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

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In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • Gathering update: Total coming re. Boatbuilder Connection
  • It's amazing what you can find in back copies of the WebLetter. I didn't remember this at all.
    From WebLetter 33: "I thought you might be interested in the version of the Amp Eater that I built to be both electric and steam powered. You can see her at" ...Roger Ulsky
    There is now a video of the Amp Eater under steam power. It would be neat to see one of the sailboats, like the Glen-L 17, set up for steam or electric power.
  • Forum outages... A couple of times this last month the Forum was down. The problem has been solved. It seems we had a program that was backing up 30MB per day to our server and at 875MB of backups, the server was full, which caused errors in the Forum.


Building the Glen-L Whitehall

by Dave Gillette

Early in 2004, I decided to pursue boat building as a fill in pastime, primarily for the downtime between our carpentry jobs. My wife Sue and I are finish carpenters, and especially during the winter months, find ourselves with time to kill. Having dealt with Glen-L back in the 70's while considering the building of the Klondike, they were the first place I checked for plans. Not wanting to jump into power boats right away, I was immediately drawn to the Whitehall; the lines are incredible, the size was appropriate for towing with practically any car, and with the multiple rowing stations, the possibility of longer boat rides with multiple persons to share the work seemed like an added benefit.

I sent for the plans, looked them over for a day or so, and ordered 200 bd. Ft of 4/4 Philippine mahogany and a couple of 16 ft planks of 8/4 for the heavier parts. While this order was being processed, my usual supplier for building materials was delivering the 2" x 6" stock for the building jig.


Feedback: Sculling Skiff

by Mike Van Susteren

The sculling skiff was completed and launched 15 months after I started the project (lots of down periods, believe me). I built the oars myself also which was a very interesting project in itself.

So how does it work? It's really, really cool! Pretty shaky at first, maybe 1 in 10 strokes were any good, but by day 3 things started coming together. Wow, it glides so smoothly and every stroke seems so efficient, it is almost effortless to move swiftly across the water. It takes loads of concentration to keep it straight and to keep all of your movements coordinated but when you do it is very rewarding. I haven't tried getting into it from deep water and not sure that is possible, but will try that soon enough. It is very stable feeling when the oars are out, but if you pull them in and you're not moving... then it's a different story.

The boat with the seat arrangement weighs in at 55 lbs and the oars are 4.5 lbs each. A very rewarding project.


Memories: Classic runabouts and my brother Elbert

by Glen Witt

It was the depression and no one had extra money to spend, but some people still managed to build boats. My brother, Elbert, found a plan for an outboard powered, planked runabout, called "Buzzer" in a boating magazine and decided he would build it. I thought it was a great idea, Elbert had always worked on cars, his hotrods drew many speeding citations, but I had never seen him take an interest in woodworking. As the younger brother and still in school I knew my big brother could do anything.

There were, however, a few minor obstacles. First, Elbert had no money; if he had a dime he'd spend fifteen cents. He was only working part time and the plant he worked at was slow. Elbert had just been married and one other minor problem, the small rental he lived in didn't have a place to build a boat. Fools rush in...

Nonetheless Elbert started to build the boat. He found oak table leaves at junkyards, available at that time for next to nothing. They were varnished and some were doweled together from narrow wood but most were of better stock than is available today. It took time and some elbow grease to make the leaves usable for building the boat frames, but time was available, money was not.

There were delays in the building as parts were scrounged and for some reason building took a hiatus after the frames were built. But eventually construction was resumed in a garage at our parent's house where I lived and just a few blocks from where Elbert resided. The frames were set up and somehow the mahogany planking was obtained. In those days four quarter stock in the rough was much greater in thickness than 1" and the lumberyard was able to obtain two planks almost 3/8" in thickness from the four quarters stock.

Elbert turned out to be an excellent woodworker, exacting and meticulous. When he fitted two pieces of wood they were not just good, but perfect, ...or do it again. This was a time when portable power tools were a rarity and surely not in the venue of an amateur boat builder. This meant all screw holes had to be drilled and countersunk with a little hand-powered drill. No grabbing for that powered saber saw to cut out the planks, a keyhole saw was required. Ever tried using one of those things and make long true vertical cuts? Think of drilling all those holes and driving the jillions of screws by hand. And, of course the screws were slot headed and if the driver slipped out, a plank could be marred. There wasn't a magic filler. A scarred plank remained that way or was replaced. Elbert didn't tolerate blemishes, so it was replaced but after the first time, slips with tools ceased.

