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
  • If you haven't yet discovered the Boatbuilder FORUM on the website, you're missing out on a treasure-trove of information, excitement, and boatbuilding wisdom. Additionally, the FORUM has become one of the premiere places to meet new friends, cultivate relationships and find out about social activities where people of like mind arrange to get together.

  • Since you're reading this WebLetter, we know that you're already somewhat "web-savvy" and you've probably heard about the latest rage of "social-networking" websites. Although the original intent was to provide a knowledge-base for our boatbuilders (and it HAS become a huge and constantly growing resource), little did we know that when we began the Boatbuilder FORUM that one of its benefits would be social and enabling people to find new, interesting, and fun-loving friends.

  • It's because of the relationships born on the Boatbuilder FORUM that there is now an annual Gathering of Glen-L Boatbuilders where dozens of Glen-L boatbuilders, their families and friends (and even those still in the "dreaming" phase of building their own boats) get together to learn, play, eat and share in the excitement generated by building and using your own boat.

  • Watch your email, and keep an eye on the home page, for exciting upcoming announcements regarding the next "Gathering" taking place this October at Lake Guntersville - it is certain to be even bigger and better than last year's event. This is a "can't miss" event - just go to the FORUM and ask anybody who's attended either of the first 2 Gatherings!

  • Also on the Boatbuilder FORUM, at the suggestion of Bill Checkerberry ("billy c" on the FORUM), we've added a new forum entitled Launching Ramp. As Bill Shaw ("ttownshaw") says: "The collective group of moderators really thought it would be great to have a place to celebrate first launchings. This is where all the gloating, gleaming, celebrating, and relief goes!" Be sure to click on the video links at this new forum, and keep checking back as more and more boatbuilders add their own maiden voyages and celebrations to it! Who's going to be next?

Until next month . . .      

Even More Boat Names


Boatbuilders and boat owners, being a fun-loving and creative lot, seem to come up with some very "interesting" names for their beloved crafts. We think you're likely to have your own creative appetite whetted and possibly get a good laugh with this second round of bigger, better, and funnier boat names.

Whether you burst out laughing, or just find yourself letting out a groan, please don't blame me…I'm only the messenger and I wouldn't dare try to pass judgment on some of these names.

Now sit back, relax, pick up your favorite bevereage and click on the photo of "36 Seas" below to enjoy the complete list…

Glen-L Boatbuilder of the Month

Bill Cunningham - Belle Isle 23'

T he Town of Gilford is located in central New Hampshire, on the southern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee and the northern slopes of the Belknap Mountain range. Gilford was first settled in approximately 1777, when it was still considered the "Gunstock parish" or "upper parish" section of the Town of Gilmanton. In 1812, the Town of Gilford was incorporated into a separate town. The privilege of naming the town was afforded to Captain Lemuel F. Gilman, the oldest and most famous citizen. A veteran of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, Captain Gilman named the town "Guilford" after the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, a decisive Revolutionary War battle in North Carolina in which he fought (the town was spelled incorrectly in the incorporation documents, resulting in the present spelling of Gilford).

Another Captain from Gilford is our own boat captain Bill Cunningham. When Lake Winnipesaukee is frozen over, Bill enjoys snowmobiling amid the natural splendor of the mountains and lakes which continue to attract visitors and seasonal residents to Gilford. While the weather was warmer, however, Bill invested much of his time building his beautiful Belle Isle 23' triple-cockpit classic mahogany runabout.

The Belle Isle is our largest authentic barrelback design (for those unfamiliar with the type, the barrelback stern is a semi-oval or elliptical shape, like half a barrel, with a lovely seamless blending of the tumblehome topsides into the deck, side-to-side).

"I drooled over the Garwood triple-cockpit crafts on Lake Winnipesaukee from my hunk of floating fiberglass forever, and decided rather than modify the deck and seating of an old wooden boat to look like one, I would build from scratch and get exactly what I wanted" says Bill.

