I recently received this amazing gift from my neighbor.  I live in Lake Oswego, Oregon. I would love to know what I have and what I need to do to get this lovely boat into fishing condition.  It may be ready now, I know it has at least one small leak.  It also has a PVC layer nailed to the underside of the boat that worries me a bit.  I would like to know if it is worth fixing with my minimal woodworking skill set or if Id be better off selling it.  The little that I do know about the boat is that it is from the 60's.  Trailer appears to be bran new.  Id love some advice, any advice.  Is there someone up here I could show the boat to to get myself rolling?  Thank you so much for your help.  Feel free to add to the discussion or call me.  My name is Jeff.  (503)703-7451

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Wow. Really cool neighbor you have there. And a beautiful boat. I do not recognize any features of it to give a clue as to its origin. My very limited knowledge would suggest that it is a one-off or very local builder. If that boat is seriously from the 60's it is in great shape.

You need not be intimidated by making a repair to a small leak. You can do it and do it right. Plenty of people here can guide you step-by-step. Just don't start slapping bed liner or putty or something on it. If you are freaked out by doing the leak repair, then wood boat ownership may not be for you as they require a fair amount of maintenance. But it's a labor of love and like I said, people will help guide you in doing it right.

Well, you're living in the right place! Just take it over to the Wooden Boat Festival - there's plenty of expertise there. They'll have a full range of opinions.

Thank you!

The boat was not built by Keith Steele, Tony Noe, Greg Tatman, the 3 local McKenzie river area commercial builders who produced a large number of boats.  It is very repairable.  The trailer is quite valuable.  Do drive on down for the Wooden Boat Festival 4/22.

I'm not so worried about the single small hole.  I am more worried about the large plastic skid plate.  I understand that water can sit between the hull and the skid plate and create dry rot.  I have read that it would be better to remove that, repair the bottom of all its attachment holes and dry rot, and then apply some sort of a slick coat or epoxy coat.  My other concern is that it is taking up my whole small garage.  Is it possible to buy a cover and store it outdoors part of the year?  If so where can you get a cover?  Thank you!  I am excited about the prospect of fishing this little beauty soon!

Provided the boat is properly covered, you can store it outdoors part, if not all, the year.  My proof is that I have an '87 and a '98 Keith Steele, and one of them is in a garage, and the other outside in a boat shed.  The shed roof keeps the rain off the boat.  The problem is if you do not have a waterproof cover, then water can pond up in nooks and crannies and lead to dry rot;  I made that mistake with a different boat.  As far as covers,fivecsboatcovers@aol.com produces a good Oregon cover;  one of my fishing buddies here on the McKenzie has one, and I am impressed with it, but I do not know if it is truly waterproof for a 5 month stint.  For the boat I keep in the open air shed, I typically tarp it to keep mice out and to give the sides some UV protection.  I am getting several years between refinishing;  usually the first thing to need it is the floor and floor boards from sand etc. you bring into the boat each trip.

Thank you!!!

You might get a lot of varying opinions on the UHMW skid plate. I had one on my first wooden drift boat and it was nothing but trouble. I would not have another one. Personally, if that were my boat I would 1.) take the plastic off 2.) remove the batten caps 3.) strip the bottom to bare wood 4.) put a couple coats of epoxy on 5.) apply some medium/heavy glass with epoxy (something in the neighborhood of 18 ounce biaxial) 6.) apply a couple more coats of epoxy mixed with graphite powder 7.) seal up the chine area with epoxy 8.) replace the batten caps (seal them up real good with Sika-Flex or similar) 9.) Use that baby!

Thank you!!


I live in NE Portland and have a wooden drift boat similar to yours.  I have used various storage methods over the years and have kept the original bottom intact without the need for a shoe or skid plate.

I would be glad to look at your boat, or have you look at mine, and would be happy to share my experience with wooden boat maintenance and storage. Let me know if I can help.

That would be amazing. I could tow my boat up to your place and we can compare notes. I'd love to fish this thing but I want to make sure I'm taking proper care of the little beauty at the same time. Feel free to call or email me. (503)703-7451 or twenty15@gmail.com. Thank you so much for the generous offer.


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