The UHMW skid shoe is the best thing that has
ever happened to the wooden drift boat. Ultra high
molecular weight plastic (UHMW) was designed as an
abrasion resistant surface for use in the lumber
industry. Chains and conveyors ride on this
material, outlasting steel in that application.
Attached to wooden drift boats, this slick stuff
makes your boat impervious to the abrasion of river
rock and gravel bars. The first time I put UHMW on
a boat I slipped it off the trailer, leaving it on
a concrete launching ramp. I left to move the
trailer and when I looked back it had started
sliding down the ramp so fast I had to turn and run
The skid shoe is attached to the bottom of the boat
with stainless steel screws. The same simple tools
used to build the boat are used. The plywood boat
bottom is properly sealed before the UHMW goes on,
eliminating any moisture problems.
The water that enters between two layers when
you're on the river will flow out again when you
drain your boat on the ramp. No caulking or sealer
is used between the UHMW and the boat, as nothing
will stick to UHMW.
We recommend UHMW for all boats twelve foot long
and greater. We sell four foot wide by ten foot
long (five foot wide for the seventeen foot and
larger drift boats) sheets of brown UHMW. There is
enough to cover the whole bottom on a twelve or
fourteen footer, and nearly enough for the sixteen
through seventeen and one half models. The UHMW for
those models fits from the forward-most frame (the
knee brace frame) all the way back under the
transom. The cutting scraps generated from cutting
out the silhouette of the bottom must be used on
the last foot or two under the transom area behind
the main sheet. A UHMW piece to fit forward of the
knee brace rib called a "front triangle" is
available if desired, for total bottom coverage.
Two pages of instructions and enough stainless
screws to do the job are included to install UHMW.
The UHMW "kit" also includes two 10-foot strips to
cap off the edges of the plastic. These are screwed
to the chine battens (the oak strip on the very
lowest edge of the side). Extra strips, if desired,
beyond the two which come with the "kit" are sold
separately. The addition of one extra (optional) strip will completely cover the chine
Full sheets of UHMW are too large to be sent by UPS and instead must be
consigned to a freight company. Therefore, it is rarely economical to
ship a UHMW sheet unless it is being included with a full driftboat kit.