"I went through a two-year search looking for a vintage boat to restore, but ended up building new. Taking a "gray" boat and rebuilding it back to factory standards most likely would be an overwhelming task. The boat plans from Glen-L give you a correct set of lines, basic instructions and the Boatbuilder Forum, which has many builders onboard that can help when you need it." Once he discovered the Boatbuilder Forum, Bill has "been reading posts on the Forum since - very informative and entertaining!"

Having communicated with other boatbuilders many times on the Forum, Bill is now a Forum Moderator, and just finished his build June 21, 2009. To really make the beautiful boat he has crafted stand out, Bill fashioned his own custom cutwater and transom band for the Belle Isle, and her official launch will be at Lake Winnipesaukee town docks in Gilford at 1:00 pm, weather permitting, on the 4th of July!

Bill tells us "picking out a plan from Glen-L is your best shot at completing this project and enjoying the process at the same time!"

Congratulations, Bill, and happy boating!

Belle Isle Construction Photos

Featured Design: Bingo

BINGO! You're a winner in this classy runabout where the driver is clearly a discerning individual! And why not? You sit in a luxurious "throne" slightly forward of passengers for a clear view over the long, lean cowl-deck. And you're in command of a sleek, fast, crowd-pleasing runabout.

The sweeping deck lines with rounded cowl-like foredeck and raised, arced aft deck impresses viewers that this boat is something special…and it really is!

The 12° vee bottom cushions the ride, while built-in spray deflector/lift strakes stabilize and provide a level, dry ride. The BINGO provides high performance and is a joy to see and be seen in.

BINGO is built by the Glen-L FAST-G Stitch-N-Glue building method for simplicity and light weight. Constructed from standard ¼" x 4' x 8' plywood, with patterns provided for almost every contoured part, it's almost impossible to go wrong. Just transfer the pattern contours to the wood, cut out, Fold And Stitch, Then Glue (FAST-G), and BINGO!, the boat is formed.

You'd be hard pressed to find a boat easier to build, yet when finished so sleek, so handsome, and so fast - the BINGO is an excellent first boatbuilding project for anyone. Why not start building yours today?!

Designer's Notebook: Don't Waste Epoxy

Epoxy is expensive so why waste any of it? In the following discourse we'll give a few suggestions on how not to be wasteful with this pricey material.

Marine epoxies consist of a resin "A" and a hardener "B" mixed in proportions as per the product requirements. Common ratios of hardener to resin are 1:1, 1:2, or 1:5, meaning that a 1:5 ratio is one part hardener "B" and five parts resin "A". NEVER vary the ratio of resin to hardener specified by the manufacturer.

The instant the resin and hardener are mixed together a chemical reaction takes place. The "pot life" (i.e. the length of time the mixed epoxy remains workable) will vary depending upon the type of hardener used ("fast" or "slow") and the temperature. Resin cures faster when in a concentrated mass, at higher temperatures, when local heat is applied, or when products are pre-warmed. Conversely, resin cures slower when well dispersed, at lower temperature, in shaded areas, or when products are cooled. Unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer, don't use epoxy when the temperature is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit or higher than 85° F; 72° F is ideal.

The best mixing containers are flexible, with graduated markings and made from polyethylene. Don't use glass or foam plastic containers. A good mixing method is to use three containers; one for resin (A), one for hardener (B), and one for mixing the two ingredients together. Don't try mixing large batches; mix smaller amounts so all of it can be used before it gels. Pour out the proper proportion in each container but don't combine them. When the mixed epoxy being used is exhausted combine the hardener and resin together in the mixing container. Having a helper mix "A" and "B" together on command will speed the process. Once the products are dispensed into the mixing container stir thoroughly for at least one minute or more. Stir from the bottom up and scrape the sides of the mixing container. Improper mixing can result in a product that will not cure properly, which is wasteful and a mess to remove.

If a batch of epoxy has been mixed, the task accomplished, and there is epoxy left over don't discard it unless it has gelled. Instead use it to encapsulate an area, or mix it with fillers and fill some screw holes or imperfections. Think of how any surplus can be used before you start your work.

Most waste resin through carelessness. Using the improper resin/hardener proportions, not mixing them together thoroughly, or mixing more than can be used before gellation are all wasteful practices. Economize on the use of epoxy by thinking through what you are doing before beginning your task.

