Why I must build a boat

by Mike Skinner

A few years ago, I drove around a private lake in a friend's pontoon boat. We just putted along looking at houses and chatting. It was then I realized that I didn't need the wake or speed to enjoy a boat ride. We were able to talk normally and my internal organs were intact when we got back. The pace was nice because instead of shooting from point "A" to "B", straight and at full throttle, I looked around at everything instead of ahead to brace myself for the next wave. I narrowed my choices down to the Hercules or the Bo-Jest. I imagined my wife and kids (that we didn't have yet) and I taking a day or weekend trip along the Michigan shoreline, stopping wherever and having a place to rest or snack or drain oneself on the boat. I ordered the study plans for both and "Boatbuilding with Plywood" book. I would read some each night before bed and close my eyes dreaming about our boating trips.

We soon had our first baby boy and I imagined him and me building our boat together someday soon. Babies sure do eat a lot and use diapers faster than you can change them. That Hercules would have to be towed because I can't afford slip fees, and I would have to buy a tow vehicle. Maybe the Bo-jest would suit us fine. Three years later we had our second (and final) boy. Those boys will love building a boat with dad, I thought. More baby food and diapers and clothes and yada yada. These kids cost more than a boat (Ha Ha). The Bo-Jest seemed out of reach now. "Lost the dream" you say? No way, I got the "Dream Catalog" back out. Lets see what Glen-L has that would fit this new family.

I still have my 8 hp Johnson; maybe I would look for something I could use that on. I looked at the Sherwood Queen before but thought I needed something bigger. Well it looked a lot better now after having two food processing machines (kids). I imagined how it might suit us and decided it would be a good fit. We could use it for putting around, fishing and the kids would be able to take the wheel now and then (they WILL want to drive). I like the idea of a cabin for some protection and could probably stick a Porta-Potty in the corner. We have friends with boats who always complain about payments and puting gas in them. I estimate that I could run this all day on 4 to 6 gals. of gas. I tried to estimate the cost (about $5,000.00) with some bells and whistles and a trailer. I ordered the plans before I changed my mind again.

Why a Glen-L boat? They have the best selection. Every time I've changed my mind, there were at least two or three boats that fit. Their support (from what others have said) is outstanding. Their web site is the best I've ever seen, tons of info and easy to use. They have everything you need except sweat equity. The plans are very detailed and complete. The books and videos are inexpensive, very informative and I feel a must.

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Why I must build a boat. I don't need a boat, I want a boat. I've always wanted a boat. It can't be a financial burden to buy or maintain (how little I know, huh?). I can buy supplies I need as I build and not have to take out a loan. I'll be able to repair, change or add things myself. I have a lot of tools and have always built and repaired everything I can and some things I shouldn't. I can pick a design that suits my needs and add some things. I want a leisurely pace boat with good economy (how many leisurely models are available to buy?). My 4-1/2 year old loves to help when dad is working on things. I encourage him and let him use tools (that are safe for him) and sometimes he even gets them back in the right drawer. I hope that my 1-1/2 year old will have an interest, but if he doesn't, that's OK. I believe this will be a great family project.

The Skinner garage

I can imagine us tooling around one day in our boat that WE built. I can't wait to fair and sand - OK skip that Skinner garage 2 part. I'm lucky to have a 20 x 24 heated workshop to build in. It needs some organizing because it's a dumping ground in the winter and the boy's garage in the summer. I've included photos to show what I'm starting with. See if you can find all the boatbuilding tools - see if you can find ANY tools. I need to finish some other household projects before I will allow myself to start - according to my wife. I'm now looking forward to the day I cut the first piece of wood so I can get in the project registry.

I hope this story may inspire others who are dreaming of building and a trip down memory lane for those who have.