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The Driftboat

This past Summer, Kevin, Jonathan, and myself, built a 16 foot wooden MacKenzie driftboat from a kit. We ordered the kit from Greg Tatman Wooden Boats of Springfield, Oregon. The driftboat's primary source of propulsion is not a set of oars, but a flowing river. That's where the boat gets the "drift" part of its name. The oars are used to turn a driftboat quickly (because of its curved "rocker" bottom) and to manuever around rocks and obstructions in the river. Rowing also stops or "holds" the boat's progress downstream. A good oarsman can treverse miles of river with very little rowing.

Click on the thumbnail photos to see a real work in progress.

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1). PHOTO #1 -- I have just glued the Akaskan Yellow Cedar frames and the transom using West System Epoxy. One inch wood screws are countersunk and hold the pieces in place while the epoxy "kicks".

2). PHOTO #2 -- The Douglas Fir marine plywood sides are screwed and glued to the 9 frames, the stem, and the transom. Again, the West System Epoxy is used.

3). PHOTO #3 -- The outside hull surface has been covered with three coats of epoxy. The hull is then washed with an ammonia and water solution before a light sanding. The hull is primed and painted using an exterior oil-base enamel house paint. The paint salesman said oil-base enamel is not used much anymore because it mildews easily. When I told him it is for a boat bottom he said, "Oh nevermind."                         

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4). PHOTO #4 -- The frames are screwed and glued to the side panels, stem and transom. The oarsman seat has been bolted in to stiffen the assembly. The limber holes have been cut in the lower frames.

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5). PHOTO #5 -- A bass boat trailer is cut and welded to fit the driftboat.

6). PHOTO #6 -- Kevin and Jonathan taking a break from the many hours of sanding.

7). PHOTO #7 -- Late at night I am trimming the frames flush with the oak gunnels. The inside surfaces have been stained and painted with Z-spar Flagship varnish. I used Flagship because it is loaded with UV inhibitors which will protect the stained surfaces.

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8). PHOTO #8 -- The maiden voyage on the Chattahoochee River. It floats!

9). PHOTO #9 -- Preparing for a "shore lunch" on a sandbar.


  The Driftboat Fishin' Holes Scrapbook Good Stuff The Hooch


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This page was last updated on 12/16/98.