Third Coast Boatbuilding: A Fly Fishing Drift Boat


Woodworker and avid fly fisherman, Chris Schoenberg of Third Coast Craftsman, is building himself a hybrid drift boat. He’s combining two designs to build himself a drifter that he can attach a motor to, expanding his options for boating on rivers and lakes in his home state of Michigan. Chris starts his first wooden boat build with some help from an experienced boatbuilder friend, but he’s no stranger to working with wood and epoxy. Chris is taking a page from our pal, Louis Sauzedde, and is giving us a series of videos about his build and is doing a nice job explaining and filming his work along the way. Chris is up to episode 3, so you can catch up quickly and see some good progress on the construction of his strong back, the keelson, and the transom. Enjoy! 



9 responses to “Third Coast Boatbuilding: A Fly Fishing Drift Boat

  1. You are an incredible artist — It’s clear that you love wood, and the wood loves what you create !!

  2. Nicely done but not much info in each video. Well not that actually just seems to be not a lot gets done in the time. Seems that there will be a lot of parts to get this boat done. Still fun to watch and it does teach some. Looking forward to the rest.

  3. Extremely interesting. I build radio controlled boats and already see some improvements I can make in my hobby. Besides, this is VERY interesting to watch.

  4. Here is a slide show I made of a “Mckenzie River Driftboat” under construction. It is nearly 20 years old. I am adding this to the comments, because this method requires no strong back. Also, no lofting is required. It is faster method than building on a strong back. The boat pictured in this article seems to be a good one for Michigan waters. It has a more level rocker. In the NW, mountains are higher, thus the rivers flow faster and rapids can be very challenging. For our waters, more rocker on the bottom is needed for quick turns in heavy waves. http://www.gregboats.com/slideshow/photo_1.html

  5. Wonder if you might give us your take on using epoxy with white oak?
    Seems to be two schools of thought on this with ongoing debate.

  6. I used to be a West System dealer. I love the stuff. However, I normally used it only to coat fir plywood prior to construction, and glue. As a finish for white oak pieces, like the inner chines and outer battens, I use several coats of a good varnish with a UV filter. Fir plywood is a great strong material, but it checks (cracks) over time. Epoxy would help, but not cure the problem. Driftboats tend to be light enough that they can and should be stored in the garage when not in the river. The boat in the face page was built in 1997. Mostly stored in the garage. Does that answer your question?

  7. Some serious testing was done a while back by the boys at West System Epoxy. There results should be available if you log on to the Epoxy Works web site. I personally have mixed mahogany and white oak in a boat I’m building. Been thru two winter / summer cycles and is holding very well.

  8. Chris, perhaps you didn’t show the whole process, but it looked like you just used unthickened epoxy as your adhesive, and only applied to one surface. Epoxy is a much stronger adhesive when thickened, with cabosil, or wood flour (I use both). And for hardwood I’d paint on a little unthickened to penetrate first, to both surfaces, and then mix in some thickener (in your pot) to use for the “glue”. About the consistency of jam.
    Thanks for sharing your project with us. Nice video!

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