Need to build me a driftboat...questions



I'll throw in some help too. I've got some twenty years as a journeyman carpenter in and put myself through college by running the woodshop at The Evergreen State College so I can screw up a joint as well as anybody.

Creative Genuis is a response to disaster.



Active Member

You can do better than spend 2K and lots of time in your garage. My dad spent $800 on a used 14' Lavro that is in my front yard at the moment. I believe it is about 20 years old, rolled gunnels, real nice little boat.

I bought one of Ron Lavigeur's kit boats years ago and was very happy with it. He no longer sells the kit, which is just applying the wood gunnels. It was like an old Eastside, which was his brothers company.

As much as it seems that you like spending time on the water and as it is now heading into prime native return time on the OP, I would look around for a used boat.

My $.02



Active Member
Bob, I'm in the middle of my fifth boat. Check out my web site. If you are in town for some reason give me a call and I will would be glad to show you the shop and talke you through the process.
Aproximate budget for specific items
Plywood $400
White Oak $250
Epoxy and Fillers $100
Screws, misc hardware $100
Shop supplies, sand paper, saw blade etc $100
Paint, varnish, finishes $75

I purchase my oak from Edensaw also, great material. I do need to find a new resource for plywood though. I scarff the plywood together which is nothing more than an 8:1 glued joint so the glued surface area is much greater than the thickness of the plywood. I just use a hand held power plane for this.

I just made a couple of 4 foot models first from scrap material to understand how the materials bend into shape.

Finished projects are a bit over 120 hours of construction.

Oars, oar-locks, anchor and anchor release system are another $600.

Check out the site, give me a call, maybe we can take one out for spash so you can see how they row.


Just talked to the father of my granddaughter and he said to buy something used unless I was willing to make whatever sacrifices might be necessary (lots of bucks and time) to build one.

So I'm looking around in the used market. Like boat

He also said to buy a sled and go upriver, not down, forget the shuttle and reach water that few even see, let alone fish.

Could be fun just zooming up and down as long as I don't bother the bank boys, particularly the fly fishermen. If things go south with the motor, I can always float back to the ramp.

Comment? Pros or cons?

Bob, the I need alot of money--send me some. :D

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.

For what its worth:

This Fall, either on this site or somewhere else, I heard someone saying that they saw alot of driftboats for sale on the Oregon coast around Reedsport and Port Orford areas over the Labor Day weekend. I forget exactly where I heard it.

Also, I floated a good stretch of the Grays once in a ten foot glass mini-drifter. It was one that had been popped out of a mold, with rolled edges. Light enough for two guys to carry to the water. I felt a little cramped in the bow, but it got us down the river, which was an easy drift anyway, but it was too unstable for me to stand up in the bow. Something that size might be fine for going solo, but I thought that particular boat seemed a little flimsey. It slid into the back of a full-sized pick-up, though.

We saw an old timer in a sled on the lower Wynoochee this Fall, and he was very courteous when passing us. He even stopped to chat, said he'd been fishing the area for over forty years. Now stays mainly on the Nooch, Sop, and Chehalis. Told us what lures/baits worked for him, and went on his way.
He had his act wired, and looked like he could go where ever he wanted, just zip around and check out his favorite drifts and holes.

I'll keep my eyes peeled for anything that might be for sale around here. :thumb:


Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Well, can help you on the sled part. First off, what rivers were you thinking of using it on? Some of those westside OP rivers, I've heard on other boards guys threatening dismanteling boat trailers with blowtorches those who droppsed sleds in the Hoh and the Quillyute system. Scary thing, I've seen guys who would actually do it out there. Not condoning it, but know some are nuts enough to do it.

Onto the sled though. You would've loved my old one. I had bought it specifically for 1-2 people. I could jet upriver, then oar my way down (was short and wide). Yes, you usually want to launch down and go up. That way if you do conk the motor, you have current taking you back downriver. BUT, it's always nice to have a kicker on hand as well, to help push you along. Key is learning to use one. Not the same as a conventional deep V. One of the biggest problems with them, too easy to get now and too many grab them and go. They skip a bit, and you have to know how to handle corners with them. I know my boat, I used it alot just for one man running. Plus, was perfect for just taking my kids and myself. Just that it's noisier, and you have to plan for that. Some people love the sound of a jet, some don't. Funny that those who own them love it, those who don't....don't. ;)

Driftboats. Unless you really have a plan to build your own, you can score some damned good deals on one. How many do you want to float in it? You can find older 16' glass or aluminum boats for around $2,000. That's loaded and ready to fish. Plus, you never know, you could run into a deal like mine. I had posted I was looking for a wooden boat I could restore while I was off work. Give me something to do. Instead, I got a nearly free Eastside 16' driftboat. Most of the cost was going to get it. I have ripped the trailer apart and rebuilt it. Only problem, had the legal problems with my L&I just after I got it. Money ran out, so did what I could do to it. But, you could fall into a great deal on a free/near free boat.


Will Fish For Food
How difficult is this using the stitch and glue method? Seems easy but then I have no experience with it.
I haven't done it, but I have friends who have made kayaks with stitch & glue ... there's a PNW kayak kit maker that sells them.

I watched them do part of it -- they had no experience even, and the kayak paddled straight. :beer2:

But if money was the driving factor, I'd definitely look into the used boats ... and might not even get a drift boat at all, unless I really was focused on the Yak. For around here, I'd get a beat up aluminum boat with a new 15 HP Yamaha four stroke. Put a flat floor in it and you've got a better boat for all the lower rivers / sound / crabbing / yadda.

All you guys are just too damn sweet! What I wouldn't give to have a neighbor lilke Ron Eagle Elk, Mattzoid, Yellerstone, and Jerry.

I have a lot of stuff which my wife says I must sell: 24' Oregon dory with full cabin and sleeping in the cuddy, trl.,155 Volvo; Smorkercraft 12' tin boat. 5hp brand new Honda 4 stroke (will never be banned); trailer for the Smokercraft (brand new)) and a 19' Nash travel trailer with tons of goodies.
But this is not the classifieds. I only mention these items to show that I can raise some dough.

My dream now is some sort of a runabout, alluminum, 16', 50 hp or more wiith pump, and I don't give a damn about anyone anymore. After I have fly fished, I'm going to plunk, go to sleep in a nice nap, and wait to be awakened by either a screaming reel or the setting of the sun. I'm tired of screwing around; I'm too old; it is time to get down to business.

Bob, the So sorry to have weakened, but what do you expect, I'm going on 68? bawling: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

Jerry: I'm mulling over carefully what you said. Got called to dinner! :cool:
Just to let you know Flounderbay Lumber in Anacortes do carry the longer boards (15' or 16' I am not sure ) if you are not in for the scarfing gig. But you pay for it. I know you have abandoned the idea already but just gave the info out there for anyone else that is interested. :ray1:

Additionally here is some links to some boatplans if you decide to build your own boat... sled or driftboat



Too many hobbies.....
It's OK, Bob! If there's one guy on WFF that can get away with "crossing over to the dark side", it's you! ;) ;)

I wish you all the best in your search! Sleds are not inherently bad - it's just that some people (that can afford them) have more money than common sense sometimes! Besides, some of my fondest memories from my childhood involved all kinds of "gear fishing"!

If you decide to pursue the fabled "woody drifter", let me know... I'm in construction and could possibly help in providing materials/supplier connections!

Good Luck, Oh Respected One!

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