I didn't build this boat, I bought it from a guy who built it in 1988. It was a kit from Ray's River Dories. He did a pretty good job of building the boat but I have found evidence of a few "oops!" moments. (Screws that missed the ribs, a hole that has been filled in with epoxy where he goofed putting in the drain plug, etc.) Nothing too bad and certainly nothing that really compromises the structural integrity of the boat.
He bought a power boat and this one sat in his yard under a tarp for several years. It was completely black on the inside from mildew. I tried using bleach to get it off - no luck. Then I tried two part wood bleach - same story. I tried Oxcalic acid which didn' touch it. I called Ray Heater and he told me the only way to get rid of it was to scrape it off. Several boxes of scraper blades later I had it down to where you could actually tell it was wood. The outside had numerous coats of spar varnish whis was also quite difficult to remove. None the less, I got it finished and used it quite extensively for several years.
This January I was headed to the Wilson river on a Sunday when it was snowing. I had just gotten off the phone with the shuttle service telling them that I wasn't going to be there on time. I was headed out of Banks going about 45 mph. As the road turned right I let off the gas slightly and all hell broke loose - literally.
The boat trailer lost traction and swung around to the left, smacked my truck on the left hand side punching about a 1 foot square hole in the port bow. Then the trailer swung back around to the right yanking my truck sideways. I would have never thought that a light boat/trailer could have done that to an F350 but with 3" of snow on top of 1/2" of ice anything can happen. The truck and the boat were travelling down the road sideways, the road curved to the right and over the edge we went. We hit a tree about 50 feet down the embankment, the trailer came off and we finally came to rest on about a 70 degree angle from horizontal. Fortunately we were all buckled in, we didn't roll and nobody was injured.
I have spent the last 4 weeks repairing and refinishing my boat for the second time. While I would rather have it finished natural wood, I'm warming up to the idea of paint. There was just no way to mask the damage and still have a natural finish.
I love my wooden boat for several reasons.
First, it's very light and manuverable.
Second, it's a lot quieter than aluminum and I think it's warmer.
Finally, I always get nice compliments when I 'm on the river.