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

Now that the holidays are behind us we're back with a new and (we hope) exciting WebLetter for you! We hope that you'll enjoy and maybe even learn something new by looking over this issue, and that many of you will be encouraged to come join us at the West Coast Rendezvous taking place in California this coming May.

Thanks to the tremendous contributions made by quite a few of our builders, Glen has in this issue written a very detailed and informative "Designer's Notebook" column on how to drill an accurate and effective Shaft Hole for your inboard design.

Of course, once again ArtDeco has written a very entertaining poem about a "muss-cular" subject that could affect us all. And Ray Macke has submitted another fabulous story of his boating and boatbuilding exploits.

Please continue to send in your emails, letters, stories, and photos to share with all of our readers so that every WebLetter will have something in it for everyone.

Until next month . . .      

Beware of (These) Hitch-Hikers


Dreissena bugensis, better known as Quagga mussels, and Dreissena polymorpha (a.k.a Zebra mussels) are destructive invasive aquatic species that grow to about an inch in diameter. Sometimes they are larger, sometimes they are microscopic. These small, freshwater bivalve mollusks are triangular with a ridge between the side and bottom. They have black, cream or white bands, and often feature dark rings on the shell almost like stripes.

Zebra and Quagga mussels are native to the Ukraine and Russia. Zebra mussels were first discovered in the Great Lakes in 1988, and a year later, Quagga mussels were discovered in the same area. It is believed they arrived in America via ballast water discharge.

Quagga/Zebra mussels can colonize on hulls, engines and steering components of boats, other recreational equipment and if left unchecked, can damage boat motors and restrict cooling.

These hitch-hikers pose serious risks and costs to you as a boat owner because they can:


Glen-L Boatbuilder of the Month

James Logan - Starpath 44

The SPIRIT, a Starpath 44, was completed and launched in 2006.

The vessel has been a great success. I am very pleased with her performance under sail. We have had a chance to sail her under light to moderate conditions up to 25 knots of wind and are very satisfied.

The attached picture of SPIRIT under sail was taken on August 16, 2009 about 2 miles offshore from Point Loma, San Diego, California. She was doing 5 knots at about 40 degrees off the wind. Wind was about 10 knots. We were running about 1200 square feet of sail.

Construction Photos

Project Registry

A Visit with James Logan before SPIRIT'S Launch

Building the True Grit

by Ray Macke

Chapter 13 - Prep and Painting

Although my True Grit construction plan was to work only during the cold winter months, the summer of 2009 brought about a bit of reality. All the main structure was complete and interior work could begin. But I recognized there were numerous items that needed to be completed for work to progress in an orderly fashion. Things like through the hulls for the bilge pumps, gas tank fills and water tank fills needed to be added while they were easily accessible from the interior. If I waited they would be inside cabinets and much harder to reach. But their install would be much cleaner if the exterior was painted as it eliminates masking and time spent trying to paint around them. So it seemed painting the exterior was next on a long but shrinking list of things to do.

But this is where reality started to disrupt my building plan. My large but totally un-insulated shop is not easy to heat during the winter and holding the needed temperature for painting would be a problem. I decided the only solution was to have the painting completed by late fall. This meant I would have to work through the summer to get it done. Not what I had planned as when the weather is warm I would rather be boating, riding my motorcycle or anything outdoors. Not working in the shop. But if I were to wait for winter to begin the process several months would be lost waiting for mild enough spring weather.

And so it began. Building a 27’ boat is a substantial undertaking but it tends to grow slowly and the dimensions become somewhat muted. But the true size of the beast suddenly becomes apparent when you start sanding. And sanding. And sanding.


Designer's Notebook: Drilling the Shaft Hole for an Inboard

In preparation for this segment we put out a call for builders of inboard boats requesting they describe how they drilled the shaft hole in their boat. Their ideas along with methods we have used are incorporated in this text. THANKS to all who participated; it really helped to learn from your experiences and some novel methods of drilling the shaft hole.

This issue of the WebLetter will review drilling the shaft hole where a strut is used. We will cover drilling through a keel or deadwood in the next issue of the WebLetter.

Most dread drilling a hole in the bottom of their boat, but after it's done the majority feel it isn't that big of a deal. The size of the shaft hole is usually about ¼" larger in diameter than the prop shaft although some prefer more. Consider the treatment of the shaft hole; it can be simply epoxy coated, fiberglassed, or a tube used as discussed further along in this text. If the shaft hole is to use either of the two latter inserts allowance must be made; the final interior of the shaft hole should have the noted clearance.

The shaft hole is usually drilled after planking, while the hull is upside down. However, drilling before planking, as done by Paul Kane¹ on his HOT ROD is a viable option. It allows more freedom and you are able to have a better view of the whole procedure. Note that it does require compensating for the planking thickness and the keel must be properly faired.


The Mussels are Coming, The Mussels are Coming

Nasty critters in our waters
Only fresh waters but beware
They're coming and spreading
You had better take care

The name sounds strange
Dreissena Bugensis
That's the Quagga mussel
And there're no defenses

Dresissnena Polymorpha
Is that pesky Zebra mussel
That little bugger's giving me

A real pain in my bustle

Their habits are bad
They eat up the food
That all small fish eat
And that isn't good

They grow in big clumps
On motors and pipes
Clogging and choking
And blocking, Yipes!

Some states and counties
Are doing their best
To prevent the spread
Of these two little pests

Be ready for inspections
The standards are high
To launch, your boat must
Be clean, drained and dry

It's a hassle for sure and
Of course, it's not free
The launch fees are doubled
That's really bugging me

So take note, my friend
Unless your boat's been traded
Watch out for the mussels
Cause we're being invaded!


Photos posted since the last WebLetter...

