But it needed to be done. I’m presently scraping the aft bilge. Some wood repairs to do, but nothing major.

Perhaps a nice new fuel injected 502 would be fun too!

Rick Newman

I don’t think the hull is strong enough. : )

You are probably right, but it would be a short, fun ride! It is only 150 pounds heavier, surprisingly enough.


I’m replacing the bottom half of the transom on the Martinac. This is the result of years of shoddy repairs. It’s so bad it’s comical. 

Why take out the old screws, lets' just make more holes and see if it will work!


I thought there were screws, now I see the original fasteners were ringshank nails.



There are rusted iron nails that are about gone, long deck screws, at least two different stainless steel screws, and at least two different ring shank nails. What a mess. : )

I’ll cut the plywood bottom back about six inches and butt-join new plywood in its place. The backer board will be half inch plywood. 

Wow, was the boat dry when you got it?



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