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
  • Finally, it's Spring in Southern California! Although we're getting our usual month of "June gloom" we can feel summer's arrival not far away. It's time to get out all of our outdoor gear and prepare our equipment to take full advantage of the warm summer months out on the water!
  • We hope you enjoy this month's WebLetter. I especially can identify with Glen's "Art of Scrounging" being the pack rat that I am (just ask Gayle!). I trust that you all will find a number of people and situations in the WebLetter that you too will identify with.
  • Once you've given this WebLetter a look, why don't you send Glen-L a short email telling us what progress you're making on your boat build, or what your plans are for the coming months, or what you've already done and how much you've enjoyed your time with family and friends?
    Enquiring minds want to know!

Until next month . . .      

Another First-Time Boatbuilder Shares

by Garry Stout


I first ordered the plans for my Monaco in May of 2008, and 11 months later I launched the boat for its maiden voyage. My brother and I worked on the boat about 5 hours per day, 5 days a week, so I figure we have about 1200 hours into the total project.

All frames, keel, sheer, chine, longitudinals, etc were made from Mahogany with only the cold molded substrates made from Okume plywood. The engine is a brand new 310 HP Indmar marine V-8 engine of 350 cubic inches. The transmission came with the engine and is a 1.26:1 gear ratio. I'm swinging a 14"X16" 4 blade OJ propeller and the boat does an easy 50 MPH +.

I should mention that I'm an accountant by trade, recently retired, and never built anything out of wood before.


Glen-L Boatbuilders of the Month

Paul & Joe Bromley - Squirt

T he Isle of Man is a wonderful place of beauty and history which lies in the Irish Sea between the United Kingdom and Ireland. There is a wealth of Manx history from the Celtics to the Vikings.

We live In Ballasalla, a small village built from the remains of a once great Abbey which still holds to an old religious past. Ballasalla holds close ties with Castletown and is still remembered for monks and strawberries with cream. The village, named from Gaelic meaning "Place of the Willow Trees" was mainly built from the ruins of Rushen Abbey, a medieval Savignac/Cistercian abbey built on the banks of the Silverburn river, which was founded in the 1100's and dissolved in the 1500's.

After 2 1/2 years (on-and-off) our dream of finishing our Squirt has become reality today when she made her maiden voyage on the Irish Sea in the Isle of Man.

For anyone thinking they cannot do it, think again. I am a retired Police officer and my wife a retired Nurse. Both my son and daughter are Chartered accountants although Joe is not yet fully qualified. My son Joe and I fancied having a go at something different but don't have a lot of space at home, so Joe browsed the net for something which had a classic look and that we could make look a bit 1950's James Bond-ish. He came up with the Squirt after seeing your site and the Glen-L Forum where we could get help.

Joe and I have never built a boat before and started construction of the Squirt (which we extended to 10 feet 8 inches) in a 13 foot shed. It was a bit of a squeeze and required some organization, but with a will we made it! In fact, the excellence of the Squirt's design and the great help from the Glen-L Boatbuilder Forum enabled us to produce a craft of which we are proud.

She performs well even on a choppy bay and is a great tribute to the soundness of her design.

The Glen-L Boatbuilder Forum has been fantastic and because of it, even though we live on a fairly remote island, we have never felt short of advice.

Thanks for a great service and many happy hours of fun together building her. Because of this great experience, this will not be the last Glen-L boat we build.

Builders' Photos

Constructing a Curved Windshield

by Stephen K. Yokubaitis

W hen I decided that I wanted a curved windshield on my Riviera I realized that I was going to have to design it myself and work with whatever available materials I could find. After a lot of searching, primarily on the internet, I settled on a rather simple design composed of easily obtainable parts that resulted in what I think is a nice solid windshield with very clean lines. I thought that it might be worthwhile to describe the process and make it available to other boatbuilders.

Here is my story, along with a list of the materials that I used and (in those instances that I can remember) where I purchased them (see the photos at the end of this article documenting the process):

First, construct a template from cardboard to use to cut your Lexan windshield (I chose to use Lexan rather than Plexiglas because it has a smaller bending radius).

Use a straight side of the Lexan for the top of the windshield and scribe the bottom to the curvature of the deck. Trace the bottom of the windshield on the deck to aid in locating holes to be drilled through the deck for the hold-down fasteners.


Designer's Notebook: The Art of Scrounging

According to the dictionary "scrounging" is the acquisition of goods or services other than by direct purchase. Almost everyone has a little "scroungability" in their makeup and it's often a requisite in boat building. Maybe it's help from a friendly neighbor when you are fiberglassing or unloading the lumber. Perhaps a friend is adept at metal working, has the tools and can do a little welding or machine work gratis.

Another form of scrounging is using the stuff that you've stashed in the garage or workshop rafters or other special hoarding areas. This is the stuff that is too good to throw away but you have no use for at the time. The real addict usually can think of a good reason to keep most all stuff; it's probably not a valid reason but, hey, what you're keeping is a nice "thing."

My garage has an old "small parts" metal file. It's mostly full of miscellaneous nuts, bolts, screws and the like gathered over the years. It's a good source for that special nut, bolt or washer needed for the task at hand.

But what about that drawer full of old hinges? Barn door, flat, offset, you name it. There's a single hinge, don't know why it was saved . . . where did the other half of the pair go? Open another drawer; it's full of door pulls. Yup, all kinds, mostly ugly. Then there is the drawer labeled "Misc"! What a pile of stuff (almost said "junk") in that one! An inner tube repair kit? How old is it… is it still good… will it ever be used… should be thrown away… but who knows… perhaps it could be used to fix a kid's bicycle tire?