Never was the old adage "Look before you leap" more appropriate.

Launch Day

The month is now July, oh my
There are no clouds in the sky
It’s getting hotter by the day
See, I want to be on the bay
In my new boat is what I mean
I built it in the months between
October and the month of June
Launch day can’t come too soon

Long hours of working wood
Instead of other things I should
I ignored the house repairs
And we sit on broken chairs
The old car needs a tune-up
On the walls there is some catsup
But the boat will have its day
Now it’s time for fun and play

Launch day is here at last
We’re going to have a blast
The kids are ready to go skiing
For the doubters, seeing is believing
But a policeman is blocking my way
He says “No launch for you today”
I can’t believe what I just heard
DOH! I forgot to get it registered!


Photos posted since the last WebLetter...

Son of a Gun

Ever wonder how some of our odd nautical expressions developed? Here's the lowdown on the origins of a few of the ones that have made it into even landlubbers' everyday language:

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - The devil is the outermost seam in the deck planking. The outermost plank curves along the sheer and the other planking runs fore and aft and are individually butted into the outermost plank. The joint is hard to cut and hard to caulk and named "the devil." If you are "between the devil and the deep blue sea" you are standing on the outermost plank of the deck and about as close to falling overboard as you can get and still be dry.

Bitter End - The inboard end of the anchor cable that is made fast to the bottom of the chain locker. At one time it was made fast to the bitt on deck. Therefore, the "bitter" end (bitts are large posts for attachment of lines).

By and Large - Originally a nautical expression used in sailing ships meaning to take the bad with the good. "By" was headwind and sailing close "by the wind and large" was sailing with the wind.

Jackknife - A folding blade knife or clasp knife invented by Jacques de Liege in the 16th century. Used by officers on sailing ships, while the crew would use a sheath knife carried on the belt.

Oil on Troubled Waters - Oil was used to help smooth high seas and this term came to be used in the sense of smoothing out troubles and difficulties.

Son of a Gun - Complimentary term for a sailor suggesting he was a natural born to the job, or more precisely born on the job. It comes from the time when women shared the gun deck accommodation with men aboard ships in port and sometimes at sea. Since the working spaces and gangways had to be kept clear, the only undisturbed place a woman could give birth to a child would be behind screens between the guns. The expression also meant being conceived alongside a gun, since a hammock wasn't convenient for that sort of thing.

The following is an extract from the Captain's Journal of a brig sailing off the Spanish coast in 1835: "This day the surgeon informed me that a woman on board had been labouring in child for 12 hours and asked if I could fire a broadside to leeward. I did so and she was delivered a fine male child."

In cases where the paternity was uncertain, the child was entered in the Deck Log as "son of a gun."

Harold the boatbuilder

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Shop Talk: Rolling Tool Tower

If you are (like me) afflicted with a small work area or shop, you know how important it is to use the space efficiently. That's where building a tool tower like you see in the photo at right can really come in handy. The tower will allow you to stack tools that would otherwise be stored in many other places throughout your shop.

The tower shown is sized so an air filter can sit on the top shelf. This way, the air filter can be quickly moved anywhere it might be needed.

The shelf just below the top is adjustable. It can be easily raised or lowered as needed to accommodate items of various sizes.

On the example tower the middle shelf is used to store a planer. The height of this shelf and the open sides are positioned so that stock can pass through the planer as well as store the planer when it's not in use.

The tower is simple to build. First cut four pieces of MDF to size for the shelf platforms. Each shelf sits in a rabbet along the edge of a sturdy frame, like you see in Figure 1 at right. The end of each frame piece is mitered at 45° and then glued together. The shelf and framework provide stability as well as a place for securely attaching long upright supports with screws at each of the corners, as shown in Figure 1a.

Two 2x4s provide the base for the tower. Extending the base past the width of the tower provides for greater stability (Figure 2). You'll want to add large casters to the ends of the base before screwing the base securely to the bottom shelf frame (Figure 2a).

After installing the adjustable shelf pins, add the shelf and the tower is ready to use.

