Clark Fork Drifter (sorta) Build
Session 12 (kinda)
December 15, 2012
Things have really slowed down on the Clark Fork Drifter. It's
pretty much just painting now, and it only takes a few minutes to
paint. As a sufferer of AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder)
I decided we needed something to keep us busy. We've been diddling
around with Jim Michalak's QT
Skiff, with the intent of using it for a Family
(l-r) Curt, Mike, and Bob showed up on Friday night. Bob had been
putting a couple coats of primer on the boat - it looks like each
boat will take a solid gallon of primer as the bare wood just drinks
it in. Mike was there looking for plans for a Skin-on-Frame canoe
we might be developing.
We had a wee bit of finish work to do - breasthooks and final sanding
and the like.
Bob had picked up some paint at Habitat for Humanity, so we got
to painting. I buy all kinds of safety gear - even paint smocks
and gloves - but nobody except me uses them.
After we painted the QT Skiff, we gave the interior of the Clark
Fork Drifter a lick, then went for beers at the Twisted
Saturday came with a beautiful morning. Waldo wasn't anywhere to
be seen, but he's a flighty heron and I don't think he trusts me.
I'd planned on doing a experiment with not planing chine logs.
I assembled all the pieces . . .
. . . and got to this stage of the test and said "No, I'm
not going to waste all that glue filling that gap." and gave
Coots started showing up (l-r) John K brought Charlie up from Eugene,
Bob was here again, and Bob L came in from Corvallis, and even Vigil
came up from Tacknitch Lake. Jim R came up from Waldport and dropped
off a 2hp motor for us to use in our tests, but he couldn't stick
All we needed to be ready for the water was tacking the seats down
- 4 little #6 3/4" screws to hold 'em in place.
Haul out and Charlie and I got the honors of pushing her into the
water for the first time.
Ohhh, she floats nice. Everybody liked how she looked. To the best
of our ability, we weighed her at 114lbs. We'll see what we can
do to shave that down for the final design.
Our first motor to test was a 30lbs thrust Minn Kota. In full water
gear, I weigh 210lbs and the 50lbs battery is located just forward
from where I am sitting.
Bob weighs 160lbs - the trim here is just about perfect. We sustained
3.3mph with the throttle full open.
Our next test was with a 2hp Johnson 2-stroke. The motor weighed
25lbs and you can see we are sitting a little lower in the stern
and riding a little higher in the bow. We sustained an average speed
of 5.0mph with two people and the 2hp.
Someone wanted to know how it'd go with only one person, so I took
a stick and taped it to the tiller and gave it a go.
The stick let me get about 3' in front of the motor, but you can
see the bow is even further out of the water - the stern is digging
in and I could only maintain 4.5mph.
Next was a 5hp Nissan 4-stroke, which weighed in at 57lbs. It was
a little more difficult to get mounted correctly and required a
lot of supervision.
She motored slowly and carefully out - John could have trimmed
her a little better by turning around and either facing sideways
John opened her up and did a "Pass and Review" She was
scooting along nicely.
Trim is not working well. The motor is doing it's job and the boat
was sliding over the water wonderfully, but the transom was digging
You can see it better here with Bob and I. We were getting great
speeds, but the weight distribution (read: placement of the forward
seat) could be improved.
Back in the Boathouse, we discussed seat placement. Lots of brainstorming
and tossing ideas against the wall. In the end, we decided to move
the forward seat forward by about a foot.
And after talking, what better than eating at Pig
We'll start our final prototype soon: Same length and width, but
optimizing the for weight and strength. Our biggest change will
be moving the forward seat forward about a foot - straddling the
side and bottom seams. It'll make it so the person sitting in the
front is a 'little' cramped, but it's not bad, and the payoff (flattening
out the trim) is huge. We'll also be trimming the wales and skids
from 3/4" to 1/2" (saves 12lbs.)