Wooden drift boat

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Metricscaler, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Metricscaler New Member

    Posts: 2
    Nanaimo B.C.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hello members, I just joined this site today because I wanted to know if anyone out there has any experience with wooden drift boats. I'm looking at buying one,the boat I'm looking at has been outside in the weather for quite sometime but looks relatively sound I think it might need new rub rails. It's made of marine ply I think. Anyone with any experience with older boats?
  2. Metricscaler New Member

    Posts: 2
    Nanaimo B.C.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Also the paint on the hull is peeling off, dies anyone recommend a good quality paint for the hull and inside? The paint on the pudgier of the hull is very thick almost like a fiberglass. I was thinking of stripping the whole outside of the boat with a heat gun. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  3. Rick Sharp Member

    Posts: 370
    West Richland, WA 99353
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    At one time I was going to build a wood boat, bought the Don Hill plans and all, found a used wood boat that had sat out in the sun for several years. It was a daunting task to restore it and took quite awhile. I would do it again, it was fun and I learned a lot, there is a web board called wooden boat builders or something like that, those guys helped me a lot and put me in contact with several suppliers. Get some good power tools and a lot of sandpaper to start, some of the paint can be removed with chemicals like the furniture restorers do but in the end sand your ass off. Look for dry rot that part(s) will have to be removed and replaced but if it's good overall I'd go for it.
  4. Rick Todd Active Member

    Posts: 1,861
    Ratings: +237 / 0
    I have a Ray's River Dory 17' guide model that I built from a kit. It is no doubt the easiest rowing drift boat I've used. (Hyde, Clack, RO and Lavro, but no aluminum boats) It requires a little upkeep and I keep it under cover, but the maintenance is done in the winter when it is a nice diversion from the weather! Mine has an epoxy/varnich finish on the outside as it is an African Mahogany boat and the wood is to pretty to cover up. I would look at a 2 part epoxy paint and the most durable finish for the boat. Rick
  5. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Posts: 3,336
    Haus Alpenrosa, Lederhosenland
    Ratings: +896 / 0
    First question is how sound is the wood/glue within the plies? Test with a sharp probe-you shouldn't be able to penetrate unless it's rotted beneath the surface veneer. Do you know what it's painted with? You'll probably have to strip the paint off with a belt sander if it's a decent brand of paint. If it's some sort of polymer, it probably will gum up the belt too much, so as you said, you'd be better off with stripping it off another way. You may have some sort of poor epoxy job on your hands, and that can be a real pain to remove. Either way, you can get your supplies at any reputable marine hardware store. I hit West Marine here in the states. Haven't been to Nanaimo in some years, and don't remember what's in the area, but I'm sure you have something available locally. They would also be a great resource for your restoration project.

    I've owned and raced wood sailboats-one designs and such, most of my life. They're beautiful indeed, but a real pain in the ass to restore and maintain. It's a labor of love and dedication, costing $$, elbow grease, and time, but can be really rewarding, especially for a true classic. It's like owning a fine bamboo rod!
  6. nomlasder Active Member

    Posts: 1,325
    Ratings: +115 / 0
    Check the lowest area in the hull where the side joins the bottom. It's called the chine. Use a knife, awl or ice pick to probe the surfaces inside and out. If the wood is soft, it probably means rot. That does not mean the boat needs to be junked, as wood can be patched, scarfed, and filled in. Older boats were usually made with AB marine fir pywood, but not all. Lift the boat to see if it feels real heavy. It could be water logged. It should weight about 250 to 350 lbs. If you can't lift it, move on- keep looking.

    As to paint, there are all kinds of opinions.

    One option, I don't particularly like, but it's a good option is there are a lot of semi soft areas, is to fiberglass the bottom. Many of the stich and glue boats are actualy constructed this way.

    After all the wood repairs, the interior can be oiled, varnished or painted.

    I use a polyurethane coating on the inside bottom, and all the rest of the painted areas Interlux. I have used good quality oil based paint also with great results.

    The rub rails ( or gunwale) can be sanded down and revarnished or painted as you please. If they are seriously damaged and you think you need to replace them be sure to put in some temporary braces to hold the shape before you cut them out. Replacement wood can be Fir but my perference is white oak.
  7. mstarkmstark New Member

    Posts: 7
    Bend, Oregon
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Great discussion guys - this is helpful for those looking at getting a first wood boat/first boat. What is the usual method for protecting the wood from studded boots? I too am looking at some wood boats (they are cheaper and sure do look nice) as my first drifter for the easier sections of the Deschutes. I am looking at theses pretty boats and just imagining my studs destroying the inside of the boat....
  8. bobframe Member

    Posts: 36
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Any guide I've ever fished with who rowed a wooden boat turned me upside down and inspected my boots for studs BEFORE he'd let me in his boat...studs were verbotem in wooden boats I've ben around. I suspect they would just grind a wooden boat into sawdust.
  9. Trout Master Active Member

    I have seen Rick Todds boat and it is a really nice looking boat, I even think it has good mo jo.
  10. mstarkmstark New Member

    Posts: 7
    Bend, Oregon
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Ohy, studs are a must on the Deschutes for safe wading.... Hmmm, chunks of carpet perhaps? that can be tossed in and removed?
  11. Evan Salmon Member

    Posts: 217
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +18 / 0
    If the paint's peeling there are probably other maintenance issues... Initial cost aside, be ready to spend a lot of time and $$ getting and keeping it in shape. Wood boats are nice to row (usually), quiet and look great if you have the time to maintain and a good place to store them. After all that work it will be hard to fight back the tears the first time you bounce it off a rock.

    For a first boat you might want to find a good deal on aluminum....

    Indoor/Outdoor carpet is good cheap protection from studs and it helps protect reels and other gear. A few pieces cut to fit strategic areas works great for me.
  12. bfunk13 New Member

    Posts: 33
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