Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedback

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Glen-L Marine Designs - 9152 Rosecrans Ave. - Bellflower, CA 90706

In this issue

GLEN-L Update

My how the months fly by! It's almost Spring and I'm sure many thoughts are turning to just how soon we can get our boats out on the water. At Glen-L we are eager to hear about all of your adventures, both in constructing and in enjoying your boats out on the water.
This month's WebLetter holds a lot of interesting content, because several of you have sent in articles for everyone to enjoy...

  • Gayle has written a tribute to her wonderful mother
  • Ken Schott sent in a great story involving his Double Eagle
  • Greg Kelso and the Land of Lincoln Power Squadron's experiences with their Tubby Tug
  • John Downing's confession about... well, you should read it for yourself...
I'm sure you'll agree with us at Glen-L that what really makes this WebLetter special are the contributions of folks just like you. We hope many more of you will honor us and all of our readers by writing a paragraph or two about something you've found interesting and sending it to us for a future WebLetter.

Until next month . . .      

In Memory of My Mother…
Vera Irene Witt

by Gayle Brantuk


yes, "Mrs. Marine", as she was called at times throughout the years, has passed away. Since the family business name is Glen-L Marine after Dad's name, many assumed mom's last name to be "Marine"…

My mom was the best mom in the world, as I must have told her a hundred times. She came from a large family of eight children of which there were two sets of twins and mom was one of them. She and her sister Vena were fraternal twins which means they didn't really look anything like each other but they were very close. The other set of twins was Uncles Billy and Bobby and they are identical mirror twins. Mom would say it was like looking into a mirror-one was right-handed, one was left-handed.

Mom grew up in the small rural town of Pawnee Rock, Kansas where she went through school, finishing up High School in Bremerton, Washington. Mom and Vena moved to Oceanside, California after high school and got jobs as operators for the phone company.

Years later, Mom was working at a drugstore when she finally met my father. At that time, she was divorced with a young 6-year old daughter, Janet. Mom used to say that Dad seemed to need an awful lot of toothpaste and kept coming into the drug store to pick that up while she was working. Mom and Dad were married in 1956.


Mr. Schott's Superb Sea Trip

by Ken Schott, Double Eagle Builder


My work is secure for the moment, too secure actually; working too much overtime to finish the boat.

I took the Double Eagle out in some tough seas and about that time I was thinking about the bilge pumps. With this open cockpit boat in 5-7 foot seas, the whole idea of a big one coming over the bow seemed a possibility. Bilge pumps, or, ummm, "crash pumps" really came to mind.

But, this hull took it all in stride. I did notice that if the bow got plunged into a big wave, it would split the wave right on up to the sheer, and as the wave parted, the buoyancy lifted at the same time, so she never took on any water.

This kind of weather is why I chose the Lobster boat running hull. Thus far she has lived up very well to the 'sea kindliness' description in the Glen-L catalog.

Without a doubt, your design can take more punishment than I can. On the run out, I was running about 20 mph into a 25 kt wind. So, the wind was making my eyes water at the same time the wind/spray was covering my glasses. When I could not indentify a buoy any longer, I turned back for home and the downwind run. The seas seemed bigger on the downwind run since the boat wanted to go surfing if I slowed down. Surfing was fun, but I powered it up to get on home for dry clothes. This is where it got interesting running with a lot of power on in a following sea.

Some of the waves were big enough to look over amidships and look down into the trough. After awhile this downwind running was kinda fun and I began playing with the sea going running, then across, the seaway. About this time, the evening sun had a row of channel markers lit up bright. What? channel markers? Where was I? There ain't any markers on the way back to the boat ramp (the ramp where my trailer was) - Free Smiley Face Courtesy of Aw crap!!

So now I go to the nearest marker for a number and pull out a paper chart to look at. Keep in mind that everything in the boat is already wet; the wind already blew a plastic bailing bucket out. This paper chart goes away with the wind and all I got in my hand is some paper mush. I know I am not too far from the mouth of St. Catherine Sound because I can see the mouth, but how in hell did I get into the ICW headed for Florida?

All that don't really matter 'cause I am now low on gas, cell phone in the truck, it's getting late, and there isn't anybody else out here on a day like this. I went back out into the sound and started for home all over.

So, ummmm, yeah, the boat can take a lot more punishment than I can.........

Editor's Note: Click on these links to see Ken's Construction Photos
and his Project Registry entries.

Glen-L Boatbuilder of the Month

Land of Lincoln Power Squadron - Tubby Tug

Illumination began as a set of plans purchased from the Glen-L Marine Company in Bellflower, California. Funding for its construction was due to a generous grant from the Boat US Safety Foundation.

