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A place to share YOUR boat building story

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

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Glen-L Update
  • Next stop The Gathering.
  • I feel remiss for not having mentioned DeltaDawg's Boat builder and wooden boat rendezvous. Read through the above forum topic, DeltaDawg seems to have put a lot of work into this and there are several builders with their boats who plan to attend. For those west-coasters who won't be able to make it to Guntersville, I hope you'll consider attending. The following is from the Forum:
    All, you are invited to:
    11 am to 3 pm PT, 28 October 2007 (Dutch treat lunch at noon)
    Sugar Barge
    1440 Sugar Barge Road
    Bethel Island, CA
  • The Gathering in the WAAY-TV Community Calendar.
  • For Australian builders "The Wooden Boat Association comprises groups from throughout Australia, open to all owners, builders, restorers and lovers of boats made of wood (not surprisingly). Old, new, carvel, clinker, ply, composite. We don't care. As long as it's got wood. Lots of wood. The more wood the better really."


Feedback: Union Jack

by Larry Degrace

My name is Larry Degrace of Dunnville, Ontario Canada.

In the early 1980's, two of my friends and I bought the plans for the Union Jack. As it turned out, I was the only one to build one. I contacted your designers, as I wanted to add more length to it, and at the same time get a tug style stearn; which I did. It gave it an overall length of 34 ft. and a 6 ft square cockpit. Lots of room for my fishing gear and downriggers.

For me, it was my greatest pleasure even though it took me almost ten years from the planning stage to launching. They were the greatest years of my life, especially since I had my two boys to help me.

I sailed her on Lake Erie and New York State Canals for a few years. That design was my greatest pride and everywhere I went the people just flocked around to see it. I had to sell it for health reasons and today it can be seen near Rochester, NY, where it is still attracting a lot of attention.

As I said before, I added three feet to the stern, which happened to be above the waterline, so I installed ballast tanks to compensate for what I thought would be top heavy. But that boat floated like a duck. Lake Erie is the worst lake, as the water is very shallow and can get very rough in no time... as I found out a couple of times.

My Union Jack took waves that would have scared a seasoned sailor... it did me. But somehow I put her head into the waves at 2600 rpm and she took me home. The bow was under a few times, but I really enjoyed it (good thing the wife stayed home that day).

I am including some pictures so you can see for yourselves.


From the forum: Guntersville Report


Joined: 06 July 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Jasper Tn.

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:56 pm Post subject: Guntersville report

Bill I didn't check on the lodge. I didn't read your post until I returned from Guntersville. Sorry. Here is my two-cents worth on the park, etc.
Whoever picked this Park did a great job. It has everything you are supposed to look for for a function like this. Motels, restaurants, grocery stores, gas station, etc.
Next item, the park is great. Good wide ramps with a walkout dock beside them. The ramp is in the camping area, parking is inside the park fence. Nice, good docks even some slips in the park, plenty of parking. Campsites by the docks, electricity and water, or they have some primative campsites. I didn't see any gas on the docks. I would bring a gas can. O'yeah, bath houses in several locations. Everything looked good to me and I have been to several different states and used their parks. This one looked as good as any I have visited and better than most. That's my two cents worth. See y'all there. Bud.
Y'All Come, Cap'N Bud.

Feedback: Row Me

by Patrick Kinney

I finally finished my Row Me. It took me three months of tinkering in the morning before work. I built it from ¼” and 3/8” BC pine. It is a bit heavy but very solid. I added an extra front seat. I put 7.5 ounce cloth on the outside bottom and 4 ounce on the sides. On the inside I put 4 ounce on the floor and seat tops. I painted the boat with 2 coats of primer and 5 coats of exterior acrylic latex enamel with a roller. After it dried for a week I slapped on a couple coats of car wax. Yes it is yellow... "but to each their own". The boat cost me roughly $350, $312 for the trailer and  $1200 for a new Nissan 6hp four-stroke. My anchor is in a rubber bucket; my bilge "pump" is a cut-up milk jug. If you are looking for a good boat to fish and hunt in, this is it. It is NOT a speed boat! What it will do is get you from point A to B safely. It costs less than $9 to fill the tank and will run well over six hours straight. It will hold two fat guys comfortably, with a good amount of free board for choppy water. It will take you into the backwaters where bigger boats can’t go, AND you can row it home if the motor quits. It will handle the shallows of the grass flats like a pro. It is a good utility/fishing boat that you won’t have to mortgage your home to build, own, or to have fun with the kids. I affectionately call her my Hoopty. She is a fine seaworthy boat.


