Northwest River Dory: 15′ 8″ with transom

This is the first design that I’m planning put out there- a virtual carbon copy of my original dory, Wallowa. She is a spin off from the smaller Grand Canyon dories that a number of builders have brought to the Pacific Northwest. The design is aimed at rivers like the main and lower main Salmon, Snake, Grande Ronde, John Day, Deschutes, and Rogue. It still has the volume and tracking for the Colorado and other big water runs, but is a bit smaller and more maneuverable. It also is optimized for nesting the parts on plywood, and uses 4 different thicknesses in order to save on weight. The main hull is Meranti Hydrotek marine grade plywood with locally sourced Oregon Ash gunnels, a fir or ash bowpost, and aluminum hinges and oar towers. Depending on hatch configuration there will be carbon / wood tab closures and Southco latches

The initial thought is to offer a set of plans, printable on a 48″ plotter that could be traced onto plywood. It will be available this way for a few months, probably on a donation basis since there won’t be a full builder manual yet. The aim of being up and running for CNC cut plywood kits with a full builders manual summer 2022. At that point, plans may still be available, but not for sure. Printing 48″ widths is difficult and the time and cost savings of CNC joinery are hard to beat.

I’ve personally built and rowed this boat for over 10 years and still love it. To me it’s the perfect balance in size. Mine has a slightly narrower bottom, but otherwise the same dimensions. I also love the “half well” in the stern, instead of a full foot well. This makes it both fully self bailing from the bow footwell aft, increases the structural rigidity, allowing for lighter materials, and makes getting in and out of the boat easier when pulled up on a beach. Some friends built another boat to this design last year, “Free Willy,” which helped with some refinement.

Future plans include 3 additional sizes, all available as CNC cut kits. These are a 15’8″ double ender, a 14′ with transom, and a 14′ double ender. To me these are the unmet middle sizes, between the bigger, more traditional boats and designs offered elsewhere, and the smaller chubster boats that have become popular. All of the designs will share the flat bottom section characteristic of a Rogue or Grand Canyon dory, at least partial self bailing and decks, and plywood composite stitch and glue construction. I plan to build the 14′ double ender to use as a demo boat for the builder’s manual.

Here’s a final photo of the original boat, Wallowa, on the Lower Salmon river in Idaho. More renderings and photos are available in the last blog post.