Land of Lincoln Power Squadron, a unit of the United States Power Squadrons, based in Springfield, Illinois, began construction of the plans called "Tubby Tug" in February, 2007. Members of the Land of Lincoln Power Squadron (LLPS) voted to begin this project as a means to promote public awareness of USPS and its goal of increasing boating safety through fellowship, education and civic contribution. In addition, the vessel would be used as a visual aid for boating safety training helping to demonstrate proper boat handling, use of compass and GPS for navigation and proper protocol for VHF marine radio usage.

LLPS members collectively cut, sealed and assembled 1/4" inch marine-grade plywood for the sides and 3/8" marine-grade plywood for the bottom. The cabin was built and installed. The entire vessel was encapsulated with fiberglass and painted with water-based epoxy paint. The vessel was completed in early May, 2008 and was christened and launched on May 17, 2008 in Springfield, Illinois to kick off 2008 National Boating Safety Week. Since that time it has been seen in local parades, the 2008 Illinois State Fair in Springfield and used in various boating safety classes. Illumination is a working boat and is equipped with all the necessary equipment to meet or exceed U.S. Coast Guard standards. It has floated on several bodies of water including the Mississippi River.

Illumination carries the required navigation lights for night-time operation and is outfitted with a lighted compass, a remote control searchlight and VHF marine radio. Also onboard is a first aid kit and Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher. A GPS unit can also be mounted on the dash to assist in navigation. The center stern seat has a bilge pump enclosed and there is a separate storage compartment in the bow. For added safety, the bow compartment, center seats and rear seats (port & starboard) have been filled with flotation foam making the boat virtually unsinkable.

The Tubby Tug design is nine feet in length and has a beam of 4½ feet. It is designed to carry 600 pounds which equates to four adults and is rated for up to a 5 HP engine. Currently, Illumination has no engine, however, once funds become available the steering unit will be utilized with the new engine to enable helm control of the vessel.

Editor's Note: Greg Kelso sent the article (above) to us from Springfield, Illinois.
Greg also supplied us with more information as follows:

The article pretty much explains who we are and what we did. We took over three hundred pictures during the build and launch process.

The boat was inspected and licensed by the IL DNR and was on display at the Illinois State Fair. We probably had at least a thousand kids sit in it and play with all the bells and whistles. Now it will be on display at the Chicago Boat & RV show, the Chicago Strictly Sail show and the Schaumburg Boat Show. Then, on to the Peoria Boat Show and back in Springfield for our show. We plan to make the rounds of local lake clubs and parades this year as well.

Like all the other people who post pictures and experiences, it's incredible the attention this boat draws both on the water and towing down the road!

Editor's Note: Click on these links to see more photos of Illumination
and learn about the United States Power Squadrons.

Response to the "Tool Junkie"

by John Downing, Amherst, New Hampshire

D ear Glen,

Yes, I too am a "Tool Junkie," but I do love to rehabilitate and use them. Power tools are so much more convenient and fast, but sometimes, too fast and too convenient, and actually, too darned messy!

For example, take the power sander. Yep, it sure works great, but you know a properly sharpened cabinet scraper works as well, if not better, and you are not fighting all of that sawdust!

The power jointer is a real convenience, especially at trimming your finger nails and those unsightly and obviously unneeded finger tips. However, a well-tuned plane is a thing of beauty and a joy forever!

Power saws can genuinely let you make small pieces of wood out of big ones, really, really fast. But a well-sharpened hand saw cannot be beat for trimming, particularly small items and tough to get at places.

The point of this is that most hand tools are not used because they come from the factory poorly tuned and/or sharpened, and sharpening is something that must be diligently practiced in order to gain the skill you need. I used to teach a class in preparing a wood plane for use. Except for Lee-Nielson, most new hand planes are at best, kits. They must be taken apart, cleaned, the soles lapped and flattened, the frog filed and cleaned up, the blade properly sharpened and the chip-breaker/blade union cleaned up. Most folks buy a new plane, adjust the blade, try it out and realize it is a lot of work for little result and so the plane goes on the shelf until the kids hold a garage sale after dad has gone to that woodworking shop in the sky. Don't even get me started on sharpening a hand saw!

Bottom line? For most folks, the tool is just that, a tool. It is a means to an end. In this forum that means getting afloat on a vessel of your own creation. For some of us, tools are more than just a means to an end. For us, the journey is just as important as the destination, and the feel of a properly tuned and sharpened plane, cutting a translucent shaving from a long, white oak board, can only be described with one word...sensuous!