It isn't a good idea to open more drawers; they'd probably evoke guilty feelings for saving the darned stuff.

A good example of how "leftovers" and adapting items for a project is the steering wheel built by Porter Harvey for his "Sweet Caroline" skiff. The hub is turned on a lathe from a selection of scrap exotic woods. The spokes are stock turnings purchase at a local home store. The wheel perimeter is a length of copper tubing. The results - an inexpensive to build, but one-of-a-kind asset to any boat. Most scroungers are probably not as far gone as the stuff in my stash. But it isn't necessary for me to go shopping for that little something I suddenly need; it's generally in the items saved over the years.

Of course, there is the problem of where is it stored? But the true scrounger categorizes things; lumber in one place, plywood another, metal in a rack, etc. And, it's kinda fun checking the old stuff over to remind you of the golden hoard you really have.

So don't let the little woman conjure you into cleaning out your treasures she calls "junk". Remind her of all the money you will save from gleaning the stuff you'll need to build your project.

Plus, true scroungers live longer!

The Door to the Head

Once I had a sailboat
The name was Cinnamon
The color was like the pastry
Or a toasted hot dog bun

The boat was new when I got it
The sails were spanking white
Of the latest MORC design
In bright sun, it really was a sight

It sailed very fast in light winds
And handled like a dream
We sailed it everywhere
I loved to see and to be seen

But it had a flaw I noticed
The head door was askew
Only a small bit of misalignment
I could not ignore that, once I knew

The quick way to fix it
Was just to saw it straight
The door would then be smaller
But straight, to which I could relate

I took the door down and cut it
But wrongly, it seems I had
For now it was off the other way
The seam was still just as bad

So I took it down and cut again
My fervor drove me on
The boat rocked just as I cut
Any margin was by then all gone

The power saw made a ragged cut
It was a horrible sight to see
I quickly cut it straight again
Though I knew it was not to be

It now was perfectly aligned
Very nice, no need for tact
But it was short by several inches
No way to ignore that fact

I should have left it as it was
No one would really notice
But now it was as obvious
As an odorous camphor poultice

Remember this story, my friend
So you don’t act a dunce
When working on your own boat
Please, measure twice, cut once


Photos posted since the last WebLetter...

Harold the boatbuilder

"Worrying is the same thing as banging your head against the wall. It only feels good when you stop."

Shop Talk: Truing a Square

Framing squares are usually thought of as rough carpentry tools. But you might find it comes in handy in building your boat. They're great for checking large cases, cabinets, storage lockers and assemblies.

Unlike other tools, framing squares don't require much care. But since they tend to get dropped a lot, it's a good idea to periodically check yours to make sure it's still square (see box below).

If it's not, you can spread the legs of the square slightly by making a punch mark near the inside corner. To close up the legs, make a punch near the heel, see photos below.

Recent email:

Subject: Life-long Memories
Date: 18 May 2009

I'm getting a lot of enjoyment from the build of the Glen-L 15 and my 2 year old son loves to come out and help me.

My Gandfather built a runabout with my dad when my dad was about six years old (in the 1950's). I love hearing the stories of the build and the fun they had on the lake in that boat.

Thanks for helping me create some life-long memories with my kids.

-- Dave Chumley
Lavergne, Tennessee

Subject: Mini Life Guard Chair
Date: 26 April 2009

I thought some of your readers might like this. I wanted a seat in Hero,(my 26' Hunky Dory) so I made a mini life guard chair. A elderly "boat- grown" neighbor mentioned that in the old days they never nailed down the deck. That way when the boat sank, the floorboards floated up and you hung on to them.

I stowed 8 lifejackets in my seat and rigged a quick release pin so if the boat sinks, the chair/lifejackets will pop up. Old wisdom rules.

-- John Stevens
Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Subject: Sabotina
Date: 25 May 2009

Good morning. I ordered plans for the Sabotina several years ago, and my sons and I started building two weeks ago (5/10/2009). So far, we have the strongback and temporary frames built. I'm looking forward to building something that will actually be part of a boat. ;-)

None of us are woodworkers, but I'm confident that we can do this. Then we can move on to building something bigger and more complex that we know we can't do...

-- D. Erich "Mouse" Marse
Whittier, California

Subject: Teleseminar
Date: 1 May 2009

I enjoyed listening to the replay of the teleseminar on 8 Steps to Build the Boat of your Dreams." I am still in the planning and dreaming process of building a Glen-L boat.

I have previously built a stitch and glue pygmy kayak. I currently have the plans for a Squirt but have recently decided to make my first build the Bass Boat. Listening to the teleseminar got me going again so I placed an order for the Bass Boat plans, Boatbuilder's Notebook and study plans for Houseboats.

I don't know exactly when I will be able to begin my build; need a place to be able to build in, but I love to study the plans and dream.

Thanks for the great website and all the info. I spend a lot of time just reading the Boatbuilder Forum, looking at Customer Photos and reading the other wealth of info on your website. I'm sure that when I am able to get started with my build I can be successful with all the info and help available to me.

I have plans for several Glen-L design builds, Bass Boat, Squirt, Bo Jest and maybe at retirement a Houseboat. Wish me luck!

-- John Limbert
McCall, Idaho

Subject: Family Business
Date: 10 May 2009


Thank you for the personal look at you and your family. To be honest I thought your news letter and all the information you sent out was just a marketing thing. It's nice to see the family business is the real deal.

I took your suggestion and purchased the plans for the Monaco...should be an interesting project and I am excited to get building.

Thanks for the plans and books and I'm sure we will be in touch as I move forward.

-- Terry Reid
Alliston, Ontario, Canada

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