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
  • All of us here at Glen-L really appreciate every photo you send us of your boats, whether it be in the construction phase, the finishing phase, or that wonderful time when you finally get to put her in the water. We especially look forward to the photos you take that show the result of all of your efforts as you are out on the water with your family and friends. Those of you who have completed your crafts know the special feelings of pride and accomplishment you get from the looks of admiration when you tell people "I built her myself."
  • To that end I want you to know that I am working every day to get all of your photos up on the website. If you've submitted photos and haven't yet seen them posted it's only because there's a bit of a backlog that's taken me longer than expected to clear, not because we don't value every photo you've sent to us.
  • I sincerely hope each of you who are building one of our boats, or have completed one (or more) will take a couple of minutes to write and tell us a little about your feelings and experiences, dreaming about, building, and/or enjoying your boat. THESE are the stories that really make these WebLetters fun and interesting - "inquiring minds want to know", you know.
  • I don't know the origin of the quote, but I've seen it ring true over and over again:
    "A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved, but a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled."
    Won't you double your pleasure by sharing your stories with us?

Until next month . . .      

2008's Top Boat Names has announced its list of the most popular boat names of the past year. The list includes nautical puns, tributes to recent movies and TV shows, and an overall celebration of the boating lifestyle.

Here are the top ten most popular boat names for 2008:

  1. Happy Ours
  2. Carpe Diem
  3. Aqua-Holic
  4. State of Mind
  5. Anchor Management
  6. The Office
  7. Feelin' Nauti
  8. Yes Dear
  9. Sundance
  10. Serenity Now
Several of the boat names on the list, such as "Happy Ours", "State of Mind" and "Carpe Diem", reflect how much enjoyment people derive from the boating lifestyle. In fact, the popularity of these particular boat names may suggest that boating, for some, offers a temporary respite from the unremitting news about a distressed economy and record-high fuel prices which were experienced during the peak of last year's boating season.

In general, most of the names on this year's list of top boat names illustrate that boaters are imaginative and passionate individuals who like to have fun.

Glen-L Boatbuilder of the Month

George Redden - Malahini

George finished his Malahini in August 2007 and launched late that month and tells us "she runs very well. The 60-HP, 4-stroke Mercury outboard is exceptional; instant start, smooth, quiet, nice idle operation and pushes the boat to 40 mph at max revs of 6600 rpm (fast enough for me!)."

"The hull is finished with Interlux black paint, decks are mahogany planked - caulked white topped with Interlux Goldspar varnish, upholstery is pleated forest green vinyl, and Faria gauges in a mahogany dash."

"The most common onlooker questions are 'What year is it?' and 'Is that an old Chris Craft?' I stopped varnishing at seven coats so that the Honduras mahogany looks like real wood and not something buried under fifteen coats of plastic."

George says "The cockpit layout has proven to be very good, except I should have made the walk-through four-inches wider. It is difficult for me to kneel down when accessing the bow storage compartment, which holds the homemade cockpit cover and auxiliary gas can. The mid hatches are fitted out to hold fenders, docking lines, cooler, waste container, fire extinguisher, etc. The aft hatches give access to the fuel tank, battery, bilge pumps, general storage and the auxiliary electrical panel with battery manual switch, pump fuses and hour-meter. The bottom of the back seat is hinged for storage under it with racks for the boat hook, boarding pole, and cockpit cover support."

"Betty and I will be entering a few ACBS shows this summer and we'll let you know if anything eventful happens."

"Happy boating!"

-- George & Betty Redden,
Staunton, Virginia

Editor's Note: See more about George & Betty's Malahini
in the Project Registry and in Customer Photos.

Featured Design: Bandido

The BANDIDO is a 30' luxury offshore performance boat offering high-tech performance and construction methods to match the exotic production boats, at a fraction of the cost. You can build yours in Wood or Fiberglass with a wide array of powering options. The trailerable hull, capable of 50+ knot speeds in offshore conditions, features a 22º minimum deep vee with radiused keel section and lift strakes.

