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Steve Cole - Living the Dream
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After moving over here to the "Dry Side" I see that my angling opportunities will be limited somewhat by the lack of a watercraft. I could buy one but since the "Better Half" would likely not support that option, I find myself looking at building my own. I was particularly attracted to the Montana Boats "Buffalo Boat" which is a version of a mini-drifter but haven't totally sold myself. I was hoping there may be some members herein that may have "DIY"ed their own floatation and were willing to provide a little insight on the goods and bads related to boat building of this sort...

Thanks All

Steve Cole
Prosser, WA
 

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I built up a Honky Dory from Montana Riverboats you can see the pictures of the build in my gallery. I had no prior actual boat building experience before I started (although I have re-finished a couple of woodies and performed some minor repair work). The most intimidating part is just getting started as the rest is actually fairly straight forward. Sandy's online instructions are pretty good and he does have a forum that is full of knowledgeable people that'll help you get through any issues that arise. You can pretty much get by with a good set of basic tools however, I did find the boat build to be a good excuse to purchase that table saw that I always wanted which came in very handy. I can't really think of any bads of building your own boat as you get to customize it however you see fit. If you enjoy wood working or building your own stuff it is very satisfying to sit and oogle over your "homebuilt" boat.

Josh
 

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I can't think of anything 'bad' about building your own unless it would be that once you finish it you will probably want to build another one to take advantage of all you learned on the first boat. My first boats were pretty nice but the one I built last year is the best of all. Like Josh said, it is a good opportunity to pick up some dandy tools.

Most of us that build boats will be happy to answer any questions we can. Just remember-we are amateurs too!

Ive
 

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Steve Cole - Living the Dream
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369 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys for the feed back... so has anyone that you know of built that Montana Boats "Buffalo Boat"? Did they like it?

Steve Cole
 

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Outa here
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Yes, by all means, build your own. I've got a jones for the buffalo boat, more for the Montana Boatbuilders Freestone skiff..but whatever. I think pramlike craft have some interesting features.

But, 1 word of caution...you're not gonna save any money....And you will build another.

Cheers...have fun.
 

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I agree with Guy. You will not save money... and you will build another. It is very addictive. Both frustrating and rewarding.

It will also take you far longer than you anticipate.

If you want to spend your time fishing, buy a used boat.
 

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Capt Kirk
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I have been wanting to build one for years. If you do it "right" it will cost as much as a nice used Clack or Hyde or Willies. If you build it on the cheap I think you could build one for $1500+-. Unfortunately resale isnt good for a home made wood boat vs a factory fiberglass or metal. So if you think you may sell it at some point-factor that in. All that said...I really want to build a Montana Boat Builders skiff!!!!
 

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I have built a drift boat and mainly, I'd say it depends on what your goals are. You can see pics of the drifter that I built in this thread.

If your goal is just to own a driftboat in order to go fishing, then just buy one and be done with it. You won't save enough money, if you save any at all, to make it worth the hundreds of hours that you'll spend building the boat. In the meantime, you'll have spent a lot of time building the boat when you could have been fishing.

Make sure your better half understands that by "saving" money (and it's doubtful you will actually save that much), you'll be spending hundreds of hours building the boat. And that means that her car will be sitting in the driveway when you take over the whole garage for a year to serve as your boatbuilding shed.

IMO, the best reason to build your own is because you enjoy both fishing and woodworking and you see it as a challenge. And believe me, building a boat IS a challenge and your woodworking skills WILL improve vastly. There's an old saying that you're not a furniture maker until you can build chairs, well I'd say anyone who's built boats is a lot closer to a master woodworker than than guy who hasn't. Almost ever single piece of a boat is built on a curve AND with multiple angles, tapers, or bevels. Nothing and I mean nothing is square and straight.

So I guess beyond the question of cost and time, is the question of skill. How good of a woodworker are you and how much do you enjoy it?

I had a great time building my boat and since driftboats are very, very rare in this part of the country, I enjoy having something that makes everyone stop and stare and telling them I built it myself. Also, by making design modifications, I was able to build it in a way that takes into account the local conditions I encounter because there are a lot of rivers where anyone with a heavy fiberglass drift boat will find themselves high and dry. It's a tremendous boat to fish out of and it gives me access to waters where only canoes can fish.

But building a boat is a labor of love, not a quick fix. My boat is very utilitarian by any wooden boat standard. Many wooden drift boats are really not boats at all, but works of fine cabinetry that happen to float.

Grouse
 
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