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Building a Stitch and Glue Plywood-Fiberglass Drift Boat

written by: Asheesh • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 10/31/2010

If you want to make your own drift boat, you will need to follow a plan and the steps described in this article. Here described is how to start making the boat and what is necessary during the construction.

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    What are Drift Boats?

    The design of a drift boat is similar to the design of a dory, and they are used basically by fishermen in rivers. Oars are used to power the boat. Aluminum, fiberglass, and wood are used to construct it. However, wood is commonly used to construct such types of boats in order to reduce the cost.

    The stitch and glue method is very common and most popular method to construct drift boats. This method is so called because flexible wires are used to stitch the parts of the boat. After stitching the parts, epoxy glue is used to held different parts together correctly. This is a slow, but not difficult, job. Be sure to allocate plenty of time to get it finished.

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    Use the Plywood Sheet

    First, you will need to work on the plywood sheets before starting construction.Drift Boat  

    • You will need a large work area for positioning the plywood sheets.
    • Follow the plans and mark each and every required part on the plywood using a pen.
    • Now, cut all the marked pieces on the plywood sheet by jigsaw. You should use sawhorses to perform this job.
    • Try to save some of your sawdust. It will be used later in the process.

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    Manage and Attach the Pieces

    • Place the side pieces on the sawhorses.
    • Use cordless drill to drill holes, and drill 1/8-inch holes at the bow and stern of each side piece. The distance between two holes should be 1 inch.
    • Place the pieces according to bow and stern so that the drilled holes must be aligned to each other.
    • You will need 10-gauge wire for stitching different parts. Cut the wire into 4-inche long pieces using wire cutter.
    • Use these pieces to stitch aligned holes using pliers.
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    Attach Framing to the Sides of the Boat

    • Drill 1/8-inch holes in the framing and adjacent sides of the boat.
    • Use the wire pieces similar to previous, and stitch the frame to the sides of the boat through drill holes.
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    Attach the Base

    • Turn the stitched boat on the sawhorses to work for attaching base of the boat.
    • Place the bottom pieces of the boat over the framing and sides.
    • Attach the bottom pieces by drilling holes on the bottom pieces, sides and frame, and using wire pieces similar to the previous steps.

    Now it should look like a boat that is stitched together with wire pieces. That's exactly what you want.

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    Make the Epoxy Glue Paste

    • Use the instructions provided by the manufacture.
    • Make the mixture of epoxy glue using mixing sticks.
    • Add enough quantity of sawdust to the mixture.
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    Use the Epoxy Glue Paste

    • Apply the paste to the joints of the boat using a spatula.
    • The fillet of the paste should be 1 inch wide and ½ inch deep.
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    Use the Fiberglass Cloth

    • Cut the fiberglass cloth according to the size of the interior part of the boat.
    • Fit the pieces of the fiberglass cloth to the interior part using epoxy glue paste.
    • Use enough amount of paste so that to fix each piece tightly.
    • Leave the fillet to dry. It will take 10 to 12 hours for drying.
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    Remove the Wire Pieces

    • Now, it is required to remove the wire pieces using pliers and cutters. This is because the parts of the boat have fixed due to the use of epoxy glue paste and fiberglass cloth.
    • You can attach seats to the frame using wood screws and screwdrivers.
    • It’s also important to fix any cracks or holes using fairing compound, if present.
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    And there you have it - the simplest, easiest way to build a drift boat. Good luck with it!

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    Image- Drift