Driftboat Restoration

Hello All,

A few years ago, a good friend of mine gave me his drift boat. He has since passed away. Damn hard to find a good fishing buddy... Anyhow, the boat he gave me, we logged quite a few trips on, but it's a pretty ugly old wood boat. I'd kinda like to restore it. The wood is all still in pretty good shape. It was glassed over the wood, and all of the glass is bubbling and peeling, but it's still a very sturdy boat. I've thought about stripping the glass, sanding and then just staining it and layering on a nice coat of sealer.

Any suggestions?? Have any of you resored boats or have any helpful insights and/or web links I can check out?? I've been threatening to do this for the last few summers, but I'd really like to get it done.

Jack (my old fishing buddy) bought it new...back in the 80's, and said it shined like a copper penny when he bought it. And I love to drift in it, every time I do it makes me remember my good ole friend...don't think I could ever get rid of it.

Enough reminiscing for now. Like I said, any help would be great.

Tight Lines,

AKA Matt Williams
[email protected]

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Actually, I've built a couple with my Dad when I was younger. I'd strip the glass off (hopefully no water got trapped inside and rotted wood). Then, seal the seams. You can use gluvit on the boat, or you can buy some UHMW for the hull.

Good luck with the boat.

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Look into something called West System epoxy;"Wood-Epoxy-Saturation-Technique", it's from Geougeon Brothers and I think they are in Wisconsin or Michigan.Most better boat supply houses, and many woodworking suppliers.Sounds like you have an heirloom there. Be careful about how you restore it. Sometimes it is better to keep it glassed up after it has already been glassed. careful preperation and lay up of new materials will ensure a long lasting job. Do not just seal the thing up.You may have to treat for molds and rot first. I have restored lots of old small craft and I abhorr fiberglass, but sometimes it is a viable option.I always try to maintain the most origiunal materials and surfaces as possible, and replace or remove only the badly damaged or rotted surfaces.This may entail splicing new wood into things, or patching etc.Do some good research. I think the Wooden Boat Center, in Seattle, would be a good beginning. Wooden Boat magazine has some issues each year or so that feature suppliers. You might look up their website for articles and info on restoration etc.Whenever I have done restoration work, on buildings, cars, airplanes, boats, furniture etc, I always keep one thing in mind; "Less is more".The less you remove or replace, the more value you will retain of the original object.As far s boats go, it's always a practical matter too. If you plan to use the boat then you need to restore it with that in mind and do the best job you possibly can.Don't experiment with little experience.Get help if you need it and you won't disappoint yourself.Then send us all a before and after picture!