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Drift Boat Project #3

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  • Drift Boat Project #3

    Here we go again.

    Taking a little road trip to Oregon this weekend to pick up a genuine piece of drift boat history – a 1960’s era Keith Steele McKenzie boat.

    This will be my third drift boat project and I am super excited to have one that was built on the banks of and used on the McKenzie River by a legendary builder!

    My first boat was an early 1990s Tatman kit that I built while living in TN and sold a few years after building it. My second one was all fiberglass of my own design and build. As many of you know, that one was stolen at Callaway Gardens a few years back.

    Now I’m living out west and it just won’t do to not have a drift boat. I have spent several months deliberating on whether to build a super nice wooden one, pick up a cheap used glass one, or look for a Woody Hindman or Keith Steele. As luck would have it, this Steele boat showed up on Craigslist and a friend, knowing I really wanted one snagged it before someone else could. An older guy in Oregon had the boat built for him by Keith Steele sometime in the 1960s after Steele gained notoriety for building the first Grand Canyon dories. He had a stroke a few years ago and realized it was time to let the old girl go.

    The boat looks all original and complete and the owner says it is solid and perfectly usable as-is but my friend and I are going to go through and restore her. But maybe we’ll do a float or two in her first.

    So what do y’all think… should I finish the whole boat with a bright finish or paint the outside? I'm leaning towards bright inside and out. If paint, what color? My first one was hunter green with a tan rub strip and bright inside. I liked that look. Also thinking of maybe a turquoise color. It currently looks to be painted white.
    Last edited by Warmouth; 07-23-15, 01:15 AM.
    Then Peter said, "I'm going fishing." The disciples replied, we're going too, and they got in the boat..." John 21:3a

    And now, I pray thee, take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field and hunt me venison. Genesis 27:3

  • #2
    http://www.woodenboatpeople.com/forum
    Last edited by Troutguy; 07-23-15, 07:02 AM.

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    • #3
      This made my morning! `Happy for you. (and oh yea....when should I plan my trip?)
      Kent
      Fly Fish GA

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      • #4
        Drift Boat Project #3

        Drooling here!

        Carl....please keep us updated with plenty of photos.

        A Steele or Hindman boat is a piece of history as you know. I wouldn't go overboard (no pun intended) with the resto. I love the patina of the old wood if it is solid. Perhaps paint the outside and varnish the inside..,.having the best of both worlds?

        Pictures please.

        PS....I didn't know about your first boat. It looks like we were building Tatman boats at about the same time.
        The Drifter

        The contents of this message might be totally inaccurate, misguided or otherwise perverse. If you are stupid enough to follow any of the tips listed here and mess up yourself or your equipment, I am absolved of all responsibility. The information contained herein is based on my personal experience and by no means constitutes the correct way to do it. Your mileage may vary.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kent View Post
          This made my morning! `Happy for you. (and oh yea....when should I plan my trip?)
          Oh, man. Thanks Kent. Your comment made my morning! As far as a visit - I hope you know you are welcomed any time. I have a fall break in October or can take a long weekend with some planning, but his time next summer might be better. What do you want to do? Plenty of good and lesser known rivers nearby. Big browns on the Owyhee, big rainbows on the South Fork of the Boise, and I am going on a 4 day backpack trip to a chain of high mountain lakes for supposedly big cutthroats on Monday. Ollie and a friend of mine are doing that. We bought a house a couple months ago and it is literally a half mile to the main Boise River. Not blue ribbon fishing - mostly stockers - but I can walk to it! I even found a nice bass lake about the size of Upper Falls five miles from my house. Come on bro!
          Last edited by Warmouth; 07-23-15, 12:20 PM.
          Then Peter said, "I'm going fishing." The disciples replied, we're going too, and they got in the boat..." John 21:3a

          And now, I pray thee, take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field and hunt me venison. Genesis 27:3

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Drifter View Post
            Drooling here!

            Carl....please keep us updated with plenty of photos.

            A Steele or Hindman boat is a piece of history as you know. I wouldn't go overboard (no pun intended) with the resto. I love the patina of the old wood if it is solid. Perhaps paint the outside and varnish the inside..,.having the best of both worlds?

            Pictures please.

            PS....I didn't know about your first boat. It looks like we were building Tatman boats at about the same time.
            Hey Steve! I thought you'd like this. I'm with you on the patina. I saw another resto project of a Steele boat where the guy stripped off the old paint and glassed over the bare wood on the outside leaving all the former repairs, black spots around the screws, etc. exposed. Kind of a rat rod of the drift boat world. It was really cool looking. I'm even tossing around the idea of making the outside look purposely rustic - kind of like the shabby chic furniture. Two or three colors of paint on top each other and sanded through in the right places. I don't know. I'll have to see what she's like once I get her home and and start messing with her. I'm open to hearing lots of ideas. I think I'm going to oil the inside. The dry climate out here makes that a pretty ideal finish.

            Here is a terrible picture of my old Tatman c. 1994. I have lots of better pics but not handy at the moment.