West Coast Rendezvous of Glen-L Boatbuilders

Join us for another get-together organized by the members of the Glen-L Boatbuilder Forum. Bring your boat whether you built it yourself, or it's in process or even a manufactured boat. The more the merrier!

So far, we have people bringing the following boats:

  • Monaco
  • Wee Hunk
  • Flying Saucer
  • 1919 Navy Launch
  • A-Lure
  • 2 Zip Runabouts
  • Squirt
See the video of our 2008 Rendezvous here

To learn more or just join in the coversation visit the Glen-L Boatbuilder Forum

West Coast Rendezvous of Glen-L Boatbuilders
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Sugar Barge Resort & Marina
1440 Sugar Barge Road
Bethel Island, California

Harold the boatbuilder

The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.

Shop Talk: Rip Sandpaper to Size with Precision

Building a boat incorporates lots of curves, some of which may require some sanding. To help use expensive sandpaper efficiently, you can build this fixture, which will allow you to rip sandpaper sheets to any size quickly and easily, with little waste.

The grid surface, which serves as the cutting guide, is a self-healing cutting mat from a dollar store or office supply store. Following the grid, you can rip perfectly sized sheets not only for any odd-size sanding blocks you've made or purchased, but also for any half- and quarter-sheet electric sanders in your collection. Just be sure the lines of the grid are square to the edges of the platform; otherwise, you'll be cutting on an angle.

You may find this to be one of the most frequently used fixtures in your workshop. Michael Fortune, of Lakefield, Ontario, Canada is on his second - the first one gave out after 30 years of use.

Recent email:

Subject: It Floats!

I just finished building your Sea Kayak Two and good news, it floats!

It was my first time working with the "stitch and glue" method of construction and by the end of the project, it was a snap!

Thanks for the great plans and I am in receipt of your Lo Voltage plans for my next build.

-- Aaron Pufal
Plantation, Florida

Subject: Zip in Brazil

I am happy and proud with the publication of my photos on your site. I am showing to all my friends.


-- Amaurí Cascapera
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Subject: It's Never Too Late

I bought these plans from you in the 80's and finally built your Class AB boat.

I actually built it as a model in 1:12 scale and it a good learning experience for when I finally build the full size boat.

-- Tom Wysocki

Subject: WebLetter 118

I was very pleased to see my golden prose published for all to see in your new newsletter (ZIP-Builder's Diary). Congrats on putting it together so handsomely. The little bit of editing you did was certainly understandable.

Your web site is really quite good - lots of depth and content, but still easy to navigate. As a former computer geek I can appreciate a good site like yours. It's good to know there's a resource like you guys out there.

-- Dave Coleman
Castro Valley, California

Subject: Thanks!

I purchased plans from you for the Sweet Caroline around 1990...built it...registered it in Massachusetts in has been the best ever since!

Sank in a hurricane...survived...has taken my daughters and now my grand children up harbor every year...

Thank you for providing me with the detailed instructions to build this incredible boat. It has been moored in Nantucket harbor for 14 going on 15 years.

Yes. It has totally changed my anyone else will acknowledge who has built their dream. I thank you forever! Always!

-- Charles Dunton
Nantucket, Massaachusetts

Subject: Squirt

I just thought I would just send you some more pictures from another satisfied customer. As a teenager, I purchased my first boat which happened to be a Glen-L Flying Saucer. I outfitted it with a 1967 33hp Evinrude Ski Twin and had endless enjoyment with my buddies learning to waterski and just plain messing around at Elk Lake near Victoria, British Columbia.

Now that I am a father, I decided to try and give my son the same experience. We purchased plans to your Squirt design a couple of Christmases ago and built her over the winter in the garage. We rebuilt an old seized 1973 9.5hp Johnson outboard for power and launched her at Canim Lake in the interior of British Columbia, where she still resides today.

I have attached a few pictures to illustrate the final product. As you can see from the expressions on my son's face, the project was a great success!

Thanks again,

-- Bruce Richmond
North Saanich, British Columbia, Canada

Subject: Barrelback 19' Project

George and I began building the Barrelback back in December of 2007. We discussed starting with a smaller plywood construction boat to gain some building experience first, but decided to jump right in and build the boat we both wanted.

Building goes in spurts as we generally only work on it weekends during the winter months after the hunting season ends in November. After the holidays, most every Saturday and Sunday we work on it together while the wives are busy playing Scrabble and drinking wine in front of the fire.

So far we are about 80% finished fairing and hope to start the Cold-Mold planking in about two weeks. Our goal for this winter is to complete the outside of the hull so we can flip it by time the boating season begins here in May. We are planning on using a 4.3 Liter V6 for power.

George and I are both very interested in speaking with others who are either building or have built the Barrelback as we have many questions. We also have learned many things that might be helpful to others.

-- Mike Clem & George Portfleet
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Subject: A Winner!

A stretched (21 ft) Tahoe completed in July of '07. Entered in Traverse City Michigan Boat Show and the Hessel, Michigan boat show 1 week later. Won best contemporary classic in Traverse and second place contemporary classic in Hessel.

Beautiful to see and a delight to ride in.

Where do I go from here?

-- Lee Rea
Lowell, Michigan

Tool Usage Dictionary

  • DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

  • WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, "Oh sh--".

  • SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

  • PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

  • BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

  • HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle... It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

  • VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

  • OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race...

  • TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

  • HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

  • BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

  • TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

  • PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

  • STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

  • PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

  • HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.

  • HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit.

  • UTILITY KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

  • SONOVA B*TCH! TOOL: (A personal favorite!!) Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling "Son of a b*tch!" at the top of your lungs, just as your in-laws or any impressionable children walk through the door. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.
Hope you found this informative.

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