Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedback

A place to share YOUR boat building story

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

In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • Why Not Write Your Own Article for the Glen-L WebLetter?
  • We would really like to include more articles, short stories, anecdotes, narratives and/or parables from you, our customers, readers and friends.
  • Nothing enhances, enriches, (and often amuses) all who read the WebLetter more than hearing the actual, first-hand recounts of your trials, tribulations and triumphs! After all, Glen-L really is all about YOU, dreaming, scheming, planning, discovering, solving, building your perfect boat and then enjoying not only the use of your boat but also the admiring glances of all around when you proudly state "I built her myself!"
  • You don't have to wait until your craft is 100% complete; if it is, all the better, but why not grab a pen and paper right now and just jot down a couple of thoughts about how you feel and see where it leads? You just might be surprised at what pours forth once you start!

Until next month . . .      

A First-Time Boatbuilder Shares

by Dean Toburen


I was unable to listen live to Bill Edmondson's Teleseminar but did listen to the replay. I found it very informative and since I am building the Monaco I understand his comments regarding everything not needing to be perfect and why some folks start but never finish.

Before I write about my boat building I would like to tell you a little about my self. I retired on January 1, 2008 at age 67. For some 13 years I worked as a Project Manager for a company that designed and installed conveying systems. For the last 20 years I worked as Regional Sales Manager for a German company that manufactures large process equipment. Now that I have retired I work about 25 hours a week at our local ACE Hardware and consult for a local company 1 - 2 days per week. As you can tell I am staying very busy but enjoying every minute of it.

Since I don't play golf I spend a week in Canada every year, fishing with a group that has been going for over 15 years now. I also spend a lot of time with our grandchildren doing whatever they want to do at the time. I have my private pilot's license but due to cost and time have not stayed current.

I started the boat in the winter of 2005. The decision was to either build an airplane or a boat and I decided that I would be safer in a boat, plus I could get my wife to ride in the boat. The winter of 2005 was spent cutting and fitting all the internal pieces. After everything was cut I applied a coat of Epoxy-Plus and did a light sanding. I then set up the fixture for assembling then glued and nailed each internal frame together. After assembling I gave each completed frame another coat of Epoxy-Plus. All the internals were completed in early spring of 2006 and photo at right shows the pieces setting on a ledge in my basement.


Glen-L Boatbuilder of the Month

Buddy Slack - Zip

by Margaret M. Lamb


B uddy Slack of Columbia, South Carolina, didn't get the retirement memo, the one acknowledging his years of service and urging the newly-minted retiree to buy a set of golf clubs, pick up the fishing rod, find a hobby and just let the good times roll.

No. When he retired with the rank of colonel after 29 years as a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps, Buddy took an assignment to launch the Navy Junior ROTC program at Chapin High School, turning it into a two-time national champion.

And that's just his day job.

The man who never nailed two pieces of plywood together also has channeled his energy and considerable talent toward building a 1940's-era racing boat, as well as a replica of three train lines that snaked through the eastern Tennessee area where he grew up.

The boat building all started with an old family scrapbook Buddy and his wife, Susan, found when they were going through the belongings of his late fatter, Tom Slack, of Knoxville, Tennessee.

That's when they saw the photos: larger than life, black and white, capturing the golden era of boat racing in the Southeast in the 1930s and '40s. They showed Tom, chemist by day, racer on weekends, looking dashing behind the wheel of a Century Whirlwind, his striking wife by his side.

"I looked at those pictures and I decided that I wanted to build a boat like that," says Buddy, who grew up around boats on the shores of Douglas Lake in eastern Tennessee, but never raced anything faster than a Go-Kart and a Triumph Spitfire.

Never mind that he had never built a boat before, or anything else, for that matter.


Designer's Notebook: Stem Caps

C apping the junction of the plywood planking on the typical small craft can be accomplished in several ways.

The old but tried and true method was to rabbet the planking in the solid wood stem (See Fig 1). The rabbet is at an ever changing angle and is chiseled into the stem. Accomplishing this is time consuming, and with the advent of plywood became quite difficult. Fitting a single plank in a rabbet isn't that difficult, but fitting the large area required for sheet plywood is very tedious and time consuming.

