Do-It-Yourself ProjectsOutdoor Fun

Wooden Drift Boat Plans from Butler Projects

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By Ron

I have decided I want to build my first wooden drift boat using plans from Butler Projects.

I am going to build the Maxi-Mac because it answers most of my “most of” questions.

I first learned of Paul Butler and Butler Projects in the pages of Outdoor Life Magazine  years ago.

Paul’s site has plans for all sorts of things from a child’s rocking horse to a cabin.

But mostly, he’s a boat guy.

Paul writes:

I am primarily a wood boat builder. I was fortunate to serve a traditional wood boatbuilding apprenticeship, building plank on frame workboats and yachts, from design and lofting phase right through to mast and spars and final finish, and I worked with a number of talented European shipwrights doing repair, modification, new construction and on custom projects.

A Look At The Maxi-Mac

So, let’s look at the boat I want to build.

According to Paul, the Maxi-Mac is their most popular boat. I don’t doubt it.

It’s lightweight, will handle 3 people and gear easily. It floats high and should be an inexpensive build the way I intend to go about it.  Not a lot of extra fancy stuff that raise both weight and cost factors.

I am thinking of modifying this version.

See the center console?

I am thinking of making 2 side consoles instead. Side consoles long enough to put fly rods and other gear into.

I’ve seen them on many boats like that and I like the way it clears the center floor space of the boat. I’ll have to check with the designer to make sure it isn’t going to mess up anything else. Don’t see why it would though. Course, I ain’t no boat designer.


The first thing I need to do is get the plans in my hands and read them front to back. Maybe write a list of questions I have, and research out where I can find the materials locally if possible.  The plans include sources for all of the materials via mail order as well.

I have encountered a little setback pertaining to workspace though.

I’m in temporary housing from now through April. I thought I was going to be able to start this boat here in the garage of this house, but it is not heated and the landlord will not allow me to install a heater in there.  Trying to work with epoxy in sub-freezing temperatures just doesn’t work out so I’m onto Plan B.

I’m all set to close on a little house with a garage at the end of April.  That garage is not heated but shouldn’t need heat come the first of May. If I do need to install a heater, it will be okay with me. In this part of Montana though, we should be through the long cold spells by then. At least inside of a garage. I’ll just have to wait to start building until then.

After reviewing the plans I may go ahead and order some materials so they will be ready as soon as I get moved.  I’ll also post some pictures of the plans as soon as I can get that worked out.

I have read several comments by Paul’s previous customers.  Many times they say something like thanks for helping me along the way.

Paul sent me a note recently via email when I inquired about the plans. He told me that if I had questions along the way, just to drop him an email and he’d help out. I like that, especially for a first time boat builder.

Come on May!!

Sharp Hooks and Tight Lines,