Decent adhesives were also lacking at the time, although the boats of that day were not intended for solid bonded junctions. We used a flexible mastic called "Aviation Adhesive", which was developed for seaplane floats. It was a sticky gooey mess, never dried hard, and was hell to keep off those beautiful mahogany planks.

The "Buzzer" called for batten seam construction, 3/8" planking with junctions backed with battens. The planks were fastened over the batten junction with screws spaced about 4" apart and along each of the frames. Elbert used blind fasteners along the seams; the screws were driven from the inside through the batten and into the planks. This was a critical situation. All the holding power of the screws was required but the tip of the screw could not project through the planking exterior. Needless to say his didn't. All screws driven from the exterior were counterbored and bunged with a matching grain aligned plug cut from the scrap of the plank being worked on. All screws were in alignment and evenly spaced. And not just by guess and by gosh or even measurements, these screws were precisely spaced with dividers. And yes, even on the inside where most would never be seen.

Fitting the planks was tedious to say the least. At a glance a mahogany planked boat appears to have strakes (planks) of uniform widths. This is far from the fact; the side planks on a boat with flare at the bow and tumble home at the transom will have somewhat of an elongated "s" shape. The strakes are equally spaced at each frame but hardly of uniform width. This means each individual plank must be cut from wide stock or joined. Wide mahogany planks were more plentiful then than now, so the joints on "Buzzer" were few. Of course the junctions couldn't be simply butted together and backed with a butt block. The junctions were shaped similar to the letter "Z laid on it's side. Try fitting that with hand tools, where the strake had to be removed each time trimming was required. Of course Elbert's junctions were such that the fit left nary a gap, you couldn't even slip a piece of paper between the joining parts.

All strakes on one side of the boat were color matched as close as possible. A plank was laid on the ground and the one fitting adjacent to it was selected with care to be as close to the same color as possible. It was possible to compensate for off color strakes with stains but not on this boat.

After planking and plugging screw holes, the boat was hand sanded (remember no portable power tools) with progressively finer grit sandpaper. Then it was wet down to raise the grain and the process repeated until the surface was "like a new born baby's..."

The mahogany hull sides were filler-stained (Chris Craft red, of course) with a paste-like product. You smeared it on and rubbed it crossways into the grain, removing the excess before it dried. Messy, but it filled the rather open grain of the mahogany and gave it the deep rich tone desired.

Then the varnish... The work area was first cleaned everywhere, even the rafters were swept down. Then we waited for the dust to settle and cleaned again. The area around the hull was wet down and the hull surface thoroughly cleaned with a tack rag. Elbert bought the best brush he could afford and the finest varnish of the day. Nothing but the best for this "Buzzer". A thin coat of varnish was carefully flowed on, followed with another coat of out-of-the-can. How many coats were used? I really don't know, but it was a lot more than ten. Elbert allowed me to sand after each coat. Rotten rock, a pumice type product applied with a felt pad, was used. It left no scratches but it took a lot of rubbing to smooth out the varnished surface. It became quite obvious why Elbert allowed me to do this task; I was cheap labor and dared not make a mistake. So he applied varnish and I took it off until the surface showed nary a blemish. Why finish a boat this way? A neighbor worked as a piano builder and this was the way they were finished. If the finish was good enough for a piano it was just about good enough for "Buzzer".

Finishing up the craft was more or less routine. Oh, it was some chore to build the brass chrome finished cutwater and a few more goodies, but in general all was going well. The boat did look beautiful and was a real showpiece. Now, for something to push this gorgeous thing through the water, an outboard motor.

A new motor was obviously out of the question; there wasn't enough money to buy a paddle. The details as to how the motor was obtained are cloudy, but I was allowed to contribute. One thing about Elbert, when things got tight he was really nice about getting me in on the action. Anyway, we obtained a four cylinder Evinrude outboard motor, the largest of the time. This was the days before electric starts and even of recoil starter ropes. You wrapped a cord around the flywheel pulley and pulled. This motor had a compression release that allowed blow by to make the turning easier, but in truth it took a good foot brace and a mighty tug to turn the thing over. If it did start, you had a throttle, spark, and needle valve adjustment to make, and fast.

At this time I was granted a new job. I made handles for starting cords and made up quite a bunch of spares. For when the motor did start, Elbert in the excitement, often threw the cord overboard and we were not about to go back and try to pick it up. Have you ever been out in the middle of a lake with no way to start the outboard motor? And I at last had found a task that Elbert didn't nit pick.