Building the Bo-Jest

by Rick Klemm

Before the Bo-Jest, I'd never built a boat. Actually, I've never even driven, much less launched one from a trailer. Yet, I decided to build a boat for my family. (5 kids). As a school teacher, I know of so many kids that stay at home all the time and play video games, or hang out at the mall. I wanted my kids to have adventures. I already have an Airstream trailer, but with a boat I can just add to their scope of adventures.

I didn't want to get a plastic Tupperware boat because everyone has one. The type of manufactured boat I wanted was way out of my price range. So I decided to build one. I wanted a boat that was unique, fits on a trailer, slow, fuel efficient and livable. The Bo-Jest was perfect. Even with all the other completed Bo-Jests out there, none of them look the same.

Many people who start a large undertaking like this one sometimes never finish. I have to admit that I wanted to pack it in on a few occasions. In order to finish my three year project, I had to change the way I approached building the boat. I would put in 1- 1.5 hours per night. And during that time, I would not go out to my shop to build a boat, instead I would go out just to glue on a piece of wood (that's all). If I did more, it was a bonus. Eventually over time if you keep gluing, fitting, nailing and screwing, you'll have a boat.

What follows is a photo diary of the construction that has been previously posted in the Customer Photos section. I hope it will help other Bo-Jest builders.


Feedback: Squirt (with jet)

by Matt Holmes

Just got the boat in the water last weekend for the first time. It exceeded my expectations in almost every way. The ride is nice and smooth and dry with zero porpoising or other wierd behaviors, and even on relatively choppy water, cavitation was minimal. If I had a dime for every time someone came up and commented on how "cute" it looked, or asked me "what kind of boat is that?" ;-) Never in my life have I taken on a project that has given me more of a sense of accomplishment.

I don't have a speedo, but judging from the side by side running test with my brother's ski boat, I'm estimating that it does about 34-38 mph. It is a total blast. I need to add either a fin, or some wooden strips to the bottom, as the boat has a dangerous tendency to just sort of "rotate" several degrees, and continue on the same course when you turn the wheel at high speeds. Hopefully a fin will get it to "dig-in" a little better.

You asked me a while ago if I would be interested in writing a little bit about the process of building my Squirt for the web-letter. I said I wanted to take it out and make sure it worked first. Well, it definately works... so, I would be more than happy to do that if the offer still stands.

I think I'm going to tackle the Kingpin next, now that I have some experience under my belt.

Matt Holmes Auburn, WA

Glen-L 12, the beginning

by Bill Haines

August 20, 2007. The Genesis of this project was a phone call from a friend who is the Tech Ed (Shop) teacher at the local high school. He told me that the school was replacing the bleachers in the gym and the old wood was in and near a dumpster behind the school. I was able to collect a number of boards up to 16’x9”x1 1/8” of well-seasoned mahogany. I had no idea what I was going to do with the lumber. Several years later, I ordered the plans and began my version of the Glen-L 12. I have never built a boat or attempted any project like this.

After chipping the gum off the bottom, the bleachers made excellent material for the frames, chine logs, sheer clamps and battens.

I started in Feb 2006, assembling the frames, transom and building form. Working a little from time-to-time, I got most of the frame assembled on the form before the summer of 2006.