I am a Scouter in the Boy Scouts of America. I like to teach woodworking and I focus as much as possible on hand tools. They are safer, better controlled and teach the basics to young apprentices. My goal for this coming summer is to build a treadle lathe for the boys to use in learning to turn wood. When they are older, they will most likely transition to power tools, but the hours spent straddling a shaving horse, shaping something with a drawknife and spokeshave, and then chucking it into a treadle lathe to finish the product will be remembered and cherished, and really, they will remember the feel of the tools and the wood and the relative quiet that is associated with the use of hand tools.

When I started this letter, I had a humorous intent, but I find that the difference between hand tool and power tool users is profound and almost religious. As a result, I guess I got a little carried away with the seriousness of the subject. The one power tool I will not give up is the drill/screwdriver. I might be a romantic, but I am not a masochist!

P.S. Glen, thanks for all of your great columns! The one about casting was spot-on!

Editor's Note: John Downing is building the Glen-L Lucky Pierre in Amhurst, New Hampshire.

Designer's Notebook: Does Your Transom Droop?

P laning boats must have straight runs, particularly near the transom. The straight lines of the bottom generally extend from the transom to about one third the boat length forward, although this figure is not cast in stone. A hook (downward turn) or rocker (upward turn) of the bottom of a planing boat is detrimental. However, when building a boat a rocker is often inadvertently built in. When the boat is being built upside-down on the Building Form the transom often "droops," meaning the transom bottom surface is lower than it should be. But how can this happen?

The transom up or down position on the building form is controlled in numerous ways. It may be held by a knee on the keel, supported by a part of the building form, or perhaps simply hung on the keel. All methods are supposed to do the same thing; support the transom in the proper position.

The sketch illustrates a common "goof." The back outside surface of the transom must be used to bring the transom bottom surface up to a straight line in reference to the frame members. The inner framework of the transom must be level or slightly higher than the outside surface for fairing. The sketch shows what can happen If the transom is canted or at an angle to the vertical. When the outside surface is not used to bring it in correct alignment a rocker can result when the area is faired.

When the transom is positioned by fastening to the keel care must be taken. If the transom is not supported properly it's easy to work in a slight rocker. Check and re-check; those aft running lines must be straight.

Sometimes strange things take place and darned if there isn't a rocker in the bottom of the just finished boat. We know the feeling. We built a high speed ski boat awhile back in our shop. We thought everything had been checked(?) and all was okay, but it wasn't; the boat had a rocker. If this occurs fix it. Most times some extra fiberglass returning the lines to straight ones can be used. For very severe cases a wood shim or a thickened mixture of resin with fiberglass over is used.

A rocker or hook can be induced over time when the boat is on the trailer. It is imperative that adequate cradle support be used directly under the transom.

And keep the corner of the transom as it joins the bottom crisp. Round the edge for ease in fiberglassing but finish up by adding more fiberglass and grinding to a crisp corner.

Over the years many of our runabouts have been built both inboards and outboards. Most who had a porpoise action had not made the aft lines true. So check, re-check and re-re-check during the building; don't have a droopy transom.

The Haulout

Boats that live in a slip
Must have their bottoms cleaned
They all make a yearly trip
To a boatyard, that's where I mean

When the time came for mine
I called up Kettenburg Marine
And made an appointment
For my sailboat to be cleaned

I would take the boat in by seven
That's before my job you see
They'd clean and paint the bottom
To be done that afternoon by three

As we approached the dock
My wife was at the helm
I was up on the bow
Confident she knew that realm

As I looked into the yard
The sun was breaking light
The marine railway cradle
Was nowhere in my sight

It must be under the water
I realized all too late
We were going way too fast
For us to change our fate

The keel then hit the cradle
We came to an instant stop
But I was not hanging on
And into the bay I did flop

Many of the boatyard workers
Laughed because I was wet
Seems when they saw us coming
They had all placed a bet

The boat had minor damage
My dignity was shot to hell
My wife was very embarrassed
And repairs meant a day as well

The moral of this story
The truth can now be told
When sailing into a boatyard
It's better slow than bold


Photos sent in since the last WebLetter...

Glen-L Walk-in Customer of the Month

Reed and Traci Daniels of Rigby, Idaho suprised us here at Glen-L by driving all the way to Bellflower in order to purchase a "boatload" of Glen-L products (notice the Glen-L Hat Reed is sporting - don't you want one too?!). Traci and Reed visited with us at Glen-L's Intergalactic Center of Operations the morning of March 19, and were kind enough to share with us pictures of their Glen-L Crackerbox and Glen-L Monsoon, and regale us with stories of their adult exploits and childhood memories.