When the motor finally did start, it had a habit of blowing the tops out of the aluminum cylinders. We were told that the motor was being run too lean. After three or four pistons blew, it was discovered there was a cylinder water leak that mixed with the gasoline and caused an action much like a blowtorch. Problem solved, but typical of outboards of the day and particularly with this one, starting the motor was always a problem.

It would be nice to report that "Buzzer" lived to a ripe old age, but in truth what happened to the work of art is unknown, although it did provide our families lots of fun and introduced us to boating.

These ramblings were inspired by the numerous classic boat photographs we are sent. And they are beautiful. It reminded me of the trials and tribulations of my first experience with classic runabouts. Each one of these builders must have had his own problems, but the finished product proved they too overcome adversity. The examples sent to us show that "Elbert" craftsmanship is inherent in many builders. To each of you we can only say "Man you're good".

Check the photos on the GLEN-L website! See if the craftsmanship doesn't provide a challenge. Can you do as well or BETTER? ...can you do an "Elbert" job?


"The boat seats are complete! They will need some final adjustments before they are mounted to the flooring. The seats are actually a section of a 150 year old church pew from the church I attended as I grew up. I cut the church pew down into two seat sections and they refinished nicely. I think if you are out on the water on a Sunday morning it counts as a church service plus you can have communion anytime you bring along a bottle of wine! More updates to follow… the end is in site!" ...Rick “Skip” Canton (Building ZIP)

Row Row Row Your Boat

Consider building a boat you can row. Rowboats are nice to look at. They can be made simple and functional or elegant and yacht-like. There are benefits to rowing too. It’s fun and good exercise. It’s quiet, ecologically sound and rowboats can often get into places a powered boat cannot go.

So seat yourself
In your rowing boat
Pick up the oars
Take up that stroke

Down the handles,
Lift the blades
Sweep your arms forward
Lower the blades

Slice the water
Take up the strain
Pull with your arms
No pain sir, no gain

Now stroke again
Keep it all even
Straight you will go
I’ll have you believe-n

The hull races forward
Propelled by your stroke
A champion at heart
You’re quite a bloke

Smoothly you glide
As silk on your bottom
Over water and wave
The effort forgotten

On through the tide
By Arm-strong power
Rowing can move you
Many knots per hour

Captain of your ship
Master of your fate
That gleaming craft
Looks like gold-plate

One last suggestion …
Wear your best shades
So you will look cool
While pulling those blades


Photos sent in since the last WebLetter...

Outrage Wildcat Glen-L 12 sailboat TNT TNT 8 Ball SG Console Skiff Bo-Jest TNT Malahini Double Eagle Acapulco Hunky Dory Glen-L 13 Sherwood Queen TNT Flats Flyer

Tahoe Get-Around

by Rich Coey

I am a member of the Northern California/Lake Tahoe Chapter of the ACBS. On July 14th my wife and I took our recently finished Monaco "REMINISCENT" on what they called a get-around on Lake Tahoe. At the start "THUNDERBIRD" (a 55 foot commuter with two 1000 hp Allison aircraft engines) came across the lake and met up with four of us near Meeks Bay. From there we all went clockwise around the lake making stops joining up with other boats. At the height of the cruise there were about twenty boats, what a sight! We continued around until we arrived at the Thunderbird Lodge where the Thunderbird docked in its boat house. After that we joined a group and continued the rest of the way around the lake.

We swapped cameras with a couple we met. Their boat was "RAZZMATAZZ" a 17 foot 1942 Chris-Craft Barrelstern. All you can see of their boat are bits and pieces as they took these pictures. It was a great day, and Reminiscent was a big hit, everywhere we stopped, even among these classic boats.


Harold the boatbuilder
A lot of folks can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage. Well, there's a very simple answer... Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn't know we were getting low. The reason for that is purely geographical. Our OIL is located in Alaska, California, Coastal Florida, Coastal Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas... Our DIPSTICKS are located in Washington, DC.

Shop Talk: Scarfing Plywood

by Ken Schott

I could not find much info, or pics, on scarfing plywood in the WebLetters, or any other place for that matter. I find lots of talk, but pics are worth a thousand words. I wish I had these pics before I started, it would have saved me a lot of time. I tried several methods to cut the wide ply scarfs. This is what worked the best for me.