The rabbeted stem, although still used, has been replaced by methods that are easier and possibly more durable. The seam on the plywood planking to solid wood stem invariably cracked open, so to prevent this from occurring stems made up of flat laminations of plywood are used. Cutting a rabbet in a plywood stem, however, is difficult, to say the least. The solution is to eliminate the rabbet and simply lap the plywood sides over the stem (Fig 2.).

This created the problem "how to finish the exposed plywood planking ends?" If the boat is fiberglass covered, the stem can be rounded and usually the cloth lapped to provide two laminations over the stem seam. Flattening the stem and capping it with a trim strip of metal is another viable alternative. If the stem is a relatively straight line, as would be typical of most flat bottomed craft, a solid wood strip may be used over the flattened stem/planking junction, preferably put on after fiberglassing. When the stem has curvature, as in most vee bottomed hulls, the wooden cap may be laminated over the stem junction or made from solid stock then sawn to shape and pieced as required (Fig 3).

Of course you can go fancy and install a metal cutwater over the stem. These were popular in the classic mahogany runabout and offer maximum protection when banging into a dock or other object. For more information see "Cutwater" in WebLetter #54.


D ays are getting longer
Weather is getting better
Temps are moving higher
No need for heavy sweaters

Sunshine on the water
A breeze just stirs the air
Boaters gather at the shore
As visitors to a country fair

Boats come out of storage
Hulls all clean and bright
Children watch with anticipation
And wonder at the sight

Here are boats new built
Ready for their very first ride
With owners eagerly waiting
Filled with hope and pride

Boating season is upon us
For fishing, skiing or just fun
It’s time to get that boat out
Don’t let me be the only one


Photos posted since the last WebLetter...


Have you been as puzzled as I have by the sizing terms of "fourpenny," "sixpenny" and "tenpenny" as applied to common nails?

Well, in our never-ending search to bring you, our readers, helpful and (hopefully) interesting information, we ran across a VERY old publication put out by the Ducommun Metals & Supply Company which provided an interesting array of useful (?) data, including "Ball Data," "Grades of Emery," "Rules for Finding Contents of Vessels," "Bars and Plates," "General Information" and "Pennies."

According to Ducommun, "fourpenny" means four pounds to the thousand nails (i.e. 1000 nails of a certain size would weigh 4 pounds), "sixpenny" means six pounds to the thousand nails, and so on. It is an old English term, and meant at first "ten pound" nails (the thousand being understood), but the old English clipped it to "tenpun" and from that it degenerated until "penny" was substituted for "pounds."

Next month, be sure to tune in to learn about "Ball Data" . . .

Harold the boatbuilder

All great achievements require time.

Shop Talk: Rule Guide
& Band Saw Shelf

Rule Guide

A metal rule is great for measuring, but it can be difficult to use for layout work. The problem is the thickness of the rule itself. It creates a "step" between the surface of the rule and the workpiece that can make transferring a mark less than accurate.

A good solution is the simple rule guide shown at right. It's a small wood block that makes it easy to accurately lay out a line. You simply align the end of the block with the desired increment on the rule. Then mark the line, using the block as a guide.

To allow the rule guide to sit flat on a workpiece, rabbet the bottom edge to fit over the metal rule (Figure 1). Since the rule guide is fairly small, it's best to cut this rabbet in an extra-long piece and then trim off the excess length (Figure 2).

It's a handy idea to add a small magnet to hold the rule guide in place, yet still allow it to slide along the metal rule. The magnet fits in a hole that's drilled in the rabbeted edge of the strip.

After cutting the rule guide to length, it's just a matter of sanding a bevel on each end to ease the sharp edges and then use epoxy to glue in the magnet.

Band Saw Shelf

When working with small pieces at a band saw, there usually isn't a handy place to set them aside. One answer for this is to mount a plywood shelf to the arm of the saw, as shown in the drawing below.

To provide clearance for the lower door of the band saw, the shelf is built up above the arm with a spacer block. To attach the spacer block, drill and tap the cast iron arm to accept a pair of machine screws (see detail).

With the spacer block in place, all that's left to do is to attach the shelf to the block with screws.

Recent email:

Subject: Malahini
Date: 11 March 2009

I finished my Malahini in December '08 and dunked it in the water last week. Took it out for a ride today, March 11. Great fun. Rides and handles nice. Does not go as fast as I expected - I think I need to change the propeller - a 9 X 13P. The motor is a 1982 Mercury 50hp.

