drift boat building - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 03-03-2007, 04:23 PM
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drift boat building

I'm not sure if this is exactly were I should be posting this thread but, let's give it a shot. Has anyone had any experiance building a drift boat? I can't get this idea out of my mind and I am looking for some advice. I've done some seaching on the internet and was supprised to find how many suppliers of kits and / or plans there are available. Having spent some limited seat time in a 16' hyde I think a 16'-17 footer is what I would be interested in building. Utimatley I would like to be able to take three adults and gear for multi day trips. Realistically it would probably be three adults for day trips. Utimatley I would like to get on one of our classic western floating rivers realistically I will probably spend most of my time on the upper Delaware or Lehigh Goerge. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have just enough drifting experiance to know there is a lot I don't know about drift boat design.
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Old 03-03-2007, 06:27 PM
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Hi, Tight,

Yeah. I built a drift boat from a kit (Ray's River Dorys, it's on the web), and had a wonderful time doing it. I was working the Deschutes at the time and went for a really big boat to carry gear as well as people on multi-day trips (18 foot). A picture of the completed boat is the center of my avatar.

When I started the project, I had very limited woodworking skills, but was lucky enough to be friends with several people, including fellow Hooknoser John Quiggle, who had considerable experience, and they were able to help me through the rough spots.

The whole project took a bit longer than I thought, but it was with a tremendous sense of personal satisfaction that I lauched the boat in time for the early June salmon-fly fishing.

I'd be glad to answer any specific questions you might have either on this forum or through personal messages. Bottom line: I would cheerfully and confidently build another kit boat if it were the quality of the kit I received from Ray's River Dorys.

Cheers,

Eric
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Old 03-03-2007, 08:56 PM
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Thanks for the reply Eric. I did see the site for Ray's boats. And by the way your boat looks great in the picture.

I'm not too worried about the building as I am a carpenter I'm more concerned about picking the right design. Living in the east my drifting options are limited but I would hope someday I can take it west for a few trips with the family. I found a 17 footer kit offered by "Tatman Wooden Boats" which I think may be as good a comprimise as I can get. As I read and please correct me if I'm wrong a 16 footer would handle three people but not much gear and a 18 footer might be too much boat for just two or three on a day trip.

Another thing was protecting the bottom did you use that ULTRA HIGH MOLECULAR WEIGHT POLYETHYLENE as a skid plate?

Also did you use fir plywood or an exotic I can quite tell from th epicture weather your boat is painted.

And lastly maintenace, what is your yearly up keep with a boat such as this?

thanks again for all your help
Joe
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Old 03-03-2007, 11:15 PM
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A 17' foot boat is your best bet, I think. Big enough to carry gear, but not too big for smaller waters or short trips. I don't take my wooden boat steelheading on the Alsea.

The bottom of my boat is double-sheathed marine plywood coated with carbon-fiber impregnated epoxy over fiberglass. Very tough and very slick (but very heavy).

Yearly maintenance is simple: interior is oil finish. I recoat that as soon as it gets warm enough each spring. The clear wood on the shear rails and gunnels is coated with spar varnish. This again is a once-a-year touch up. The remainder of the exterior is painted with a marine paint. I've only painted this once and never repainted.

Incidentally, the whole boat is glassed.

Get good oars! Get four good oars!

Cheers,

Eric
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Old 03-04-2007, 04:10 PM
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DB Kits

I have a friend who built a Greg Tatman boat. Nice looking boat. He put a 3/4 thk uhmw skid plate on the bottom which added quite a bit of weight. And he has had maintainence problems with the skid plate.

Somewhere on the web, I once found either uhmw or kevlar sheet in thicknesses of .060 to .090 to be glued on the bottom of drift boats. That makes more sense to me.

Things to check out when considering DB kits are specified length. Some are measured straight down the center line ,as you would suspect. Others are measured around the side. Like a 17 ft boat takes a 17 ft long piece of plywood to build it. But, in reality,, it may only be 15 ft down the c/l. The other thing that is important is the amount of rocker and the amount of freeboard. Being a rather specialized design in itself, there are no hard, fast rules for drift boats. And everyone will tell you theirs is the best for one reason or another.

You will probably have the only drift boat on the east coast. Enjoy.
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Old 03-04-2007, 07:08 PM
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Thanks JD
Their are a few drift boats in the east but not many, and I have yet to see a homemade one. To be honest that is a lot of my problem not much handy to compare too. I've done a lot of canoe tripping so at least I have some basic idea of what boat design entails. How much rocker would you suggest the boat have at a minimum? As I understand it if you want to fish with an angler in the back it is important that the stern be kept out of the water so as not to act like a rudder. Was your freind generally happy with his Tatman boat aside from the skidplate?
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