I just purchased a set of plans from Don Hill River Boats (http://www.dhdriftboats.com/) the 14' standard. They plans are very straight forward and appear to very well put together, I've yet to get started on it, trying to pre-plan all the steps first. Right now I'm compiling a list of lumber and will send it to various stores for a bids. I also received a list of suppliers for all the material needed as well as a detailed video showing assembly steps. Hopefully I can get going on this project after the first of the new year.
I think the main advice I'd give to anyone thinking about building one is that you're going to be heavily dependent on your own woodworking skills. From what I've seen having bought both the Montana Boat Builders and the Spira Intl plans, the plans give you a very, very rough idea of what you're doing.
My father has built canoes, so I have at least a basic understanding of the process of building something on forms. I'm also a fairly decent woodworker, so generally I can figure my way through.
But basically there came a time during construction when I just quit looking at the plans. You have to build the boat not from dimensions and shapes on the plan, but from what you're seeing in front of you. Every part is custom made to fit every other part and you just keep fitting and shaping and fitting and shaping until you're there.
Bottom line is you can't just cut all the pieces out from dimensions on a plan and then screw them together. I knew that going in, but it really slows things down when the plan lacks critical information that would have made an 2 hour trial and error process of painstaking meausrement and cutting test pieces into a cut-glue-screw single step.
If anyone's thinking of the Canadian plan from Spiria, get in touch. I have 3 big items that can save you a ton of time. I'll give you the angles for each rib, a huge timesaving tip for making the center rib, and some close-ups of the seats I built so if you want to copy them you can.
i currently have plans for the carolina and the ozark. I'm leaning tward the carolina because of the posts about unsatisfied guys with small boats. I would like your tips before i start thanks in advanced
It's been a long time sence your last post. I hope you read this. I have plans for the canadian and the ozarks boat i'm leaning tward the canadian because of posts saying they got rid of thier small boats for a bigger one. I would definately like to tap your experience building this boat.
Thanks Rick. Thought i would elaborate. Don Hill Boats has plans for a traditionally built drift boat with ribs without the need for a strong back. The plans range from 10' mini drifter to 18' fly fisherman. The plans are complete with each part drawn indicating size, angles etc. plus a construction manual and video narrated by Don. Can't beat em!
Ok guys, I have a suggestion for finding the appropriate angle & curvature for the rib problem.
About 3yrs ago, (no, wait, it's been five years ago, geez, I can't believe it's been that long ago already ?!?).
Well anyway, I had bought a 12' Sears Gamefisher & a trailer from a guy down the alley, for $200.00, & it had a T-shaped hole in the floor that ran up under one of the rear ribs. So I took a 4" grinder & removed a 1/2 section of the rib about 8" wide, & there it was, exposed.
To make a long story a little shorter, I epoxied up the hole, & had made the decision to put a level floor in the boat. Figuring that the bench seats were equal to being level with the waterline, I noticed that there was a given height relationship to the bench seats & the waterline marks on the outside of the boat, & there was also a bend in the fold of the side of the hull that followed the same pattern down the length of the hull.
With that being said, a trip to Menard's (one of the local Do it, Build it yourself stores), was in order. I needed two pieces of 2"x 6"x 6', two pieces of 2"x 4"x 6', 25 pieces of 3' x 3/8ths" dowel rods, two pieces of straight 8'x1"x2", a couple of 2&1/2" screws, with matching wingnuts.
Upon my return to the garage, I measured the greatest open distance between the rails, then measured the shortest distance,then cut a piece of the 1x2 to match, then I made a duplicate, then slotted the ends so that they could be extended by almost eight inches, more than enough to reach from side to side, whether I was using it in the bow, middle, or aft.
Now for the good part, I bolted the two short halves to the ends of the two sandwiched pieces of 1x2 with a screw & wingnut on each end, then took a 3/8ths drill bit & started drilling holes 1" apart down the length of the seam of the two halves, then I took the 3' dowel rods, taped them together into a round bunch used my sawzall to cut them in half, doubling my number, into 18" sections. I loosened the wingnuts enough to drive them into the drilled holes, then tightened up the wingnuts to make them movable, but snug enough to stay in place after being tapped with a small hammer.
Using the two bench seats as a guide to set the distance for the length of boat, I positioned the mimic over each rib & tapped it down just so they touched the top of the rib all the way across the boat. This gave me a pattern to mark the bottom of the 2x4, or 2x6 appropriately marked for the depth, assuring that the floor would follow the marked height as a given.
It worked like a charm. They make a small wire type that can be used for scribing cabinets to a wall, or used for scribing tile for trim, doorways, etcetera.