Latest Toccoa Drift Boat

We would like to introduce our latest drift boat, the Toccoa. Finished in Northern White Oak, painted with Interlux Perfection Jade Mist Green on the Hull, Off-White interior with Grey Heavy Duty Raptor Urethane floor coating. It is outfitted with Sawyer Smoker 9′ Oars, Dierks Anchoring system with Foot Release and 24 lb. Tornado Anchor. Look for us on the Hiwassee River this coming Sunday and Monday.

Interior Overview of Toccoa Drift Boat

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.

Sand, clean, tape, prime, repeat… 5 times. It is said 75% of a successful paint job is the preparation, and there is a lot of it. Today was this first day of painting the interior, beginning with the first of many coats of Primer. We use Interlux InterProtect® 2000E Barrier Coat. This creates an overlapping barrier to eliminate any direct path for water migration and helps the top coat to bind with the substrate layers.

Interlux InterProtect® 2000E

The final interior coat will be an Off-White with a Gray interior Sole, this should make the varnished Northern White Oak pop.

Measuring out the Primer

To Power or Not to Power, that is the question…and a very brief history of the McKenzie River Drift Boat.

Bob Pritchett Running a Rapid Photo courtesy of Steve Pritchett, taken from Drift Boats and River Dories by Roger L. Fletcher

The McKenzie River in Western Oregon and subsequently the Rouge River were first discovered by white men from the Pacific Fur Company of 1810. Settlers then migrated into the McKenzie River area around the mid-1800s. By the end of the 19th century, fishermen became drawn to the river from tales of rainbow trout rising to mayfly, caddis-fly and stonefly hatches and the sounds of trout slapping the surface in a frenzy to attack the evening hatch. To take advantage of this frenzy, flat-bottom row boats with limited freeboard were first used. Thus began the tradition of fishing guides who became known for the boating skills. These flat-bottom rowboats, while suitable to the calmer sections of the river, we quite a challenge to manage on the rougher, more rock strewn sections of the river. By the 1920s, professional guides began to modify their boats to make them lighter, more maneuverable, and easier to portage. This was the infancy of the Drift Boat we know today. From Veltie Pruitt and Prince Helfrich, Woodie Hindman, Jerry Biggs, Glen Wooldridge and Bob Prichett, the McKenzie River Drift boat evolved through trial and error and as a conscience effort to not only improve the design to handle what the rivers of Western Oregon had to offer, but to increase the comfort and safety of those clients that paid good money to be shown the beauty of these river while catching fish. Though fisherman on the Lower Rouge River used motors on their boats to maximize their catch and get it to market quicker, it wasn’t until 1915 when Glen Wooldridge hitched a ride on a mail boat from Gold Beach up to Agness that a motor on boats that ran the upper rivers was even considered. After that trip Glen Wooldridge became obsessed with fine tuning his craft to both accommodate a motor, while keeping its ability to manage the rougher waters of the upper river. Hence, the powered Drift Boat was born. For those nay-sayers that argue a powered drift boat goes against tradition, well, there is at least a 100 years of tradition right here.

So what does a powered Drift Boat offer? How about launching at a put-in and powering up river to your favorite spot, then “drifting” back down river to your take-out/put-in spot? Or motoring through sections of the river you know aren’t as active to get to the prime locations? The list could go on. With today’s much quieter 4 stoke motors and a jet drive system, the serenity of a shallow, rocky river is quite accessible to a Power Drifter.

So, what are your thoughts? Let us know below.

Would you be interested in a Powered Drift Boat?

SCARF….SCARF, SCARF, SCARF..SCARF

Scarfing, oh the joys of joining two long pieces of wood into an even longer piece of wood. There are many methods to scarfing plywood; The traditional, hand plane method, the Belt Sander method, the circular-saw-on-a-jig method, and the Router Jig method. We’ve tried them all. With the wood layers as a guide, all work, though some more labor intensive than others. We’ve just recently acquired a new Shaper Origin, which is a Hand Held CNC router and when it comes to our next scarf, we’ll try that method. The goal of a good scarf is a nice, even slope that will match the other piece of wood you intend to join. The more gradual the slope, the more contact area for a theoretically stronger joint. It’s recommended to have your scarf taper at at least an 8 to 1 ratio of wood thickness and sometimes even a 12 to 1. We use the 8 to 1 ratio and haven’t had any issues.

The faint line is a guide for what we want the scarf to end as.

This is an example of an 8 to 1 ratio laid out on two ½” sheets of Hydrotek Meranti plywood we’ll be using for the bottom panel of the boat we’re working on now.

As mentioned previously, the Hand Plane method yields good result. Just use the plywood layers as a guide and keep everything nice and even. Once you’re just about to your mark, switch to a sander to help even things up.

Hand Planing Plywood for a Scarf Joint

All done. the layers are nice and even, and a little sanding with the block sander evened it out nice.

The Edges are set together with thickened epoxy
Clamped and weighted for the night
A nice, tight, joint, ready for sanding and any light fairing that may be needed.

With the Hand Router Scarfing Sled from Woodhaven we’re now able to scarf all the sheets for one boat. Set up with an 8 to 1 ration and a 2 ½” Planer Bit the scarfing jig makes nice scarfs. There is still some cleanup work to be done with a sander, but it sure is a time saver.

Here we are set up for two ⅜” sheets for the side panels and two ½” sheets for the bottom panel of one boat.

So, there you have it. While we can achieve outstanding results using the Hand Plane or the Scarfing jig, we are anxiously awaiting our next scarf and using the Shaper Origin for a precise CNC Lap joint and smooth finish.

Keep checking back for more of our journey building our Drift Boat company.

There is no limit to your IMAGINATION!

We at Reliance Wood Craft, LLC are excited to announce a new tool to our workshop. The Shaper Origin. The Shaper Origin is a Hand Held CNC Router that will not only help increase production, but help ensure consistent quality. It will also allow us to do more intricate and once demanding inlays and other cool design elements that will give our boats even more of a wow factor. So your imagination is our only limitation. We are looking forward to see what challenges you, the customer, has in store for us.

Let us build your legacy.

Super Excited

The first boat is nearly complete. Steve has been putting in extra hours while I had to head back to work offshore in the Gulf of Mexico to replenish the “kitty”. We’ve asked our good friend and local Professional Guide “Tic” to take her out, with us of course, to put her through the paces. I should be home soon, we have a few more items to tidy up, then we’ll hit the river. We decided to wait on paint and interior finishes until the “Float Test” to make sure we don’t have to change anything or keep the scuffs on the shiny new boat to a minimum. Once complete, this boat will make its rounds to several local guides before being sold. By the way, if you are interested in a new, hand-crafted Drift Boat, this one is for sale. Please contact myself or Steve to ask about the great deal or click below to email us at info@rwcboats.com.