Your BANDIDO can be set up with single or twin inboards (either diesel or gasoline), driving through I/O units, vee-drives, surface propeller drives, or with jets (with minor modifications). Or use twin outboards if you like (a single outboard engine is also possible). The choice is yours, and a large fuel capacity means long range even with larger motors.

Because of the high performance potential of the BANDIDO, construction is aimed at the conscientious builder willing to follow instructions and use the best materials. With the Wood Version, we specify cold-molded wood veneers or plywood strips laid up in multiple layers diagonally applied, all bonded together preferably with an epoxy bonding and encapsulating system. A layer of fiberglass on the exterior is used for abrasion resistance and added durability. A carefully designed structural "grid" framing system emphasizing longitudinal stringer webs makes a strong, yet lightweight hull.

With the Fiberglass Version, several materials and "one-off" methods are detailed, depending on the builder's budget, abilities, and desires. The fiberglass planking option is probably easiest and cheapest of the fiberglass methods for the novice, but not the lightest in weight. The sandwich core option, using a core material of PVC foam or end-grain balsa, is perhaps a bit more costly, but somewhat lighter in weight. Both systems result in strong boats well within the average amateur's abilities.

The High-Tech version is for the builder who wants the ultimate in light weight and performance potential. The fiberglass hull consists of a sandwich core using rigid PVC foam or end-grain balsa. The super-thin high strength skins are made from aerospace-type S-Glass uni-directional and triaxial fiberglass reinforcements. The high-tech version can be built using conventional "one-off" methods, or for the more adventurous type, vacuum bag methods suitable for many amateurs more fully explained in our text, FIBERGLASS BOATBUILDING FOR AMATEURS. This system can result in a structure that weighs less than 2000 lbs! Procedures used to build the high-tech version are not any more difficult than the other methods; they do, however, require care and attention to detail.

Regardless of the construction method, all BANDIDOs feature a plush cabin with galley provisions and a head, a spacious and safe cockpit, and a roomy sun deck lounge. All plans include Full Size Patterns and comprehensive instructions to simplify construction.

So why wait? Fulfill your dream now and save thousands.

Designer's Notebook: Make Your Own Hardware

Although pattern making for complex parts is still best left to the pros, making a wooden pattern to then have a foundry make a metal sand casting is well within the abilities of the typical DIY individual. Making a water-cooled exhaust manifold is usually well beyond the DIY'er, but simple cleats or one of a kind fittings are mostly within the realm of the handy person.

A basic understanding of how a foundry makes a sand casting should be understood. The "sand" used to make the casting is a special product and not the typical beach type; clays and other additives make it stick together.

For example, let's take a simple flat plate pattern as shown in the sketch. Note that the sides are tapered (this is called "draft"); the part must be able to be withdrawn from the sand mold. The person who makes sand castings is called a "molder". He uses a two part box called a "flask" to hold the sand mold. This flask is divided into two halves, aligned by guides; the flask does not have a fixed top or bottom. The lower part of the flask is called a "drag" and the upper section "cope".

Using the simple flat plate pattern, the molder lays it on a flat board. The drag portion of the flask is inverted over the pattern lying on the flat board and the molding sand packed firmly over the pattern and into the flask drag. Another flat board is put over the exposed open end of the drag and the entire affair rolled over and the original flat board removed to expose the top of the pattern.

The cope (upper half of the flask) is slipped over upright locating pins and the cope firmly packed (rammed) with sand. A flat board is put over the top open end of the cope. The cope is then slid upward by the guide pins and off of the drag. The cope and board are then flipped over so the part with the pattern impression is exposed.

The wooden pattern is then carefully withdrawn from the sand mold. A good molder will draw the pattern from the mold with almost no sand being disturbed. The molder cuts "gates"' (paths in the sand) for the molten metal to enter the pattern cavity. A "sprue" or hole for entrance of the molten metal is cut through the cope sand directly over the gate in the drag. The mold cavity and gates are cleared of any loose grains of sand. The cope is then inverted and placed over the drag with the guide pins aligning the two.

