Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedbackWebLetter 66 logo

An Occasional Publication for the Home Boat Builder

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

In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • This has been a busy month. The Boatbuilder Connection software was updated and the next day we received notice of another update... to correct potential security problems in the previous update. PhpBB said they felt embarrassed about this, but that we should update. We did... then the last post in a string in the "Wood and Plywood" forum came up with a "De-bug" error message. Soon all the messages in this forum came up with the de-bug error message. Then other forums became involved. We reloaded the program... didn't help. Through a support forum, we were finally able to get an answer... corrupted tables. Ran a small utility, and all was ok. The fix was easy, the frustration was not.
  • We are getting close to the launch of our new shopping cart. As soon as we finish shooting photos, we should be able to put it on site. Will keep you informed.
  • I had an inquiry recently about pouring a lead keel. I have since discovered a thread on our Boatbuilder Connection about this. Steven Hunt posted a link to another board that dealt with pouring a lead keel.
  • Next month will be the "Trawler" issue. We have received a cigar box full of photos of the construction of the Argosy and hope to have a story on the Hercules. Any other comments, stories or photos of your Glen-L trawler are welcome.
  • Email. All of us have come to take email for granted. We send a message, and someone sends us an answer... or doesn't. If we don't get an answer, we blame it on the person we emailed. However, there may be other reasons that your email isn't answered. The following reasons have been given for email returned to us.
    "550 [SUSPEND] Please contact your correspondent directly. This mailbox is currently suspended."
    "Mailbox full"
    Two messages from one emailer came back... something to do with anti-spam software. In the next email he wrote: "This is my third, and I guess, last attempt to get an answer..." Since his email did not include other contact information, we had no immediate way to contact him. Darla was able to find him in our old order processing program and to confirm his address on the Internet and we were able to snail-mail an answer. But for many email this is not an option. If you are not getting email replies, check you mail box to see there is room. Make sure your browser displays the correct return email address (they don't always). I have no idea what to do about SPAM ware that rejects a message. We don't always have an immediate answer for your email, but we do our best to answer all email questions. Oh yes, and watch your subject line. On Monday mornings we usually get 1300 to 1800 email. Most are SPAM and are easily dealt with, often on the basis of the "Subject" line. "Hi" or a clever phrase may end up in the trash. Make the Subject line relevant. It is good to include the name of the boat.
  • The WebLetter is a little light this month; I had saved a place in it for your story... well, maybe next month.


Why I must build a boat

by Mike Skinner

I've always been fascinated by the wake behind a boat. It's that rooster tail thing that trails the boat when planing. When I was 4 or 5 years old, we would go to Houghton Lake (Michigan) on vacations and dad would bring along his old 7-1/2 hp Scott-Atwater and rent a boat for the week. He would take my brother and me out fishing every morning. I'd stick my hand in the side wake and let it flop around as we made our way to a spot where we could make enough noise in the aluminum boat to keep the fish away. I just loved watching that rooster tail and would try to imitate it with my hand when I would take a bath.

As I grew up, I built several scratch built disasters, and some nice models from Dumas Boats. I never had enough money to own a real boat, but always wanted one. In the early 90's I scrounged up enough to buy a 10' Achilles inflatable and a new 8 hp Johnson outboard. My wife and I would take it out every chance we could for a few years on inland lakes that weren't too crowded and have a blast. It got put away for years while we saved, planned and built a house. I still had that itch, but the thought of a boat loan for occasional use and a short season (Michigan), always scared me away.

Searching the Internet one day, I typed in "Boat Plans"; kidding myself into thinking I would find something I could build. None of the sites had anything I was looking for, even though I had no idea what I wanted, and the sites had little information and poor selections. Then I clicked on Glen-L and, WHOA!!! "Honey, stay off the phone", (yeah right), dang dial-up connections. I was up until 2:00 a.m. and couldn't get to sleep when I did go to bed. For a week I would go to Glen-L and look at everything over and over. What really tickled me was the wide selection of boats and the amount of information, all on one site. I soon ordered the catalog so I could pick my dream boat. I studied my catalog every night thinking what I wanted to do with the boat and which one(s) would be right.

I ran across a site that rated the "Boat Plan" sites. It said that many of the Glen-L designs were a bit "dated". I believe they meant it as a detriment, but I thought that was the attraction. I can't remember the last time I saw a boat (other than BIG boats) and thought, "WOW, look at that design." Boat designs seem to be like cars anymore. If it doesn't have the name on it, I have no idea what it is. They look very generic to me. If anyone saw a Glen-L boat go by, I'd bet they would say "WOW, where did you buy that?" "You can't buy these, you have to build them." I can almost imagine Muffin slapping Tad on the back of the head, "Why can't you do anything like that?" (Sorry if there are any Muffins or Tads reading this).


