Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedback

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

In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • Whew!!! The holidays are (finally) behind us, the move of our website to a new and much more robust server is over, and the annual Glen-L inventory has been completed! Now I can get back to work posting your photos, project registry entries and improving the look and content of the WebLetter.
  • If you've sent in photos of your project or completed craft and you haven't yet seen them on the website, don't worry. I am focused on getting everything that's been sent in to us cropped, enhanced and posted so that we can all enjoy and learn from your efforts.
  • We at Glen-L want you to know that we appreciate all of your comments, emails, suggestions and submissions for the WebLetter. We encourage everyone of you who are enjoying the craft you've so lovingly built, or the project you're currently working on, or even just your plans for the future to share them with us and all of our WebLetter readers. Please continue to send us your photos, stories and comments - after all, 15,000 (the number of people receiving the Glen-L WebLetter every month) enquiring minds want to know!

Until next month . . .      


by Craig Larson

To All Wooden Boat Builders In The New Year

M ay you be clear-headed on your design,
May your supplies be plentiful,
May you find a spacious place to build,
May your wood grain be straight,
May your building form be true,
May your sectional forms be precise,
May your tools be sharp,
May your planing be even,
May your bead-and-coves join,
May your mechanical fittings all hold,
May your fibreglass be applied evenly and your epoxy set like steel,
May your cabin be graceful,
May your paint be luxurious,
May your engine fire the first and every time,
May you be patient with yourself and those closest to you,
And may you make your way in safety and find secure harbour with joy!

My tools are put away until the new year. See you in a few weeks.
All the best to all boat builders in 2009, and especially the fine folks at Glen-L!!!

Editor's Note: Visit Craig's blog
Indigenora: A Blog About Building A Glen-L Eagle

Glen-L Boatbuilder of the Month

Ray Macke - Cabin Skiff and now True Grit

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from Glen-L WebLetter 21 where Ray Macke describes building his Glen-L Cabin Skiff "Therapy" - click here to find the complete article and photos.

Attached are a few photos of my Cabin Skiff project. I incorporated several modifications which included stretching to 18', moving forward decks up to top of bulwarks, changing cabin & berth shape, and making the windshields tilt open for ventilation. I started the project on 10/26/99 and slid it off the trailer for the maiden voyage on 7/22/00.

I haven't had enough time to really nail down the performance numbers yet, but this is what it is looking like so far. With the new Honda 50 hp four stroke I find it will plane at about 17 or 18 mph. Top speed is 30 mph.

I built the Cabin Skiff with the intention of doing some long river cruises and good fuel economy is essential because fuel facilities are scarce. I am equipped with Horizon's Speed/Trip meter and their Fuel Flow meter. I still am fine tuning both the instruments and the Skiff but so far I am quite pleased.

I must say I get a LOT of looks from other boaters. You just don't see anything like the Cabin Skiff on the rivers here in the midwest. Also, in one of the photos you see the trailer and I built it from Glen-L's plans. Everyone that sees it is surprised when they find out it is not a "factory" job.

If anyone is interested in the building process they can visit my web site at . It tracks my progress from the beginning with lots of photos and text (also has a section on building the trailer).

I have enjoyed the process so much I hated to see it come to an end!

Editor's Note: Ray Macke recently sent us the following regarding his new boatbuilding project, a Glen-L True Grit. We're sure you'll enjoy reading it as much as we did, and we think that you'll especially enjoy clicking on the link Ray supplied that will lead to you all sorts of wonderful and interesting information . . .