The sand mold is then ready to be poured with molten metal. After cooling, the casting is removed from the sand, the gate cut off, and you have a metal duplicate of the wooden pattern.

The resultant casting will be smaller than its pattern. In manganese bronze the difference will be about 3/16" to the foot, but this will be unimportant for the typical cleat or similar fitting. If, however, the part being made is to fit to another part, shrinkage should be allowed for. Special "shrink rules" are available but calculating the amount of shrinkage is not that difficult.

Wooden patterns may be made from almost any stable wood; soft white pine is easy to carve and for short runs is commonly used. The important thing to remember about a pattern is that it must be pulled from the sand mold smoothly; it must be tapered or have draft, no back hollows. A pattern may be split in two halves with the "parting" line on the same plane as that of the cope and drag junction. In truth, the parting line does not have to be in this plane but to keep things simple, we're describing a pattern that has the above requisite or is in the drag only as our flat plate example.

Examples of split patterns.

On the left is a split pattern that was made to slip over a boom tube of a very small dinghy. The split pattern halves are aligned by small dowel pins tapered to slip out easily but align the two halves accurately. On the right is a fitting made for the bow of a sailboat. The forward portion is a cleat while the aft vertical portion can be drilled for the forestay pin and other fittings required.

Sharp corners cannot be tolerated on sand cast patterns. Interior junctions should be filleted, made from any hard setting compound that can be easily applied and formed. Fillet shape wax is frequently used by pattern makers but since small quantities may be difficult to obtain, for small patterns paraffin wax will suffice. A heated fillet tool (simply a steel ball on a handle) is used to apply fillet wax, melting it and forming it into a junction. Just be certain all edges are well rounded and all junctions flow smoothly together with draft or taper.

The finished pattern must be sealed. For years orange shellac made from scratch was used. Sand mixes became more complex and special coatings were developed but are expensive and difficult to obtain for most. Lacquer-based finishes also work well. Usually two or three coats of paste wax, well rubbed over the pattern, will suffice for short runs. If in doubt, check with the foundry that will make the part.

Sand castings for marine use are generally made from a brass compound, red brass, manganese bronze or related alloys. Aluminum is easy to cast but does tend to deteriorate, especially in a salt-water environment.

The patterns shown are but a couple of examples of what can be made from sand casting patterns. We've made patterns and sand castings for most anything that can be imagined; cleats, lifting eyes, bow handles, vents, hawse pipes, exhaust port flanges, water pickups, steering wheels and columns, throttle fittings, windshield brackets, struts, fins, rudders, etc. Some parts will have back-draft, holes, or other conditions that may need to be free of molten metal. An insert in the mold cavity must be used called a "core" that is made from special sand packed into a wooden core box, removed and baked in an oven. The resultant core is inserted into the mold cavity.

This short discourse is not intended to cover the pattern nuances required for patterns with cores; it can be a complex subject. The would-be pattern maker contemplating making patterns that require cores should obtain a good book on pattern making and foundry practice.

The handy DIY person can make simple parts, however. It's fun and castings can be made for parts that can't be bought but do fill a particular need.

Try it; you'll like the challenge and end up with a one-of-a-kind part or fitting.


A nchors are as old as boats
According to ancient lore
They hold on to the seabed
And keep you off the shore

Some have flukes to dig in
Others work by mass alone
Some are permanent moorings
For anchoring at your home

For temporary holding work
There are anchors of many types
Danforth, Northill or Claw
Will all fit in your hawse-pipe

Some say for better holding
Go with a mushroom or a plough
Though breakout can be difficult
You’ll need strong cleats on the bow

Some older types I’ll mention
The stockless, fisherman or screw
Not often seen much anymore
But in a pinch, they’ll do

The simplest kind of anchor
For use on a small boat
A paint can full of concrete
Or just a rock and a rope

Whatever type you choose
To hold you in wind and sea
Be sure to tie the bitter end
If you lose it, don’t blame me


Photos sent in since the last WebLetter...