Recent email:

Subject: The "Donna Marie"
Date: 5 June 2009

Hi guys and gals at Glen-L,

Thought I would send you a picture of my beautiful Zip!!! The "Donna Marie," named after my mother. I started her last year and 15 months later on my 30th birthday I got to launch her!

She has got a 2008 Yamaha 4 stroke 50hp on her, and she clips along around 40mph on nice flat water. Lots of chrome on her with a stainless steel cutwater, transom bands, and of course it is sporting your Glen-L colors with the burgee flag flying high!

Thanks for the great plans! If anyone is building a Zip please feel free to e-mail me - I would be glad to help if I can.

Thanks again! We look forward to building the Audeen next!!

-- Tim Grudecki
Dekalb, Illinois

Subject: Sea Knight
Date: 30 May 2009

Hi Darla, I got the catalog today. As you hear so often when folks write in, I too had a Glen-L catalog when I was a kid and looked the photos over and over. Little did I know then that 40 years later I'd have a picture of my own in there! Now that I have built my Sea Knight and taken my kids (22 and 18) out on it I am starting on a Malahini for my son and when that's done my daughter wants me to build her a Wild Thing.

Thanks so much for asking Glen to sign the cover, and thank him for me, I think it is really great to have that from him. It's quite a lifelong accomplishment and legacy to have people all over the WORLD building your boats for the last 50+ years, not only in the physical sense, but also in the memories, stories, and everything else that goes along with it that is so frequently spoken of in emails and letters to you. Few people can have that kind of impact over time.

I'll keep the signed catalog right along with the 1956 Popular Mechanics magazine I have with the Sea Knight in it.

Thanks again,

-- Bob Maskel
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Subject: Tugs
Date: 6 June 2009

Alright, now you gone and done it. I built a Tubby Tug three years back, for the grandkids; well that's what I told everyone. Me and the Tug cruise the lake every weekend many times a day.

I got to thinking it would be nice to have one just a little bigger. At age 53 (me, not the boat) it's tight in there some times.

So here I am looking your site over and I see this "Tug Along". Now before I try and talk the missus into a much more comfortable and relaxing Tug, I got to finish the kitchen cabinets I started, just before I built the Tubby Tug.

Maybe I'll try the Fathers' Day or Christmas present option first. If you hear from her lawyer before I do give me a heads up, will ya?

Thanks for all the plans you offer - Looking forward to the next build!

-- Ray Gaulin
Oxford, Massachusetts

Subject: Steering Cable
Date: 15 June 2009

Darla, thank you for the great service!! I received the SteerMaster MK III steering cable yesterday, Tuesday,and installed it on my 1985 MasterCraft Prostar 190 right away.

It works great and I should have the boat on the water by Thursday, however, we just had some more SNOW is warming up nice and my waterski buddies are excited about skiing and the New Smooth Steering cable...the old one was pretty bad.

Thanks to you all at Glen-L and the folks who still make this Steering Cable for those of us who still operate somewhat "vintage" boats. I will send some pics of my boat once I have it on the water.

-- Vern Zelent
Beaumont, Alberta, Canada

Subject: Boatbuilder Forum
Date: 29 June 2009

I am still working away on my Belle Isle and really enjoying it! Thank God for the Boatbuilder Forum... I have developed a great friendship with Billy Cunningham (another Belle Isle builder) and he has been so helpful and generous with advice and help. I actually got to visit him on a business trip and see his Belle Isle in person - all inspirational!

I have said it before but this Belle Isle project has brought me great joy!!!

-- Dick Williams
Warrendale, Pennsylvania

Subject: Teleseminar
Date: 15 June 2009

Gayle, I have just now replayed your teleseminar with Carl Puehl regarding wiring and hydraulic steering.

I would like you to know how helpful and easy to follow I found this information and I thank you for all your efforts in getting this up and running. In particular the references to specific books and products was extremely valuable.

I should add that I have a hearing difficulty but was able to easily understand all the discussion despite the fact that neither of you spoke like "fair dinkum Aussies."

Once again, thank you both for your efforts.

-- Bob Foster

Build more boats
GLEN-L boats, of course

WebLetter Index
Glen-L Home Page