Drifter 16' by Aaron Witmer of Hillsboro, Oregon

9 June 2007

I am a first time boat builder and I must confess I was a little intimidated when the plans came. I made the right decision and joined a local wooden boat builders club, Rivers West. These guys are great. I was able to rent shop space for $45 a month. These guys gave me pointers as I got started on building the forms. The shop was a little out of the way for me to work on it as often as I would like, so I ended up taking the project home and with little help or guidance from others I am now able to work fine. The terminality or lingo makes sense now and I am able to follow the easy to understand instructions. Following are the step by step progress of the construction.

Building form with keel and stem attached

The chine and bottom battens

Attaching the inner sheer to the breasthook.

This step was one of the greatest challenges for me. Every time I tried to bend the inner sheer to attach to the breasthook it would break on me. I was trying to do it without steaming the wood. I thought building a steamer would be too hard. The cost of vertical grain Doug-fir breaking was adding up. I ended up looking up plans to build a steamer. I got them online at http://www.geocities.com/bawanewsletter/steambox/steambox.html. Donít waste time and money, build a steam box!

I also ran into problems trying to plane the sheer while it was under the pressure of the bend. At first I was using a hand planer but the blade would catch a grain and run with it. I figured that I would then buy a powered hand planer and try that thinking that would make a difference, well this did not either. The best way to shape the inner sheer and chine while on the form would be a rough grit sandpaper on a belt sander.

Steam goes into the pipe and you place wood within to make it bendable