Here it is a year-and-a-half later and I have started work on the boat again. I learned the hard way that the fastening schedule is there for a reason. It is much more difficult to attach the chine log to the stem if it is already screwed and glued to the frames and the transom. It is very difficult to cut the correct angle and length – and since it was already attached, there is no second chance. I got it right on the starboard side but cut it too short on the port. So, the project sat for several months while I mulled over how to fix this. Ultimately, I shaped a block to attach to the stem at the attachment point for the chine log. The block was sized and shaped to mate with the stem and the angle cut into the chine log. All was glued and screwed and I was able to move forward.

The frame was completed in late July. Planing of all the angles on the chine logs, sheers, keel and stem were not as arduous as I anticipated. Planking and fairing are now complete and the seal coat of epoxy has been applied.

Things I have learned since starting this project:

  1. Directions are there for a reason.
  2. Building materials or supplies with marine or boat as a prefix will be at least twice the price.
  3. My friends must think I am stupid (the first question I get is ‘how will you get it out of the basement?’)
  4. A good fillet of epoxy and wood flour is an excellent remedy for modest carpentry skills.
  5. Bronze screws sand pretty well.


Building the Tunnel Mite

by Donnie Gilliland

I have finally completed the Tunnel Mite after 4 years of working on it, on and off. During the construction, I changed jobs, completely remodeled a house, renovated a manufacturing complex and went on a couple vacations. Although it took far longer than it should have (or could have), I learned many lessons...


Dog Days of Boat Building

It’s still the summer
But the end is near
Can I finish this boat?
Not in time, I fear

I lusted to have it
At the latest in June
But now that it’s August
I’m singing a different tune

Hot days and nights
Make boat work a chore
I’d rather be out there
Sailing, skiing and more

Why work on a new boat
When an old one will do
I’ve changed my priorities
More play, less work, it’s true

There is little time left
Before school will begin
Those girls in bikinis
Will be heading on in

I’ll leave the boat building
Till the weather cools down
Much work and no play
Turns my smile to a frown

Then, just as I’m leaving
For a day at the beach
My S.O. comes to get me
Before I go out of reach

Now, my fun is delayed
The girls will be missed
Before I can go, I must
Finish my Honey-Do list


Photos sent in since the last WebLetter...

Malahini Malahini Vigilant Yankee Star Ski Bass Squirt Squirt MiniMaxed RowMe Bo-Jest Double Eagle Cracker Box Squirt

Custom Built Riviera Barrel Back Runabout

Talked to Donald Baker, who is starting to build the Hankinson Barrelback. He has just sold his Riviera; said there were photos on The following is the description from the website.

This is a dual cockpit solid African mahogany classic looking speedboat built with West system epoxy. Bottom is cold molded and the sides are strip planked. This boat will turn heads. Any limit on speed would only be controlled by the prop.This boat has a huge amount of horsepower. The checkerboard on the sheerstrake has been removed, to reveal a more conservative black line. The finish is 5 coats of west 206 clear epoxy followed up with 5 coats automotive clear.


Harold the boatbuilder

So there we were talking about this endangered bird in Australia or somewhere and leakcheck says, "Wonder what they taste like".

Getting Started on a Boat Building Project

by Tom Drake, Mount Dora, FL

Every year, the Sunnyland Chapter of the Antique Classic Boat Society hosts an event in Mount Dora, Florida that draws all types of classic and wooden boats to the area. It is truly a Festival. The attendees are collectors, restorers, builders, or just admirers of these works of art. Two years ago, my wife Tina and I attended as spectators. This was the beginning of a great new adventure for us.

For the next few weeks, I looked through magazines and other resources to find out how one gets started to build a wooden boat. When I say other resources, as a 72 year old, my resources did not include the internet as I am totally computer illiterate. When someone suggested that I look up the Glen-L website for a great selection of plans, I reluctantly did so. That was a mind boggling experience. Not only were there so many boat plans to choose from, but there was input through a Forum and Picture Board that showed the progress and finished products of G-L customers.