            Then Peter said, "I'm going fishing." The disciples replied, we're going too, and they got in the boat..." John 21:3a

            And now, I pray thee, take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field and hunt me venison. Genesis 27:3

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            • #7
              I'm glad to hear that Carl.
              Good things happening to a good guy.
              I'll be looking for pictures too.

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              • #8
                Drift Boat Project #3

                Thanks for sharing the Tatman photo. That McKenzie design is timeless. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

                On a side note...there is a new museum in Cherokee, NC....Flyfishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians.

                They have a driftboat on exhibit that is touted to be one of the first driftboats used east of the Mississippi....circa mid 1980s. I believe it is owned and on loan from Gary Taylor. I bet you've seen it on the Hi. Here it is below:

                The Drifter

                The contents of this message might be totally inaccurate, misguided or otherwise perverse. If you are stupid enough to follow any of the tips listed here and mess up yourself or your equipment, I am absolved of all responsibility. The information contained herein is based on my personal experience and by no means constitutes the correct way to do it. Your mileage may vary.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Danny View Post
                  I'm glad to hear that Carl.
                  Good things happening to a good guy.
                  I'll be looking for pictures too.
                  Thanks Danny. I'll be sure to document with photos.
                  Then Peter said, "I'm going fishing." The disciples replied, we're going too, and they got in the boat..." John 21:3a

                  And now, I pray thee, take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field and hunt me venison. Genesis 27:3

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Steve,

                    Oh yes. I know that boat well. I don't doubt it was among the first in the east. It had me coveting a drift boat way back when I was in college. I used to wait in the parking lot of HO for Gary to come off the water so I could talk with him about boat building. Gary Taylor and that boat were what led me down the dark path of drift boat obsession.

                    Gary got all of original Dry Flyer Outfitters guides together last November for the grand opening and banquet for that museum. A good time of reminiscing.
                    Then Peter said, "I'm going fishing." The disciples replied, we're going too, and they got in the boat..." John 21:3a

                    And now, I pray thee, take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field and hunt me venison. Genesis 27:3

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As a side note Carl....I have a friend, Fishmeister on this message board, that bought one of the old Clackacrafts from Charlie Smith at Hiwassee Outfitters. The boat must be 25 years old and still going strong. I have been entrusted with its well-being and still use it once or twice each winter while he's overseas.

                      There was a guy that floated the Hi back then (late 80s) using a wooden McKenzie that had a black hull with oiled interior. That boat was my inspiration. I wish I knew who that guy was....and if the boat is still around.

                      I miss the late 80's on the Hi.

                      I know a guy that can burn a mighty nice trout into the kneebrace when you're ready.

                      The Drifter

                      The contents of this message might be totally inaccurate, misguided or otherwise perverse. If you are stupid enough to follow any of the tips listed here and mess up yourself or your equipment, I am absolved of all responsibility. The information contained herein is based on my personal experience and by no means constitutes the correct way to do it. Your mileage may vary.

                      Follow me on Instagram

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                      • #12
                        When was that picture taken, Steve? Your boat looks as pristine and beautiful as new. Love that trout. Are your knee locks laminated?

                        Now that you mention it, I do remember a black boat on the Hi. There was also a young guy who was on a boat building frenzy, making new ones all the time. He kept getting them smaller and smaller. I think a 9 footer was his smallest one. He bobbed through the stairsteps like a strike indicator.

                        Is the Clacka from HO green and tan?
                        Last edited by Warmouth; 07-24-15, 12:08 AM.
                        Then Peter said, "I'm going fishing." The disciples replied, we're going too, and they got in the boat..." John 21:3a

                        And now, I pray thee, take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field and hunt me venison. Genesis 27:3

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Drift Boat Project #3

                          Yes....the Clacka is green and tan. He kept it parked under the railroad trestle for a long time. That's when I first saw your blue and white drifter. We were hooking up Frank's boat and I commented about how I liked the layout of your boat.




                          Regarding the black wooden drifter....the guy was fairly young....I'm guessing 30-ish years old. There was an NGTO member named Richard Mansker...that built a one-man driftboat and used it on the Hi. I haven't heard from him in a long time...and I know he's not the one you're speaking of.

                          Thanks for the compliments. That picture was taken last month with NGTO member Chuck Morris. Chuck did the artwork.



                          The knee braces are solid wood and were cut with a scroll saw...then routed and sanded.



                          Have a safe trip to Oregon. I'm excited for you and can't wait to see the pictures.
                          Last edited by Drifter; 07-24-15, 07:34 AM.
                          The Drifter

                          The contents of this message might be totally inaccurate, misguided or otherwise perverse. If you are stupid enough to follow any of the tips listed here and mess up yourself or your equipment, I am absolved of all responsibility. The information contained herein is based on my personal experience and by no means constitutes the correct way to do it. Your mileage may vary.

                          Follow me on Instagram

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                          • #14
                            Drifter Pic

                            Her is a pic of one we just finished with some troubled teens a few months ago. The program is called Project Drift boat.
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              Nice! Is that from a Montana Boatbuilder's plan?
                              Then Peter said, "I'm going fishing." The disciples replied, we're going too, and they got in the boat..." John 21:3a

                              And now, I pray thee, take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field and hunt me venison. Genesis 27:3

                              Comment

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