Reed told us that his father was a "hardcore" boater, and that once when asked if he ever though of using cavitation plates on his Crackerbox his dad firmly responded "Cavitation plates are for sissies - just hold on!!"

Many thanks to Traci and Reed for their warmth and friendship, and for entertaining Buckshot too!

Harold the boatbuilder

When the task ahead seems insurmountable, remember
the answer to
"How do you eat an elephant?"
"--- One bite at a time."

Shop Talk: Impact Drivers
vs. Driver Drills


Until you try one, you simply won't believe how effortlessly an Impact Driver drives screws. Unlike driver/drills that simply rotate the drill or driver bit, Impact Drivers apply a series of high-speed rotary hammer blows to the driver bit, just like the impact wrench the tire guy uses to install lug nuts. That rotary force minimizes the axial force (pushing) required to keep the driver bit in the recess, so screws seem to just "melt" right in!

Cordless impact drivers have been gaining popularity for some time now. Today, it would be hard to find a professional or serious home shop that didn't have at least one. If you've priced them, however, you may have noticed that they fetch a different price than a typical cordless drill. There's a reason for that: Despite the similarity in appearance, they're completely different tools. An impact driver, like the Makita BTD130FW 14.4-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver, may look like a sort of wimpy drill/driver, but in reality, it's a much more sophisticated mechanism, and provides an entirely different fastener driving experience.

How does an impact driver work? There are several variations in mechanical design, but in essence all impact tools work like this: A rotating mass in the tool called a "hammer" is accelerated independently of the "anvil" - the output shaft that engages with the head of the fastener. When the hammer has built up a certain amount of energy, it is brought into contact with the anvil, creating an impact which instantaneously applies torque to the fastener. The cycle repeats and repeats, on the order of thousands of impacts per minute. The result is a high level of torque delivered to the fastener with very little effort on the part of the user.

There's really no comparison between an impact driver and a conventional drill/driver when it comes to fastener driving force. The Makita BTD130FW impact driver, for example, delivers a maximum torque of 1240 in. lbs., compared to less than 400 for a typical cordless drill of the same voltage. But the more important difference between a drill/driver and an impact driver is in the delivery. Unlike a drill, an impact driver transfers high peak levels of torque directly to the fastener, and very little to the handle of the tool. Mechanically, the comparison is roughly the same as driving a nail with a hammer versus pushing one in with a rock.

In terms of fastener driving speed and comfort, most impact drivers will run circles around a cordless drill. But when you're in the market for one, the unique qualities of individual models are worth careful consideration. In actual practice, the performance of the tool will depend on a number of factors: motor efficiency, quality and design of the impact mechanism, and the power and reliability of the battery. Look for a built-in work area illuminating LED light - a small amenity that you'll gain a big appreciation for the first time you operate your impact driver inside an upside-down boat hull or dark cabin.

Another important consideration is the battery system. As may be common knowledge by now, lithium-ion batteries offer several advantages over Ni-Cad or Ni-MH batteries (the other two types available for cordless tools) including twice the number of battery life cycles, greatly decreased self-discharge when stored, less power drop-off toward the end of the cycle, and best of all, no discharge "memory", meaning that the batteries don't have to be run down to nothing periodically for conditioning. Along with that, they're much lighter than their nickel-based counterparts and don't pose the environmental problems on disposal.

If you are using a cordless drill to drive screws, switching to an impact driver will have an immediate and marked effect on your attitude toward fastening in general. That's no exaggeration. In fact, using an impact driver for the first time can be an almost eerie experience - screws slide in so effortlessly; there's very little pressure required to keep the tip of the driver engaged in a screw, and because torque is transferred more directly to the fastener, very little sensation of the handle of the tool wanting to twist out of your grip.

For us boatbuilders who spend a fair amount of our time driving screws and other fasteners, the payback in speed, convenience, comfort and reduced fatigue you'll get from an impact driver will make the investment feel like a bargain.

Recent email:

Subject: 14' Driftboat
Date: 13 March 2009

My name is Mark Mariano, Jr. and I am currently building your 14' Driftboat. I am building it in my carpentry class at the University of Montana, College of Technology in Missoula, Montana. I am a first-time builder and am a very lucky guy to be building my own boat for college credit!

So far I have built the hull and am now at the fiberglassing stage. I am racing the clock to beat the spring runoff on the local rivers and hope to have it on the water by the end of the '08-'09 school year.

I would like to thank everyone that has posted on the Boatbuilder Forum and the Glen-L family for their help and support so far. The project has stirred up a lot of interest within the school and I'm sure that it will not be the last Glen-L boat that is made in our shop. I have told everyone about all the help and resources provided. I will send more pictures as the project comes along.