More scarfing stuff...
Joining plywood to make longer sheets
Scarf Sled
Scarfing with a router

Recent email:

Subject: Re: Glen-L Order
Date: 26 July 2007

Hello, I believe I have already on your mailing list. This is my second set of plans from you. The first was a 14' wood runabout I purchased in 1958 when I was a junior in High School and cut everything out in woodshop. I got a B+ on the boat. Not to Shabby for a 16 year old.

Subject: The New Boat
Date: 24 July 2007
From: Ken Schott

The pleasure of owning a boat.

Subject: RE: boat registry
Date: 18 July 2007

Attached are some pictures of my Imp project. This was a lot of fun, and I look forward to doing another.
I'm not a pro, but I'm pretty proud of the way this boat came out. Thanks for the awesome plans, and hopefully one of these pictures can make your website.

Thanks Again,
Tom Schultz
Deep River, Ct


Subject: Glen-L Order
Date: 5 July 2007

Hi Gayle, I received the book. Thank you so much. Very good quality, great customer service and fast shipping: I can't ask for more!!!!!!!!
Thanks again.
Kind regards,
Daniel Skira

Subject: Re: Glen-L Newsletter
Date: 28 June 2007

Thank you very much for the newsletter. It is very good and you are doing a good job! Keep them coming!
Robert Roma

Subject: Politics and boatbuilding
Date: Friday, June 29, 2007

As always I enjoy your new WebLetters and it's fun to read about other builders, boat shows also. And the pictures, I love the pictures!
In the last WebLetter (90) there is also a link to an anti-Chinese website. I must say I didn't enjoy this in the same way.

I'm not Chinese, and I don't agree with Chinese government and their lack of respect for human rights. There are many things I don't like about Chinese business morality and ethics. But who should throw the first stone...?

China has passed US when it comes to C02 polution. But on the other hand, divided by the population, each Chinese citizen polutes 1/8th as much as the average American. The American people are still the worst poluters in the world. And the US is constantly vetoing all attempts to make binding agreements.

China has ocupied Tibet. According to the Arabic world, the US has occupied Iraq! About 100,000 Iraqis has died since the occupation took place. The US has also lost military troops, but relativly few compared to the Iraqi civilian population. But of course the US has a god-given right to be world police and bomb everybody that has another political agenda than the present administration, back to the stoneage.

The US government has no respect for human rights when it comes to non-US citizens, as we have all seen from Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and the procedure of shipping prisoners to "friendly" nations such as Saudi-Arabia, who have a view of torture that suits the CIA. And the US is still the only western nation who kills its own citizens in the old eye-for-an-eye method of the death-penalty. Does this upset you in the same manner as the anti-Chinese campaign?

The Americans I have met have all been really nice people. I love the down-to-earth and laid-back attitude, where people can follow there dreams and wishes. The Chinese and Arab people I have been in contact with has also been nice. But part of the US foreign policy is in my view not good. Should the next WebLetter from Glen-L be addressing this issue, or should we all just leave the subject and concentrate on the one thing that unites us all?

I love to read and look at pictures of boatbuilding on your site, sent in from all over the world: New Zealand, Turkey, England, Norway, Chile... Everybody with a common interest in building boats and enjoying the freedom to be out on the sea or lake, and no segregation due to political standpoint, religion or skin color.

I hope you will continue with that, and leave the politics and ranting to other websites where each of us can express our viewpoints as we please.

It is not my intention to provoke or make anyone angry. As I grow older the world is no longer black and white. It is a world of colors. But politics is all about trying to argue in black and white. The tolerance of other views is low. So to implement a specific political view into the WebLetter can make some people feel upset. And I hope that was not the intention. Remember that your WebLetter is a "universal publication" :)

(Sorry for all the misspellings, too many years since my last English-lesson. I hope you understand most of it :)

Take care, I wish you all the best.

Roy Hauge

I had wondered whether I should have put that link in. It wasn't an anti-Chinese "site", but it was an article critical of China and asking whether we should continue to do business with China. I have removed the link from WebLetter 90, but if you're interested, this is the link. brw

Subject: Tango, Kevin Gough
Date: June 25, 2007

Dear Gayle, Glen & Barry

I'm just about having as much fun as I believe can be had with a sailboat! My deepest thanks and appreciation for all the effort that must have gone into designing such a wonderful boat. Spirit has taken on quite a lot of weather now and has always retained the air of a safe and sturdy little vessel. Wherever I tie up I am always greeted by comments of how beautiful she looks. I tell them I got the plans off your website and built her from scratch and they just look at her with disbelief.
This year I have made a few changes... and I've detailed them on the website...

Thank you and Best Wishes.
Kevin Gough

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