Old Guys building boats

Subject: RE: Glen-L February Update
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005
From: Andy Anderson
To: Gayle Brantuk

E.L. Andy Anderson and the boys

Gayle: You probably didn't get my message but unfortunately my boat building days are over. Have had a series of blood transfusions needed because my Leukemia has really taken over. Won't even be able to finish the Sissy Do (that is about 1/3 done).

Been great dealing with you folks over the years and I regret not being able to carry on, but hey... I'll be 85 tomorrow and lucky to have gotten this far.

My main regret is not being able to complete the Sissy Do. Pix of current and last stage included.

Best to all

WebLetter 49

Bass Boat: She was hoping I would lose interest...

by Mike Siemann

The idea of building a boat came about because my wife was giving me a hard time about buying a small fishing boat. She was hoping that if I started to build my own, I would lose interest before I had invested much money. Boy was she wrong!

I have over five years experience in woodworking and told myself that building a boat would be easy. My first step was to go to the bookstore to look for information on boat building and found two web sites. Glen-L was the better of the two.

Step two was to read any information about how plywood boats are built and what kind of wood I would need. I chose mahogany and Douglas Fir Marine Plywood that is not available any closer to my home than New Orleans.

The pictures I'm sending you show a history of eight months hard work. I started my boat in my shop, but early on I realized that my shop was much too small. I am building my bass boat in a 10 X 20 feet tent that I've set up next to my shop. The building process has become a love/hate relationship. I thought that I would never finish making the frames. Recreating the angles to wood and the plans in general drove me crazy! It's not like any woodworking that I've ever done before!

My advice for anyone who is getting the itch to build your first boat is
spacer1) PATIENCE!
spacer2) PATIENCE!
spacer3) PATIENCE!
4) Read everything you can find on boat building.
5) Make Mr. Witt's book from Glen-L your bible.
6) Don't try to cut corners.

As you put the boat together, your understanding of boat building will come to light. Then the fun begins! I will send you pictures once I complete the battens, sides, and bottom installed. Right now I'm fairing surfaces. I found a jig that fits on an electric planer to scarf my plywood to create a single piece sides and bottoms.


Jimbo: A conversation

From: Barry Witt
To: Ian Davey
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Subject: Re: re the Jimbo

On Mon, 28 Feb 2005, Ian Davey wrote:

Dear Sir,
I've decided that I quite like your Jimbo design but in the photos that Brian Klauser submitted, he suggests that he had trouble with porpoising. Would this be a problem with the design or something in the way he has set up his boat?

Should I go for something more like the Console Skiff if I want something for fairly open bay work where it can get very choppy?

I do not know why Brian's boat porpoised. It is not inherent in the design and could happen in any design. The most common causes are described here:
WebLetter 58
WebLetter 1

The Jimbo will probably give a better ride than the Console Skiff.


From: Ian Davey
To: Barry Witt
Subject: Re: re the jimbo
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005


Many thanks for the speedy reply. I got a reply from Brian also, who sings loudly the praises of his boat (with good reason). I've included his reply below with the simple solution he suggested. I love your web site and would also love to see some more Jimbos on it, if you can persuade some of the other owners.

Now to stop procrastinating and to make a deal with the wife!!

"Great to hear from you. The porpoising was easily fixed by adding a 'sting ray' or 'dole fin' to the outboard. This was a cheap and easy fix. I got the part from West Marine for around $30 and bolts on to the motor. A lot cheaper and easier then adding trim tabs, and it really allows you to trim the boat by tilting the motor up or down. The boat is fairly light, especially in the bow, so the sting ray tail puts downward pressure on the bow, and really helps for early planing out of the hole. The nose never really feels like it is going to dig in. From the splash guard forward is out of the water at all times. The only time I ever felt like the bow might dig in or pull was when surfing down the face of some 4 - 5 foot waves on my way back into the inlet. I have had the boat out in the ocean a bunch of times in small swells and it handles beautifully. In chop it does fair pretty well, but it is light, so it can be a bit bouncy. This boat stays remarkably dry in most all conditions. Overall I am extremely happy with this design, I have had it out in all kinds of conditions, and have beat on it pretty good trying to get out of the inlet, and it has been serving me quite well. I have done a lot of research looking for the best boat for my conditions, and I could not have picked a better boat. I would be happy to answer any other questions for you and will send any other photos if you want. I am very proud of this boat, and love riding in it. She is powered with a Yamaha 4 stroke 50 HP, but you could easily go to the 60 HP max recommended.
Brian Klauser"

Bridge Hopping

And how exactly is this related to boatbuilding... I don't know, just couldn't get the image out of my mind, of these Cambridge scholars blindly leaping off a bridge into the abyss. brw

Punting on the Cam by William M. Connolley.

