Wooden Boat project.  Light weigh mkinzie river dory.   i tore of the botom,  the plastic was cracked around every screw and it was starting to rot and bow up. so i ripped it of along with a layer of thin plywood.  all that is left is the main layer of the bottom and the side bumper trim.   how do i seal the bottom,  the plastic is pretty much no good.  i will try to include pics in the next post.  i bought some west product and some fiberglass to do the nose area but i don't really plan on using it for a lot of river drifting,  this is from what i can tell a lightweight mckinzie wooden ribbed river dory if that helps.  can anyone tell me more about this boat.  i tore off the black on the back and replace the wood underneath,  so for the bottom,  epoxy or fiberglass.  i am more interested in in just sealing it.  anyone near port orchard that could help.  how much are these boats worth?  thanks for any advice.

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Jeremiah:  Before you try to" seal" the bottom you should look for any rotten spots in the plywood and in the frames.  Take a small screwdriver or pocket knife and start poking around to find any soft spots.  It might  be found around the screw holes that attached the  plastic to the frames. Correct  rotten wood before trying  to seal with paint, fiberglass/ epoxy.


The boat looks like a Kaarhus McKenzi square ender- AKA Rapid Robert- but others more expert than me will chime in.   Is it about 12 feet long?  Clean out a spot in your garage and get it under cover and start working on it. 

Good Luck

Jerimiah, your boat is worth $20. I will be in the area next week to come and take it off your hands.

I don't really know the value of your boat and I am kidding. I will be in the Spanaway / Tacoma area next week. Perhaps when I come back from Hood Canal we could visit. If it is indeed a Karhuus Rapid Robert which it resembles but not quite it could have some value to the right person.

Lawrence is right, the first thing to do is see what the condition of the wood is. Often times these older boats have been stored on a trailer and rainwater has been allowed to collect. If they have been stored with the tongue of the trailer raised the water collects at the stern. Therefore you will find soft or rotted frame members, chine logs, or the actual plywood from the bottom or sides. Everything can be repaired in theory, it's how much time, money and effort you want to throw at it. Do you want to restore it to it's former glory or are you just looking for a fishing boat?

A "restoration" with fiberglass, epoxy, paint, sandpaper, sandpaper, epoxy and more sandpaper could cost $1,000 plus. That might mean also the replacement of frame members, plywood etc. Depending on the amount of damage and the condition of the wood it could cost less. A lot of it depends on how the project goes and how your perspective changes as you get into the project.

I just spent several months working with steve Putnam rebuilding his boat. It had suffered from water damage and such and had checked plywood on the outside, the UHMW protective sheet had come off, the floor had some rot damage and such. Steve is working on posting the pictures and story to go along with the project.

Finally, the magic search function located at the top right side of the page will lead you to many previous stories of boats in much the same condition as yours. Try wiring a phrase or sentence to get the best results. We are glad to answer your questions, you have done a great thing to post your pictures.

The purchase of Roger Fletchers "Drift Boats and River Dories from Riverstouch.com will help you learn all about these wonderful craft.

Good luck,

Rick N

if it comes to be too much work and you really like the boat you can tear it all apart and use what you can salvage to make new frames and get new ply for sides and bottom and build a new boat. if it's a RR, those boats are really nice and would be great to restore or build a new one. that's all I can tell ya for now. just start pokeing around and see how much rot there really is. poke everything you see.


Very cool little boat;hope you fall in love with it and repair it for many more years of enjoyment. We love updates with pictures.

Got some new pics of the resto project.tore of the plastic bottom,  filling in theholes.  What and how do i seal the bottom?  Put on a new sheet of wood or can i just seal it.  I have some of the WEST product for fiberglassin the front bottom.  But for the rest of the botom can i just seal it,  i just plan to use it for fishin in lakes and stuff.  If anyone is in the port orhcard area that could take a look and give me some pointers let me know.  thanks.  


Cool boat.... Check out my page. I did one of those boats a few years ago. Wish i could drive over and see it. Let me know how i can help.



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