H i Gayle and John,

I just wanted to drop you a note and express how disappointed I was not to be able to attend the 2008 Gathering. Although I try to avoid it, sometimes it seems responsibility gets in the way of having fun. But it sounds like it was even better than 2007. More people, more boats which equals more FUN! Would have loved to have been there. I also want to mention how much I enjoyed reading Bob & Dave's Excellent Adventure". It was a real kick to follow Dave's thoughts as he was discovering an experience that I have come to truly love - long distance river cruising. And it is particularly nice he did this on a run to Chattanooga, which is my all time favorite trip. I too was planning on making this trip again after the Gathering. In fact, this year was the first since launching Therapy in 2000 that I have not made it there. Won't happen again. As soon as the weather breaks this spring I am packing up the Cabin Skiff and heading for the Tennessee River.

But now the unseasonably cold weather has the rivers and lakes frozen over and Therapy sets in the shed. But I am not idle. I have been working on my True Grit project and making some headway. I have discovered that although the True Grit is only 50% larger than the Cabin Skiff - 27' vs. 18' - it is at least four or five times the project! Not that it has to be a lot more complex but my vision of the finished boat is much more sophisticated than the CS. With both 12 volt and 110 volt electrical systems, fresh water system including a shower, a real head and storage in every available space, a lot of time is spent in both planning and building. A lot of time! Not that I am complaining as I am enjoying every minute.

Until now I have avoided placing anything on the web about the project - just didn't want to take the time. But have had numerous inquiries about my progress and decided to go ahead and post some info and photos. I'll try to keep it updated as things progress. As usual I am open to any and all comments and suggestions so everyone please feel free to drop me a note.

--- Ray Macke

Here is the link -

..."an experience that I have come to truly love - long distance river cruising..."
See Ray's compendium of river cruising stories
in the WebLetter Index under "Cabin Skiff."

Designer's Notebook: Air-Cooled Motors

M any get the idea that one of the air-cooled "lawn mower type" engines can be adapted to marine use. They are relatively cheap, especially when compared to a comparable marine engine. Then there are air-cooled motorcycle motors, lightweight and powerful; wouldn't they work?

Most land vehicles do a lot of coasting. When the throttle is released, on a bike for example, it will roll for quite a distance. Do the same thing on a watercraft and the coasting will be minimal. Constant power is required; there is no resting for the marine powerplant. Years ago a marine mechanic compared a marine engine to that of an automobile going up a 20 percent grade in low gear, with wide open throttle. Perhaps this is overstated but the marine power does not rest, it's under load all the time. The typical motors referred to simply are not intended for such use.

An air-cooled motor in a vehicle on land is generally exposed; the flow of air around the cooling fins work well. In a boat, the motor is working harder, the rush of air is minimal and overheating becomes common. The oiling system is probably not made to stand the heat or perhaps the angularity of a marine installation.

The exhaust on the land based vehicle is run through pipes exposed to the air or even short pipes with a little muffler as in the smaller motors. A boat engine exhaust can become red hot. If the carburetor float sticks and raw gas hits the hot exhaust, the 4th of July comes early. And some of the small motors have a fuel tank attached; more pyrotechnics.

A marine engine has water jacketed exhaust pipes to cool them. It is possible for the individual to make manifolds but it isn't easy. Making such a manifold with standard iron exhaust pipe is a waste of time; it will rust out quickly with the heat and water. Copper or stainless steel works fine but welding the jacketing around a pipe without leaks is difficult.

In an attempt to solve the cooling problem, some have wrapped the engine cylinder cooling vane grooves with copper pipe and pumped cooling water through the system using the overflow to cool the exhaust pipes. Others have tried large fans with special ducting to cool the engine. All kinds of methods have been tried, but few worked.

A major problem is what to do about a transmission. The marine transmission shifts from forward to reverse actuated by a lever with neutral in between. There is no brake on a boat except shifting the transmission into reverse. Small marine transmissions are not plentiful. Even if one is found, perhaps from a worn out marine engine, adapting the salvaged transmission to fit the motor can be a formidable task.

Note that no mention is made regarding "big brother". The USCG surely won't approve an installation that is potentially dangerous. Insurance may be hard to come by, or impossible to get, if an inspection by a marine surveyor is required. In other words, check the process out before going forward with installing one of the commonly available air-cooled engines in a boat.