It was great to finally get it out and well worth the time and work(play) to build it. People followed me to the lake and one guy wants me to build him a boat.

THANKS Glen-L for a great boat!!

-- Chris Hodgdon
Edgemoor, South Carolina

Subject: 1969 Tiny Titan
Date: 5 April 2009

Dear Glen-L Folks,

Just thought I would drop you a fun note in these “fun” times. First, I hope you are doing well in the boat business. In 1969 my father and I built the Tiny Titan in our basement. I painted it orange with a black strip down the middle and we purchased a 10 H.P. Chris-Craft outboard and installed it with a steering wheel and dead-man’s throttle. Two years later I painted it red, white, and blue. Many weekends were spent on Hardy Dam Pond (the back waters of the Muskegon River near Morely, Michigan) and Bass Lake near Traverse City, Michigan. I felt pretty cool driving a boat that seemed fast at the time, but slow compared in today’s standards (60 mph on a jet ski?).

The boat was sold in approximately 1972 and in 1975 the fellow that bought the boat approached me and said he had never used it and wanted to give it back to me. I accepted and it sat in the barn for the next 34 years. A buddy saw it that owns a auto body shop, and his comment was, “Let’s paint it.”

So here it is 40 years later with a paint job that cost 10 times more than the boat. It is so nice that I haven’t decided if I should put it in the water or hang it off the wall as art.

Hundreds of good memories were made in the building and operating of this little boat. Thank you for inspiring my father and me years ago with the brochure.

PS. I still have that too!

Thank you,

-- Mr. Kim Thomet
Hastings, Michigan

Subject: Boat Show Win
Date: 11 April 2009

Just read the WebLetter – thanks for the article about us. I’ll show the kids when they get home from school.

Also just to let you know our "Bootlegger" won First Prize at the Seresin Antique and Classic Boat Show last weekend. This show is held at Lake Rotoiti in the South Island (we usually boat on Lake Rotoiti in the North Island). It's an 11 hour drive plus a ferry ride for us to get there and the lake is in the middle of a large conservation reserve with dramatic scenery.

The show is in its 10th year and from its beginnings of 35 boats there were approximately 180 boats there this year. We had a blast of a weekend.

Also the overall winner in 2005 was a lengthened Glen-L Squirt called “Babychamps”. I met a guy there (can't remember his name) who is well on the way with a Malahini.

Glen-L was talked about a lot over the weekend – most people I spoke to had at the least heard of you and had visited your website.

Keep up the good work

-- Greg Roy
Auckland, New Zealand

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out the following two links:
Press Release about Seresin Boat Show winner "Bootlegger"
More about "Bootlegger".

Subject: The Economy
Date: 10 April 2009

The economy may be bad but I work at West Marine and just about every day I have a customer come in that is building a new boat or repairing one. I enjoy talking with them because we do have something in common.

I am restoring a wooden boat and also building one of your Tugs and hope to start on an Airboat before the end of summer. Thanks for the WebLetter.

-- Jimmy Helms
Charlotte, North Carolina

Subject: Glen-L WebLetter
Date: 9 April 2009

I just want you to know how much I appreciate your Glen-L correspondence. This month's Web-Letter was such a joy! Your touching tribute to your Mother was absolutely beautiful.

Blessings on you and yours.

-- Joseph Nowell

P.S. About your Teleseminar: Thank you so very much for the replay... the second time through was even more enjoyable than the original broadcast. Your website is so informative...

Subject: XP8
Date: 17 April 2009

My son and I had a great time building this boat. These memories will last for our lifetime!

Thanks, Glen-L!

-- Dave Rogalski
Safety Harbor, Florida

King Arthur's Dilemma

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals, so the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he then would be put to death.

The question? What do women really want?

Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.

Arthur returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with all he could find, but none could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer. But the price would be high, as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first. The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend!

Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life. He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.

He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table. Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur's question thus: "What a woman really wants," she answered.... "is to be in charge of her own life."

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared.

And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened?

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would henceforth be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.

Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day....or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch? Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

What would YOU do?

Click on the Sir Lancelot's photo on the right to learn his choice, but FIRST decide how YOU would choose...

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