So I want to build a Dory.... - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-26-2010   #1
yakrafter's Avatar
Whitewater Boater, Boating Whitewater
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 162
So I want to build a Dory....

And was looking for some input.

1. Does anyone have a offsets (heights and widths for tops and bottoms of stations) and station (frame) spacing for their favorite Dory design? I have a few designs but they are all New England coastal Dories and they seem narrow to me (say 4'6" on an 15'6" OAL).

2. In modest whitewater, what are the benefits of a flat bow/stern vs. a pointed one.

3. Of course I could use plywood, but seems like if I could use a durable plastic sheet material for the hull, it would be great, any suggestions on material and source? I would need 3 pieces, something like 3'x16'x1/8-1/4" thick and the ability to bond seams effectively (for water, not structure). Could use 8' long sheets and piece it if I had to.

4. And if someone has done this and has anything else to offer, please feel free.

I am thinking this would be a class 2-3 bigger water boat.


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Old 05-26-2010   #2
Palisade, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 192
Howdy- I have a pal here in Palisade who hand built a beautiful dory. Give a call and I'll get you his ph#

cheers chris 970.799.0297
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Old 05-26-2010   #3
Chief Niwot's Avatar
West of Boulder, Colorado
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Posts: 684
See if you can buy a plastic blank hull from Boulder Boat Works.
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Old 05-26-2010   #4
class 3 felon's Avatar
pine, Colorado
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Join Date: May 2008
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I could bore ya' for hours talking drift boats as I just built one, a 14' Rapid Robert-square ender. I would say you DEFINATELY need to buy Roger Fletcher's book "Drift Boats and River Dories" it has all you need to know including history, techniques and plans for at least 6-8 different boats. Also check out Wooden Boat People - By as it is a great source to ask questions and recieve feedback on the building process, plus the photo gallery has endless pictures of awesome boats. As for me I built the biggest boat I could in my basement as a test run and managed to keep it under $1000 and it floats and is a hell of a fishing machine. I hope to built a 16' double ender next winter. Get the book and have fun building and feel free to ask me questions and I can at least tell you what not to do or use as I tend to learn a lot from my failures. Here's a pic or two of The Hanna Platte.

Tip #1 Don't fiberglass in the basement or it could lead to lots of trouble with the wife- that shit stinks
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Old 05-26-2010   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 132

Some years back a friend and I built a 14.5 foot dory using a pattern from Glen L Designs. I think we bought the plans or $40, which was nice as it had life sized templates for the transom, stem, etc... We used marine plywood and oak. I'm sure a less-dense harder wood would also suffice.

Anyway, the boat seems to be pretty standard in terms of specs, certainly with a narrower transom than the squareback in the pictures above, but still very stable.

You could check into polyethylene plastic sheets like the plastic they use for boxes and terrain park features at ski areas through Motion Industries.
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Old 05-26-2010   #6
Palisade, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 298
do what class three felon suggests. buy Fletcher's book, and check out the forum. and add this one to your sources:
Phorum :: Drift Boat Building
ass-load of info on them forums...

after a little research I think you'll go with wood, or scrap the idea all together. Like somebody suggested, BoulderBoatWorks makes (made?) a whitewater dory out of plastic, but I heard they quit,,,thats the only plastic boat I've heard of.

chris, thanks for the compliment, unless you were talking about your other friend in Palisade that built a dory...
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Old 05-26-2010   #7
DurangoSteve's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
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Class 3 - handsome looking boat!
You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you. - Heraclitus of Ephesus
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Old 05-26-2010   #8
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 134
Plastic boats

BoulderBoatWorks makes (made?) a whitewater dory out of plastic, but I heard they quit,,,thats the only plastic boat I've heard of.

That is not true! Hog Island Boatworks up here in Steamboat makes an awesome plastic driftboat. It is rotomoleded HDPE like a kayak and is a realy dream to row on the river. I know that Johnny sells his blem hulls sometimes. You might check with him and see if he has any to unload if you really want a plastic boat. They sure are a lot quieter than fiberglass and wood when you bump the rocks.

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Old 05-26-2010   #9
Rainy Northwest, Washington
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 501

Roger Fletcher is an indispensable resource:

Home of the original McKenzie and Rogue River drift boat models

His site has links to several other good dory listserves.
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Old 05-27-2010   #10
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 493
Boulder Boat Works does indeed sell hull kits...

Do It Yourself Drift Boat Kits - Build Your Own Custom Driftboat | Drift Boats, Boat Kits, Fly Fishing Driftboats, River Dory | Boulder Boat Works, Inc.

These are thermo welded HDPE plastic hulls that are indestrucatable. Get the durability of a plastic hull and the beauty of a wood boat all in one sweet package. I've been rowing a Boulder Boat Works drift boat for about 4 years now and wouldn't trade it for anything. Andy is an amazing designer and craftman and stands behind his product 100% (like lifetime warranty against leaks and punctures, if the hull ever leaks Andy will fix for free.)

Heres some pic's of completed boats from Andy's web site, my boat id shown in the upper 3 photos (with the rope seats.) These are examples of Andy's fine craftsmanship, not mine.

Boulder Boat Works, Inc. - Custom Drift Boat Features Page #1

I have broadsided large boulders in this boat with enough force to break some of the inner wood struts. At first there was a big dent in the hull, by morning the plastic had returned to its origonal shape and all I could find was a small scratch at the point of impact. In a wood sided boat I would have been rebuilding the hull river side...

Unfortunatly the cost of the HDPE sheeting and the cost of the thermo welding equitpment put building your own hull beyond most Do-it-yourselfer's. The manufactor required minumum orders of 100 sheets and the plastic welding equiptment runs around $2000. ( I wanted to use the material to make a dry box & custom cooler, so I looked into it..)

Andy used to make a Grand Canyon River Dory with double thick sides, full top deck and an electric sump. He stopped making them on spec because demand was low, I bet he would still make one as a custom order.

I've seen the roto-molded boats out of Steamboat, very durable but definatly second place in aesthetics compared to the Boulder Boatworks dory's.
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