The foregoing is not meant to condemn air-cooled motors specially made for marine applications. These are fine installations and many have been proven in years of use. But these are not the "garden variety" small engines referred to in this text. They have been engineered and developed over the years specifically for marine use.


M y boat is in the garage
That snow is no mirage

The garage is very frosty
And to heat it is too costly

It’s much too cold for sure
So my epoxy will not cure

My wood has gone for kindling
None left for boats a-building

I can’t go outside and play
There’s no water anyway

The pond and lakes are frozen
Just like our rosy nose-n

Only one more thing to say
Please January, just go away.


Photos sent in since the last WebLetter...

Harold the boatbuilder

With greater confidence in yourself and your abilities, you will set bigger goals, make bigger plans, and commit yourself to achieving objectives that today you only dream about.

Shop Talk: Sander Stand

Sander Stand

My random-orbit sander sees a lot of use. But I always found it annoying that I couldn't just set it down on the bench after turning it off. I would end up wasting time holding the sander while the pad stopped spinning. Finally, I decided to take the bull by the horns and find a solution.

As you can see from the drawing, what I came up with is pretty simple but also pretty effective. It's just a stand made from scraps of plywood that I can "drop" the sander into once I turn it off.

The key to the stand is the top plate with its two "fingers" that wrap around the sander to suspend it above the base. You'll need to "custom-size" this piece to fit your particular sander. And then just make sure that the stand is tall enough to hold the sander above the base.

Now when you have your sander in hand, you'll be getting the job done, not cooling your heels.

--- Ted Raife

Recent email:

Subject: Merry Christmas
Date: 12 December 2008

Good morning, John. Just a short note to wish you, Gayle, Glen, Darla and Buckshot a very Merry Christmas and a successful 2009.

Also, many thanks for putting up with my endless barrage of emails and WAY too many photos of our ZIP. I can tell you that the high point of the project was taking it down to show it to you guys in August.

All the best,

-- Mark Shipley
Thousand Oaks, California

Editor's Note: See more about Mark and his Zip in
Customer Photos and the Project Registry as well as (what Glen called) Mark's "excellent example of bottom batten reinforcement" in WebLetter 105.

Subject: Christmas
Date: 18 December 2008

Hi Gayle and the Glen-L Team,

I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year and plenty of safe boating through the holiday period. We are going away skiing after Christmas for 10 days, will come back a bit sore.

Have not done anything on our Renegade for the last 5 months, have changed jobs, no time to work on it and it has been too hot to work in the shed (100 degree`s today). Will send more photo`s after the New Year.

-- Ian Bell
Brisbane, Australia

Editor's Note: See more about Ian and his Renegade in
Customer Photos and the Project Registry.

Subject: Glen-L Gathering of Boatbuilders
Date: 1 December 2008

Hi Gayle,

Just a little note to say how nice a time we had and to say thank you to you and Glen-L for helping to promote the Gathering.

It was very nice meeting you and the rest of the gang... It seems like the time just ran out and we didn't get too much time to talk. There will be next year...

Thanks again,

-- Bill and Linda Yonescu
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

See photos of the Riviera, Monaco, and Topper Bill Yonescu has built - BEAUTIFUL craftsmanship!

Subject: Forum & WebLetter
Date: 12 December 2008

I just discovered the Boatbuilder Forum! Nice job on the last WebLetter (love the Jimmy Buffet song, too)!

-- Ray Boller
Old Mill Creek, Illinois

Subject: Ken Hankinson DVD
Date: 29 December 2008


Just a late note to let you how much I enjoyed the interview with Ken. It was excellent. I look forward to an interview with Glen.

Since I bought the Monaco plans in 1997 it has become obvious how honest and genuine you people at Glen-L are and this is supported by the company you keep, (Ken).

Job well done.


--- Alan Close
Monaco builder
Brisbane, Australia

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