As I clicked through the inventory of inboards and outboards, I realized that my first task was to create some parameters of what I wanted to accomplish. I'm going to build a wooden boat, but which one? I drooled over the Monaco and even ordered the study plans. When reality set in, I realized that a small outboard, jazzed up to look like an older classic, would be more practical. Both the size and beauty of the Zip's lines solved my dilemma. I ordered the Zip frame kit.

My hobby is, and has been for over 60 years, building and flying scale model planes. I consider my specialty large scale radio controlled planes. I know my way around sources for aircraft grade plywood, spruce and balsa, but sources for mahogany and white oak were strangers to me.

With the frame kit stored in my garage, I set about completing a model that was in progress for a friend. Once that was done, my workshop was cleared and the building jig started. The Zip was a good choice from a logistic standpoint too. I wouldn't have to cut through the walls to get it out as the double doors should handle the exit. When doubtful friends and neighbors would ask just how I was going to get the boat out of my workshop, I just pointed to the chainsaw sitting in the corner.

My project started the first of December, 2006 and was completed the end of September, 2007. From this one might conclude that the gestation period for a Zip would be 10 months. That would be if you are retired and become addicted as I did.

From the very beginning, the one thing that I learned was the camaraderie among wooden boat enthusiasts. This was the greatest experience of sharing that I have ever encountered. In the process, I have met many new friends. Through the Glen-L Forum, visits to local boat restorers, a wealth of information existed to get this freshman started. I would be remise if I didn't mention the Saturday morning coffee hour at Jack's Boat Barn. This is a gathering of builders and restorers of the classics. On my first visit, I was a little intimidated when asked about my project. Just a little plywood outboard runabout I replied. I went on to explain that it was a Glen-L design. Their interest in my project did not take a back seat to the Chris Craft Cobra that Jack was building, or the U-22 Chris Craft that was being restored there. I soon found out that they were quite knowledgeable about Glen-L designs. Mike joined in to say that he had built a Glen-L Cracker Box. Jack suggested I walk down to the lake and look in his boathouse. I did and saw a beautiful Glen-L Gentry. If you look up the Gentry plans on the website, Jack's boat is featured as the model. These guys were to be my mentors.

Much has been said about what tools are needed to build a wooden boat and how to get started. Make no mistake about it, the most valuable tool is the resource found among the experienced builders in your area or on the Glen-L website. This gives you a chance to understand the magnitude of the project you want to build. It also provides a progressive pictorial by the other builders. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Having enjoyed these resources, and understanding their value, makes the upcoming Gathering, in Guntersville, AL, take on a special meaning to me. I can't wait to see the collection of various Glen-L designs and the opportunity to share ideas. If you are looking for a boat project, where on earth could you receive better insight as to building techniques, performance, material sources and just plain boat talk among those busting at the seams to share their building experiences.

Tina, myself and our Zip, "Irish Rose" will see you there.

Note: A pictorial of Tom's project will appear in the next WebLetter.

Customer photos

Recent email:

Subject: Re: Robert J, Build your Dream Boat #9
Date: September 20, 2007

Dear Gayle,

This is one of the nicest things you could of done for an old guy, putting this on the internet!!! I gave this Flying Saucer to my grandson, and I think now he will appreciate it even more.

The Glen-L family has been a part of my life going back to the Pee Wee in 1970; and it's been great! Thanks so much.

Sincerely, Bob Ellis

Subject: Crackerbox update
Date: 22 September 2007

I have all the wood and glass work done now. The hull has 2 coats of primer and now I am working it down in prep for the color coats. I have started on the upholstery to take a break from all the sanding. All the mechanical parts are made and now have to be painted or polished. See you at The Gathering.
Bob Londress

Subject: compliments on your products and services
Date: 17 September 2007

Hi Gayle,

My name is Bruce … and I’m a Boatbuilder’s Forumaholic. I need my fix of the Glen-L Boatbuilder’s Forum daily, and I’m ashamed to say, sometimes more than once per day. I’ve tried to kick the habit. Really I have. Sometimes, while I’m on vacation, I’ll go 3, sometimes 4 days without “logging on”, but then I’ll find a computer and … you know the rest. The truth is, I love it and I don’t want to give it up.

