DIY stitch and glue Drift Boat Building -- Online Drift Boat Plans

MRB Blog


How do you deck a big white water dory? Most builders build a deck 4 to 6" inches down from the gunwale.
decking start
I'm going to build it so the deck spans from the top of one side panel over to the top of the other. The gunwale is an inwale only and invisible at that because it will be below the deck. I'll put long low U-shaped grab rails all the way around the edges so tuff can't roll off the boat. But water will. The top of most boats become a 100 gallon scoop that takes up too long to drain in adrenalin situations. A flush deck will drain almost instantly. I want to keep the passenger seating area as small as possible too. I'm hoping there is no need to build those so they can collect another 200 gallons of water for each big wave.

Beyond that everything next is up in the air. Not even squarely in my head just yet. I'm winging this one. From the water up.

The decking will all be removable. So among other things I can remodel everything as time goes by. To start I want three side-by-side passenger slots slightly forward of the middle, with the rower behind that. There will be no fourth passenger. Not unless I build an alternate deck. But that's doable because all of this will bolt down over a thick foam gasket. Permanent nothing is a design goal here. Everything removable, fixable and changeable. Including side panels and gunwales.

Ready for the deck

Gluelam gunwales installed today. Bulkheads and deck come next (this one is a white water boat--not a day trip fishing boat).
hull roughed in

Glue Lam Gunwale

Glue laminated gunwale over 18' feet long. As thick and as tall as want. As you like it. Steam? Steam? Why? This is easier and stronger. A lot stronger. glue lam gunwale

Gunwale Strips

gunwale strips for a gluelam gunwale

40 gunwale strips 2" inches tall by 1/4" inch thick, stacked in order, labeled in pencil and (almost) ready for glueup. Thus to make glue laminated gunwale, which you can make as thick and as tall as you might want.

The chipboard framework inside the boat is just a pile of scraps cobbled together to keep the boat's shape until the gunwales are installed.

Then bulkheads and then the deck. Seats. Misc this and htat. Oarlocks and water.

I need to buy a rocket box groover and a pair of five gallon water cans, so I can build them right into the boat. My giant Igloo cooler, I'm thinking, will be the front seat (with a Paco pad over top). I want to keep the bulk of the payload as close to the center of the boat as possible.

The Briggs makes a big mistake by placing two passengers up front and two in the rear. You want the payload closer to the center. I'll have three passengers side by side in front of the rower. If you really needed four passengers two rows of two seats, with the rear row right over dead center, with the rower slightly behind that, would do a better job of centering the payload.

Heavy weight, in a dory, spread out to the ends, makes an unstable boat. Older (move down)
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