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Old 12-26-2015   #11
Northern, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2
When adding an aluminum deck and bulkheads to a drift boat, weight probably doubles or at least ups by a third. I wish my boat was only 300#! That would make getting them onto boundary creek and similar ramps less of a major chore. There's a lot to be said for those feather weight models.

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Old 12-29-2015   #12
Spokane Valley, Washington
Paddling Since: 1966
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 10
There are a few folks that make dories for use on the Colorado. Some are using a foam core or honeycomb material. These materials are encapsulated in fiberglass and epoxy, most commonly in a stitch and glue format. Decking is of the same materials but occasionaly plywood. There are also plywood decked dories being built too. It is a very small marketplace, not many built per year. It takes a fair amount of time money and labor to build a quality boat. New decked dories can cost $12,000 to $15,000. That does take into account oars, trailer, coolers, etc.

A few individuals also build their own decked dories and some replicate the boats that first floated down the Grand canyon. an even smaller segment of boaters. More people build their own boats from plywood with frames or stitch and glue.

Check out and to follow who is doing what. It isn't easy to find specific information unless you are savvy at using the search functions on each site.

Brad Dimock is a master builder that works on wooden river boats, both replicas and Grand Canyon River capable dories. fretwaterlines is the link to his blog. He just finished a nice dory.

There is a seemingly nice decked dory for sale now on too.


Drift Boat Rick
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Old 01-02-2016   #13
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 35
both are considered dory, a drift boat is usually for fishing with some to none of self bailing capacity. A whitewater dory is decked and has mostly hatches and is self bailing.

There are a handful of wooden dory builders, Andy Hutchinson in Dolores CO, Flagstaff, and upper Northwest. Most all these guys/gal (Kelly Neu) use wooden composite/fiberglass.

A dory is a glorified kayak ride with hatches, it is also the most "sensitive" boat in whitewater. You must be extremely good at the oars, and often sneak options are not an option. They are also limited to med to high flows and certain rivers.

Buying a kit is great, expect to spend 100 plus hours or more.

The late Derald Stewart/Canonita Dories built 100 or so boats and often you can find his boats for sale. He passed in the mid 2000's.

I built some fiberglass hulls back in the day from molds at 4CRS, but the composites took off instead. Alum is loud and klunky, wood is beautiful and fixable.

I have had a wooden dory for 25 years now, its my preferred boat. Yet one must own a raft for low water years.

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