-- Mark Mariano, Jr.
Missoula, Montana

Editor's Note: See more pictures of Mark's Driftboat in Customer Photos.

Subject: Project Registration
Date: 20 March 2009

My name is Matthew Trent and I am building the Glen-L Fancy Free. I hope to name the boat after my mother in honor of what must have been the most stressful years of her life - my birth to graduation! I suppose the name is up to the powers that be. Perhaps I should invest in a sacrificial lamb and a really good bottle of rum! It couldn't hurt.

I live in Tacoma, Washington and sail weekly on the Pacific Northwest's biggest protected saltwater pond. That's right; the good ole Puget Sound. You could spend a lifetime gunkholing her shores and never see it all, though it's a worthy enough mission objective to ensure many thousands of hours at the till. Har..Har!

I recently retired from the Army and have chosen in sound body and mind (if I can use the two statements in the same sentence!) to build a boat myself. I have owned many old Woodie's, but never delved any deeper than light restoration. This project promises to be a deeply fulfilling use of my newly acquired "freedom."

I currently have the hull constructed, and am in the process of glassing the bottom. This Washington rain prolongs the cure rate, but I hope to have her painted and righted by the end of the month. It isn't a large percentage of the build, but having gotten this far in just six weeks I feel I'm well ahead of schedule.

-- Matthew Trent
Tacoma, Washington

Subject: Landlocked Boat in Missouri
Date: 16 March 2009

I spotted this boat along Hwy. 65 south of Lincoln, Missouri so I took some photos of it. Thought it might be good to put in a WebLetter for the rest of the clan to see.

Also I read all the WebLetters up to WL-106; will finish in the next week. Gayle, the Teleconference was great. Thanks to you all for the work to set it up

-- Brad Schiller, Builder in the corn
Council Bluffs, Iowa

Subject: Drift Boat
Date: 30 March 2009

Hi there. My name is Douglas Rohde and I've just ordered plans and a DVD for your Stripper canoe. I am working with a friend on your McKenzie River style Drifter and we're nearly done after starting a little over a month ago.

I can't tell you how much fun we've had. We're considering making this "our thing" and wanted to thank you for your plans. We've been documenting our progress on the Drifter with pictures and would like to put them up on your site when we finish. We'd also like to do the same with our Stripper and whatever bigger model we move onto next.

Thanks. You all have a good one.

-- Douglas Rohde
Hermiston, Oregon

Subject: Thank You
Date: 18 March 2009

I am building a Minuet. I also have the boat trailer plans for the Series 1000 Trailer and will begin construction of the trailer this spring.

I have been very pleased with all the information and products (Minuet, Series 1000 Trailer plans, silicon-bronze screw kit for Minuet, Glen-L 17 plans - not yet built) your company has provided over the years.

Thank you for the truly unique service you provide.

-- Robert Zopp
Richardson, Texas

Subject: Build Your Dream Boat
Date: 15 March 2009

Hi Gayle,

I enjoy your emails, and your “Family Atmosphere.” I think your father started a great company and it is fantastic that you are following in his foot steps.

Attached is a movie clip of me building the Power Skiff 14 (13’4" finished? It shrunk.. Free Smiley Face Courtesy of I ordered the plans in December, 2008 and was in the water by late February; the movie will show it all... I hope you enjoy it.

I built it mostly for the experience and I did learn a lot, so I am now prepared for the next project. Probably a restoration project of a larger sailboat, if I can find a suitable boat.

Kind regards,

-- Chris Wingardh
Bradenton, Florida

What Kind of Bait?

John went fishing one day but had no luck at all. He noticed that another fisherman near him was catching fish one after another. He had to know the secret. He approached the other fisherman and said, "Excuse me sir, but would you mind telling me what sort of bait you are using?"

The other man said, "Well, I can tell you but it will do you no good. You see, I am a surgeon, and quite by accident I found that the human tonsil works very well as bait.

The next day, John returned to the lake and, just as the day before, he had no luck. There was a different man nearby having a great time catching fish.

John approached the man and asked "Excuse me sir, but would you mind telling me what sort of bait you are using?"

"Well, I can tell you but I am not sure it will do you any good. I am a doctor and I am using a bit of human appendix as bait."

John left, thinking this was all very strange but vowed he would give the lake just one more try.

On the third day, John still had no luck. As usual, there was yet another man near him bringing in fish after fish.

John needed to confirm what he, by now, already knew. "Excuse me sir, but would you mind telling me what sort of bait you are using?"

The other man looked around acting a little embarrassed. "Well, I can tell you but it will do you no good."

"Don't tell me," said John. "You're a doctor."

"No," said the man, "I'm a Rabbi."

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