New Boatbuilder - General Information

Designs for inboard or outboard power

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New Boatbuilder - General Information

Post by gbostard » Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:13 pm

Hi all,

I'm a new boat builder - as in I've never built a boat before. I'm an intermediate woodworker, and know my way around tools and the shop. Always had a passion for boats. My inclination is to build something smaller and manageable like a gentleman's racer for my first build. But then I feel like I should build something for my growing family and that I can use for skiing and such, considering the length of time it will take me to finish (this will most certainly be a part time build). I was looking at maybe the Riviera or Tahoe, something 19' to 22'. Can you please send me your thoughts about whether someone with my skill level would be able to do this? I have the patience and am looking forward to a long term project. I'm just concerned that something like with will be way over my head. As I mentioned before, I have the shop, the tools, and the brains (I think) - I've just never built a boat before so I'm not sure what to expect. Any other first timers have some feedback? Are the models I mentioned okay for a first build?

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Thanks all!


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Re: New Boatbuilder - General Information

Post by Roberta » Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:56 pm

Welcome aboard!!! There are a lot of nice boats in the Glen L catalog. Are you interested in classic woody boat styling? The Gentry has been stretched and a forward "rumble seat" added by Neel Thompson on the forum. Great running, and looking, boat. The Riviera and Tahoe are also great looking classic style runabouts. There is a lot of help, and many builders have posted their progress, on the forum or have links to their build websites. These are cold molded designs and involve a little more work than the plywood designs like a Rampage or similar boat. If you know how to use, and have the tools, you have a great start to boat building. A good eye for fairness, a level spot for building and reference, and a good ability to conceptualize is all that is additionally needed. Pick out your dream boat and get going.

Roberta :D
Roberta "Queen of the Boat Builders"
Built Zip "Oliver IV", Super Spartan "Jimmy 70", and Torpedo "The Glen L".

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Re: New Boatbuilder - General Information

Post by Jimbob » Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:29 pm

Hi Greg,
I would suggest that you look at some of the builds that are posted on this website. You will see the progress of the different boat designs (the sequence is similar on all designs.) By looking at the pictures, you should be able to determine if it is something you feel comfortable taking on. The boats are built in stages, and lots of learning goes on with each stage that carries forward to the next stage. Check out your local hardwood suppliers to find out how much milling you will need to do. I found that I use my table saw, band saw, router, pneumatic stapler, and planer a lot. You will also be using hand tools such as planes, Japanese saws, sanding devices including sandpaper. (ug!) If you are not proficient with any of these tools, you will be! :)

Building a boat is one the most rewarding things that I have done. (and I ain't done yet!) And remember if you get stuck, there is lots of help on this forum.

Jim Neeley
Jim Neeley
Building a Barrelback in Sacramento, CA

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Re: New Boatbuilder - General Information

Post by Mark-NJ » Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:37 pm


I, too, am a new boatbuilder, having just flipped my Ski-Tow. I'm by no means in a position to give very much advice, but I will offer this word of encouragement: At every step along the way, I was concerned that I didn't understand the next step & figured failure was right around the corner. But then that step came & went, successfully. Next step: worry, study, success! Subsequent step: worry, study, success! Rinse & repeat!

If I can do it, so can you. Study the plans, give it some thought, ask questions here, google your butt off. Find a good local supplier for hardwood. Make intelligent purchases, especially with glass & epoxy. You'll do fine. Most of all, enjoy the journey: this isn't about "owning" a's about "building" a boat.

And...if you haven't sure to purchase the Glen L. Witt boatbuilding book. IMO, it's a little bit dated and would benefit from an update, but it's a wealth of info nonetheless. Buy it. The Fiberglassing book & video are great, too.

Lastly, take a ton of pictures & post them here.

Good luck!

Oh...almost forgot: however many clamps you may already own, believe me when I say "you don't have enough". C-clamps....pipe clamps....squeeze need a crapload of them.


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Re: New Boatbuilder - General Information

Post by gbostard » Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:20 am

Thank you all so much for the responses, if I had any reservations at all, they're gone now! Mark, looking good! I've got a question however - and Roberta touched on this a bit - I'm in love with the Gentlemans Runabout/Racer Design. I've always loved this look - the rear cockpit and long bow. Never thought I would be able to own a boat like this, and to build one myself would be awesome. The only issue that I'm having is that the Gentry is the only boat of it's kind available from Glen-L, and it seats only two. I'm a new dad, and I would imagine that by the time the boat is completed I may be a dad of two, so I was hoping to build something a little more family friendly (seating 4 at least).

I recognize that the boat designs featured on the Glen-L site are geared more toward amateurs, and the support through this forum is obviously incredible, but what will be the difference if I go with one of the above two plans? Has anyone built either of these? If this is probably a no-go, does anyone know of any more Glen'L plans that feature more of this type of design? Any info would help.

Thanks All!

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