"For the more adventurous, another aspect of punting is known as 'bridge hopping'. On approaching the bridge the hopper stands in the bow facing forward ready to leap out of the punt and grab on to the bridge. As the punt moves under the bridge the hopper rushes to the other side, and leaps back in. (According to some traditions, if the hopper is too slow to leap back into the punt before it passes, he/she is honour-bound to leap off the bridge anyway.) Hazards include injury to passengers as the hopper leaps back into the boat as well as awkward landings both in and out of the boat. Bridge hopping is practised at the hopper's own risk and is best practised away from colleges where porters can become somewhat irate."

More punting from Wikipedia

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Harold the boatbuilder

Every morning when I wake up there's a pile of sawdust on my pillow... now what's that all about?

Seen in print: Dragonfly

The Dragonfly was featured in the 1 March 2005 issue of Messing About in Boats.

Recent email:

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Tuesday, March 15, 2005

name: Scott Clark

Comments: Hello from Australia,

I have recently seen several classic wooden power boats based on your designs. Beautiful boats with classic lines reminiscent of those seen in James Bond movies have always appealed to me. So, I have decided that I should build one of my own.

Your web site contains all the info I expected & will be used as my project progresses.

Best regards,

Subject: Re: Subscribe
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005

Love Glen-L web site and your newsletter... please don't stop it. I Have purchased plans for Pierre Dory and Sherwood Queen over the years. Went so far as to build a model of the Dory, but never built either. Have finally retired at age 69, will be relocating to a retirement home in the mountains of Arkansas by summer, and hope to build something in which we can "play Ray Macke" on the Arkansas River inland waterway. Tell Glen that I still have the original magazine articles on Sea Knight and have never seen anything that I have liked better in that size boat. That design has certainly withstood the test of time! May build one yet.
Ted Brown
Weatherford, Texas

Subject: Re: Glen-L Order
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2005

Good Morning Gayle,

I just got off work. Thank you for saving me the trouble. By the way for a small business you sure operate professionally. Maintain that common touch with people. It looks good on you. There is not enough of you in this world. Keep up the good work.

I was always glad to do business with you , now I am proud to be part of the ever growing, GlenL Family.

Graciously yours, Gerald.

From: Dr. John Hosler-Donohue
To: Gayle Brantuk
Subject: Re: Glen-L Plans Order
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005

I remember way back when, when no one had built a Glen L design and talked down on them. I have built several designs and found them to be well thought out, functional, and efficient.
My thanks to all of you, for not only keeping a tradition alive, but standing behind your designs.
Years ago Glen signed a copy of his Boatbuilding With Plywood for me and I was able to give it to a dying man who had taught me a great deal. He passed away with it next to his bed. It was well read.

Subject: Post Man
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005

Hey guys... finally found a really neat winshield for my grandson's "Post Man" (Squirt). I got the windshield from Tony Peets in CA tele: 925-689-8485. When I went to the machine shop to drill the holes I needed in the brackets they commented that "this is really high grade aluminum". Now Post Man looks like a real old Chris Craft. Thanks Tony! That is it for ANYthing else going on the boat... 100% complete. We take her out EVERY weekend... Great Boat Glen-L. I ordered the Malahini plans last month but can't start that one until I put a few $$ back into my home, which was hit by TWO hurricans a few months ago. But my grandson is already saying Nanna & Pops can have his "Post Man" and he gets the Malahini "Zoloft" after I build it. Fat chance!
Captain WeemO'

Subject: soft epoxy
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005

Good Day Fellow boat builders, I am having a problem with my epoxy not firming up. It has been 7 days and the surface is still tacky. This is the second coat of epoxy that was rolled over the glass and first coat epoxy. Same batch of goo. Do you have any sugestions on how I can get this soft epoxy to harden or am I going to have to scrape this stuff off and try again? Would acetone take this stuff off if I need to get down to the hard layer?
Thanks Don Kingsley
Chandler, AZ

ANSWER: If it hasn't set up, assuming the temps aren't all below 50 degrees, it wasn't properly mixed. Not enough hardener, or no hardener (two part A mixed together).
"Tacky". Amine blush is an oily residue that can be wiped off, but the resin underneath is hard. Amine blush is "oily", not "sticky". If improper mix and won't harden, scrape off what you can and use de-natured alcohol, acetone or lacquer thinner to remove remainder.

From: Drew
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2005

Hello I'm building an 11' tnt boat with my dad. It is turning out great. I like the styles that you all have. I'm 13 and I can't wait to drive the boat.