My love of the mahogany runabout goes back as far as I can remember. I have always felt that they were a thing of beauty. I had only ever seen a couple of them in person and I really didn’t think it was possible to actually build one myself.

About 4 years ago I saw an article in an old Popular Mechanics magazine. It showed how to build an outboard boat from plywood called the “Victory”. I looked straight forward and it got me thinking that maybe building a boat was not such a crazy idea. I began to research the idea and I came across the Glen-L website. I was hooked! The huge amount of information on your site made me realize that even I could do it. When I started to frequent the Boatbuilder’s Forum I was amazed at how helpful all the responses were. Other sites I have been to often leave questions unanswered. That just never seems to happen on your Forum. The answers are quick, knowledgeable, and always encouraging. I have been a daily visitor to the forum for the past four years.

With the knowledge and encouragement I gained from your website content and the Boatbuilder’s Forum I decided to build myself a mahogany runabout. My ideas for the boat were very specific so I decided to design it myself. Three years later my boat was in the water.

The boat turned out great and I am very happy but looking back I wish I had bought your plans for the “Mist Miss” and simply made some changes to suit my ideas. I think it would have saved me a lot of head scratching and worrying. Also, after feeling like a part of the Glen-L family for the past 3 years I wish my boat qualified for your Customer’s Photos page. My next boat will defiantly be a real Glen-L boat.

I just wanted to send this email to say thanks for the great products and services you provide ( I did buy study plans and a bunch of parts from you). The family nature of your business shines through everything you do.

Till next time,

Bruce Taber

Photos of my project.

Subject: Re: Bingo Order
Date: 30 August 2007

Hello Gayle,
Received shipment an hour ago, boxes in perfect condition, way too hot to check, close to 100 in garage. Will check tonight, thanks so much, will now sign up for Glen-L newsletter. When I have gathered all items needed to complete project, I'll sign up for registry and send first photo's of the start.
This truly is an adventure, I have wanted to do this since 1953 when I dreamed over ads for Luger and Taft kits, green 20hp Merc's with the original Quicksilver lower units. I dream no more.
Thanks again, Dick Weiss

Subject: Re: Glen-L Newsletter
Date: 22 August 2007

Thank you for the Glen-L newsletter. Glen-L is one of if not the best boatbuilding site on the Internet. I have never come to your site and not been able to find exactly what I need. Thanks again.

Sincerely, Marshall

Subject: Re: Glen-L Newsletter
Date: 22 August 2007

Hello Glen-L,

Thanks for sending me your newsletter each month. Today I took some minutes to read and found the overview of all photos of the TINY TITAN. Most interesting for me was to see the reaction and pictures of Ian Johnson, Canada.
Well, 25 years ago I built Sausy Single (as I named it) from Popular Mechanics. The magazine I bought 2nd hand and I first made my own drawings. Attached I am sending you some (old) pictures.
It was built in 1992 in our garden at Amsterdam city and launched in the Amstel river. With a 5hp Yamaha it performed good, made even some speed (about 30 km/h), but took time to get on plane. The small three point hydroplane is now standing in my garage as you can see.
I hope this info will be of interest to you.
Address for the article in Popular Mechanics:

Kind Regards,

Vincent Steenmetz
Amstelveen, Holland


Subject: re. Sabotina plans
Date: 21 August 2007

Thank you very much. Can't wait to get started, what a wonderful tool the net is!! There is a space cleared out in my garage waiting for the plans to arrive, should be spending some quality time on the project over the next couple of months as the wife will be devoting all her spare time to watching the X FACTOR. Still I will be helped by my young buddy (Jack) my son of 5 Years.
I will keep you informed on my progress and hopefully a few photos along the way.
Thanks again
Steve Nixon
North Yorkshire England.

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