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Trout boat under construction


Stein

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Since I bought my second home in Arkansas on Bull Shoals I wanted a Ozarks-sytle flat bottom boat for trout fishing the White River. I'm going to buy a proper boat with a 40hp jet motor when I semi-retire in four years but I wanted something I could use in the meantime without having a brand new boat languishing in the garage, used half a dozen times a year.

I found plans for Jim Michalak's Ozarkian and jumped in.

It's an inexpensively built boat designed to float the rivers without power.  Kyle from www.longboatoutfitters.com has a couple but he uses his as designed, just drifting and steering with a paddle while fishing. It's 20' long and as designed 34" wide. I emailed Jim about a couple of changes and he approved. I added 6" to the width of the sole and increased the thickness of the transom to accommodate a 4 hp motor so I can drift down while fishing and then motor back to the boat ramp to avoid having to position another vehicle at the takeout ramp downstream which is inconvenient at best and difficult when I am solo without hiring a service.

It's being built with lumber yard BCX sanded plywood and will be epoxy coated and then painted inside and out with premium latex house paint.

I started it last week and hope to finish by the end of May for my next trip down the first of June. I got all of the frames fitted and it is now apart getting epoxy coated.  The bottom will be glassed and sealed with graphite-filled epoxy.

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The old Ozark johnboat builders usually used clear pine planks, 8 inches wide by whatever length the boat was, for the sides and bottom...often were able to get planks wide enough for one of them to serve as an entire side.  Good luck trying to find that quality pine lumber these days.

20 footers were somewhat typical for the White River, and often the boats were longer, 24 feet or so.  On streams like the Gasconade and Meramec, the boats were usually shorter.  And since the Gasconade and Meramec were outside the region that grew the most shortleaf pine, they often used a series of short planks running crosswise on the bottom, rather than lengthwise.  Once good plywood became available, though, most of them turned to using it instead of the increasingly difficult and expensive clear pine planks.

The flat bottom made them stable, the length made them able to haul heavy loads, and the rocker made them relatively easy to paddle.  You just didn't try to get anywhere very fast with the paddle, because they were SLOW.  Which is why a lot of river guides liked a 5-10 hp outboard hanging off the back in case they had to cover some water in a hurry to get to the night's campsite or the take-out.  They'd use it to run through slow pools, and lift it out of the water to paddle through the shoals.

I've always found it really cool to see boats modeled after the old johnboats, and I think it's really cool to build one.  Can't wait to see how it turns out!

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48 minutes ago, Ham said:

What are you planning on using a trailer?

Ah, that was going to be tomorrow's post as I don't have a picture of it.  Back in March I was down at the house and went to Parkview Pizza in Flippin to pick up a pizza and there was a trailer for sale for sale a couple miles south of my place.  It's a homebuilt riverboat trailer but has a Ranger axle with oil filled hubs on it and sprung pretty light which I will need as it's a 250 lb boat when complete, add 70 for motor and equipment.  I could bounce on it with my weight and the trailer would move a couple inches.  Should be about right.  I took it for a test drag while they were making my pizza as there was no way I was going to drag a lightweight 20' homebuilt boat trailer home if it wouldn't go over 50 mph empty.  Test drag went fine, got up to 65 on the bypass and it tracked great.  Quick hub feel showed one a tick warm but not bad.  Tires were crap.  It had no lights.  He wanted $250.  I offered $100.  He balked and I told him that if a tire blew or a bearing seized up on the 500 mile trip home I was willing risk walking away from the $100, pull the trailer off the truck and leave it.  He agreed.

Got it back to the house and checked the hubs and virtually no oil.  Taped on a new set of trailer lights from Walmart as there were no mounts.  Topped the hubs off and then thought about the tires.  Since it was a Ranger axle I figured the bolt pattern was the same.  Tried my spare from my Ranger and it fit fine.  As we were heading home the next morning and was leaving my bass boat as I was coming back in two weeks I jacked up the boat and took off another tire.  So I had full hubs, taped on lights and two new tires.  Drug it home with no issues.  Hubs are stone cold after hours at 75.  Even the side bunks are exactly 2" wider than the finished boat and it came with two sets of carpeted bottom bunks so I will move them to match the new bottom 1x4 strakes that are epoxied onto the bottom.

Picked up two new 14" tires last week at Walmart on sale for $34 each and mounted them at my buddy's house.  Add the cost of the lights and I'm into a trailer with new everything for $200.  I need to re-weld a couple of sketchy welds and slap on a coat of black farm implement enamel.  It was on sale for $25 a gallon.

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The more I read of this, the better I like it. Please keep posting.

 

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I read that article Al when I was researching them and as much as I wanted to do a true traditional build the difficulty in finding clear lengths cannot be underestimated, as well as being expensive when they were found.  With the material, epoxy, fiberglass for sheathing the bottom and fiberglass tape for the joints, paint and trailer I should have right at $1,000 into it and $200 for the little 4hp.

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1 minute ago, rps said:

The more I read of this, the better I like it. Please keep posting.

 

Building this on a budget, not because I have to but I find a perverse pleasure in doing so.  It's the farm upbringing I guess.  Now, before someone says I could have bought a manufactured river bot for $1,500 and it was already done I know I could and have seen some on Craiglist, but what's the fun in that?  I love building things.  This is also my learning project for a more ambitious one to learn  the epoxy and fiberglass side as well as picking up some more woodworking tools.  I hesitate to post this but the next project is a mahogany Barrelback 19 runabout.

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I really like oil filled hubs. I'm sure there is a reason that the industry hasn't adopted them, but very functional and very easy and inexpensive to maintain. 

Every Saint has a past, every Sinner has a future. On Instagram @hamneedstofish

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