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Wednesday, March 9, 2005.

name: Tom Taylor
Comments: My grandson and I are building the X-1 RC Model boat to gain the skills to eventually build a Jimbo. Keep up the good work.

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Friday, February 25, 2005

name: michael

Comments: we just started to build the tnt and we love the plans you guys sent us. They are very clear and easy to understand. My dad and I started about a month ago and we hope to finish by this June or July. We just finished cutting all the frames out.

Subject: RE: Glen-L Plans Order Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005
To: Gayle Brantuk

I order different things from time to time from the internet and I have never received anything as fast as the plans I ordered... You guys do a great job! Thanks, Jason Williams

I wish I could say this always happens. We usually ship the day or next working day after we receive an order, from then on, it's up to the post office or other shipping company. Gayle

Subject: Eight Ball
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2005

I did intend to write at the start of the project, but as soon as the wood arrived we couldn't help ourselves. The eight Ball is almost finished and we are about to glass the outsides. Quarter inch plywood was not available at the time of starting the boat so we went for 8mm sides and 12mm for the rest. It was a bit worrying in case we couldn't bend the 8mm, but everything turned out fine. So much so we thought about painting it grey and fitting a ramp at the front for beach landings!

Subject: Thanks
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2005

Thank you for such an easy to use site. The terms are explained enough for me to know how to do more research. You have done a real service to novices such as I.

Richard New

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Saturday, February 19, 2005

name: Richard B Young Comments: Got to searching and found your website, been jumping for joy ever since! Done lots of power boating, water skiing, etc since 11/12yrs. Done very little sailing but got hooked bad. I'm 50 now and looking forward to building 1st boat! Think Sea Kayak may be good beginning but hoping to shoot for something larger with sails soon. Really do like your site and products offered and told lots of friends to check it out. Anxious to receive my 1st order. thanks Rick

Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005
From: Bob Ellis
Subject: Re: Questions about your Flying Saucer
To: Gerald Jacobs

Gerald Jacobs wrote:
Mr. Ellis, My name is Jerry Jacobs and I am writing to you today inquiring about the construction of your Glen-L Flying Saucer. May I first compliment you on the appearance of your boat. It is indeed a fine looking craft. If you don’t mind I have several questions I would like to ask. I am contemplating which boat to build and have changed my mind several times. I am looking for a boat that can be placed on top of my truck and taken camping. I dismissed this boat at first; however, upon reading the brief description on the web-site Glen-L actually mentions this craft as a car topper. I would envision keeping the helm in the rear as you built yours, but remove all the frame tops forward leaving an open bow. This would facilitate flipping the boat onto the top of a truck. This leads to a couple of questions:
The web-site lists the hull weight at 190 pounds. In your experience is this estimate fairly close?
In your opinion is the boat durable enough to be transported on the top of a vehicle?
How much epoxy did you need to encapsulate and fiberglass the hull?What weight fiberglass did you use?
How long did it take you to construct?
Are you pleased with the size of the boat?
Is there anything that you would do differently?
I am sure that I am not the first person to bother you with these types of questions. I appreciate your time. Regards, Jerry Jacobs

Hi Jerry, First of all, thanks for your compliments. Let me say right off, if you are looking for a car-top camping boat, the Flying Saucer would not be good. I've tried an 125# aluminum boat on my truck and even it was too much! Even if you eliminated the forward decks on the Saucer, you would have to strengthen the sheer clamp to handle the loads, and I don't think it would be an overall weight saving. To answer some of your questions: The 190# Glen-L estimate is probably about right, and to that I probably added another 25-35 pounds for glass and resin. I used a 4oz cloth since it is a small boat and I had some leftovers from earlier projects. I'm retired and I built the boat part-time during a winter that I had spent down South. I think I had earlier estimated about 200 manhours on a hit and miss work schedule. The boat itself is great! It performs just as it was designed for; a great little 50's speedboat. This was at a time when outboard motors weren't much bigger than 25hp. My recommendation to you would be one of these three Glen-L designs: The Topper, The Bull's Eye, or the Utility. Check their weights and you can either build Stitch-N-Glue or the "Real Way". Which ever way you go, build rather than buy, and enjoy! Cheers, Bob

Note Re. weight: Fiberglassing probably didn't add more than about 15 lbs. (probably less, since 4oz cloth was used). Typically the hull weight is "the hull only", or the weight that you have to turn over. Does not include decking or interior. The hull weight is an estimate. Were Sitka spruce to be used for lumber and okoume plywood, considerable weight would be saved. However, since even the weight of a sheet of plywood can vary, hull weights are estimates. brw

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