It's been quite sometime since I have been on Wooden Boat People. I have dreamed about owning a wooden drift boat for many years. Last year I was fortunate enough to stumble across one at a local auction. Shockingly I was able to pick this boat up for $370 boat and trailer. It had been sitting in the weather for a few years judging by some of the checking that was on the wood on the inside of the boat. This Keith Steele Model 16 is in fairly decent shape. It had a couple soft spots (heavily checked) on the port side hull. I was able to fill in those spots with body filler and sand things mostly out.
Here is a short into video I shot last year prior to completing things. I didn't take any more videos during the restoration. I'm planning on adding some of the finished project here later this Summer.
Here are a few other pics of the boat prior to restoration and during the restoration. I ended up sanding the entire boat down and removing any loose paint. After I did this, I primed any of the bare wood with a high quality primer. Next I applied the best marine paint I could afford with an airless paint sprayer. I ended up putting 3 coats on all parts of the boat.
This is how the boat looked when I brought it home.
This shows my boat ID tag. You can see the wear on the paint in this picture.
Boat Prep 1
Boat Prep 2. Note: Look closely and you'll see my house being built in the background. My wife wasn't too thrilled that I was busy restoring my boat and not working on helping the guys out on the house.
Loaded up for maiden voyage! (Last season)
More pics and additions will follow. I would like to add an anchor system to this boat. I just don't know when it will happen. I"m also going to do some restoration work on my trailer. It needs some immediate attention.
Do most of these old boats have slow leaks? I noticed I have to bilge the water out periodically throughout the day when we float. I checked the plug seal and it seems fine. I even got a new brass plug for it too.
Thanks for watching / reading!
This boat was built 7 miles from my home. Keith probably built it in his shop which now is a Lane County park on the McKenzie River; he moved his shop a few hundred yards to his home, and it might have been built there. It may be that the slow leakage is from the boat being bone dry, and not in water. If this is the cause, it will swell and the leaking will subside. The trailer looks like one built by Keith's son, Steve, in Lebanon, OR. Very sturdy trailer. Glad you are restoring this old Keith.