Harold the boatbuilder

"Wish not so much to live long as to live well."
--- Benjamin Franklin, 1746

(rumored to have been said whilst building his first Glen-L designed boat)

Shop Talk: Clever Tips

Drill Holster

Here's a handy way to store your electric drill, sent in by Dick Grote of Palo Alto, California — a "holster" that hangs on a pegboard rack.

The holster is a scrap of "two-by" material with two openings cut in it. The drill chuck fits in a large hole. And the power cord slips into a keyhole-shaped notch.

By installing two L-hooks in the back edge, you can hang the holster securely on the pegboard.

Assembly Blocks

Sometimes you almost need a third hand to assemble a project, especially working with large pieces of plywood. To help keep the pieces aligned, use assembly blocks made from scrap.

Make these blocks from medium density fiberboard (MDF) with intersecting dadoes cut in the middle (pieces of plywood or solid wood would work as well). Just set the workpieces in the assembly blocks or place the blocks on top to hold the pieces in place until the clamps are installed.

Recent email:

Subject: Boatbuilder Forum
Date: 12 January 2009

I just discovered the forum!
Nice job on the WebLetter (love the Jimmy Buffet song, too)!

-- Ray Boller

Subject: Outrage
Date: 14 January 2009

I sent you a Power Point presentation of my building the Outrage.

I've built 4 Glen-L boats - one sailboat and two copies of TNT and now the "Outrage." This one was the most fun. I am an architect, but my hobby is cabinet making.

Your plans are very accurate and easy to work with. I would recommend them to anyone that is ready for a boatbuilding project.

-- John Wilmot
Edgewater, Maryland

Subject: Great Information
Date: 22 January 2009

Thank you very much for the information you gave me. My Glen-L books arrived the other day and I've been reading like crazy; I'm definitely inspired to build my first boat!

-- Brad Lynskey
Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Subject: Glen-L Website
Date: 27 January 2009

Your website is fascinating! I hope I can find some time this weekend to take a closer look.

I have great childhood memories of helping my grandpa wax and polish his 1950s Chris-Craft speed boat. Maybe that's why I hang a new Wooden Boat Calendar up in my office every year...

-- Andy

Editor's Note: You'll find Andy's excellent website
Andy's EZ Woodshop quite interesting.

Subject: Acapulco Camper
Date: 27 January 2009

Hi there. I started building the Acapulco Camper in the fall of 2008. I have built most of the shell and am now working on the roof. This has been a fun project so far; I will send photos soon.

Thanks for the great plans.

-- Steven Gourley
Trenton, Ontario, Canada

Subject: "Build Your Dream Boat" Newsletter
Date: 25 January 2009


You deserve a marketing award of some type. I smile when I see Glen-L eMail in my inbox - your messages usually arrive just when I have talked myself out of a boatbuilding adventure.

And through some psychic ability you always seem to hit the points I've used to talk myself out of it.

-- John Haley
Henrietta, New York

Subject: "Ribs Up" Party
Date: 1 February 2009

Aloha...I ordered your Mist Miss drawings in October or November, started building on December 1, 2008 and had my "ribs up Party" last week.... will send you some photos in due course. Aloha.

-- Jack Waggoner
Sacramento, California

eMail of the Month

Subject: Thank You
Date: 27 January 2009

Dear all at Glen-L, thanks for all the information that you sent. My project is going slow, but it is going. Stem is connected to the breasthook, side braces are done, transom is half way and hopefully will be ready for mid-February when I plan to build the platform.

My big problems are second floor flat, no garden, no driveway, and two girls that are in education (the girls are not the problem but paying for education is). But hey, life is too short for negative attitude, so we will do it.

Oh, sorry, my name is Alex, I live in London, and I was born by the river Danube in Serbia. In the eighties my brother and I built a 13-footer in plywood and fiberglassed it with polyester, but I always wanted to build with epoxy, and this Power Drifter is just an educational exercise. Plan is to build a classic sailing yacht in cold molding, and Mediterranean retirement.

Dreams. Yes dreams. Smell of wood when cut or sanded, dreams become reality. Freedom at last. Thank you.

Wishing you well.

-- Alex Bekvalac
London, England

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