Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedback

A place to share YOUR boat building story

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

In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • To all of you who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces, THANK YOU for your service.
  • I hope everyone makes time this Memorial Day to spend just a few moments reflecting on the sacrifices which every serviceman and servicewoman makes in order for people all over the world to live as safely and securely as possible.
  • We hope you'll click on the banner at the top of the Glen-L home page for the Wounded Warrior Project to learn about how this fine organization demonstrates appreciation for all military veterans.
  • Please enjoy this edition of the Glen-L WebLetter, and keep your letters, emails, photos, stories, etc. coming in to us because it's YOUR contributions that make our WebLetters interesting and special.

Until next month . . .      

Priceless Memories

by Jeff Neiman


I just wanted to say "thanks."

Recently my father passed away, but during his last few months, we spent a great deal of time reminiscing about many of the things we did together. One thing that always came up was the boat we built together.

Back in the early 1970's I saw the 10' Tunnel Mite featured on the cover of Popular Mechanics and found your ad inside the magazine with your address. I was 13 years old at the time and from the earnings from my paper route I sent off a check for the plans.

Once my dad realized I was dead serious about building the Tunnel Mite, he helped me buy the materials and oversaw my initial construction and assembly. As I got farther along it became a project which he and I worked on every night. We spent hours working on the boat together, and the plans and detailed instructions made it so easy that the time we spent was filled with excitement looking forward to our first test run of the boat. Even some of the engineers from my dad's work got involved welding and customizing the trailer. It was a great experience and time well spent with my dad. It was just as much fun building the boat as it was terrorizing the fishermen along the lakes and rivers we chose to run it on.

After the maiden voyage, we had several good summers taking the boat out on weekends with family and friends. It was all a great experience and Glen-L made it happen.

Thanks again. I plan to build another boat, this time with my grandchildren, to create more great memories.

Jeff Neiman,
Lisle, Illinois

Glen-L Boatbuilder of the Month

Bill White - Sea Knight

I am 68 years old, retired, have a wife and 4 children, 6 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. I have been in the automotive profession for 50+ years, specializing in restoration of vintage British cars.

Plans for the Sea Knight arrived in March 2008, and I began working 7 days a week nonstop. I must say the following 15 months were a real pleasure and a learning experience as woodworking is not my profession.

The Sea Knight emblems were milled out of 1/2" aluminum plate on a CNC machine. The letter design was scanned from the May 1957 Popular Mechanics article. Making this was a little pricey for my budget, so my 4 children chipped in for Dad's 68th birthday.

I installed a bow rail from a 60's boat that I think really enhances the look of the boat.

The Sea Knight was completed at the end of the boating season, so I haven't used it extensively other than a few shake down cruises. After putting the boat in the water, I found the performance exceeded my expectations. It has performed beautifully with no disappointments. As for performance, with all equipment aboard, and powered by a 1970 Johnson 85HP, it reads 40 MPH on the GPS.

The total cost of this project has been around 6 thousand dollars. I have over 250 photos documenting construction of the Sea Knight that I am editing and adding text, which I will be glad to share with anyone who has bought plans and is currently building.

The building of this boat has been such a pleasure I was a little sad to see it come to a conclusion. The plan now is to tow her to the Florida Keys to do some reef and gulf fishing.

Thank you Gayle and thank you Glen L for a masterpiece in design!

-- Bill White
Edgefield, South Carolina

Glen replies:
Thanks very much for sending the photos of the Sea Knight that you built. It is always a pleasure for a designer to see his work carried through to a conclusion, however when the craftsmanship is such as your boat shows it is a double pleasure. Your attention to little things and the workmanship enhances the appearance of little details and makes your craft unique and very attractive.

The drink holder/grab handle is especially unique. The trim around the transom motor well is something you seldom see but the result enhances the entire boat. I like the way you radiused the many edges of mahogany trim; it improves the appearance greatly.

And, of course, let's not forget the emblem. That obviously is a one-of-a-kind that most wouldn't even think of.

Thanks again for sharing your story and photos with us - it made my day.

More Photos

Life in my Floating Home

by Jillian Simensky


I began my new life aboard towards the end of the summer. The place I found is a small boatyard, about 40 slips, with a homey feel to it, unlike most of the fancier marinas. The owner (affectionately referred to as "the water lord") lives onsite and takes care of us like family. There are 10 of us here in the yard living aboard year round, divided amongst 7 boats. Our little community is wonderful. Someone is always around to offer a hand when you need one. There's always a little get-together going on, gathering at a picnic table in the summer, on someone's deck in the winter.

In the several years I have lived here, I have never locked the door to the boat (as a matter of fact I don't know where the key is). To me this is an incredible thing. In all the years on land, I couldn't go to sleep without checking the doors and windows and making sure the alarm was on.

The summers are filled with activity. The yard fills with seasonal boaters, friends we see only for those glorious months. Spending the weekends on the bay, or a trip to Catalina, instantly washes away the residue of the week's stress. Starting the day off with a cup of coffee on the deck, feeding the ducks and swans that gather noisily at the waterline, makes all the difference in dealing with the upcoming day at work.


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


The shaft hole for an inboard powered boat that uses a skeg or outer deadwood requires a much longer shaft hole. Often the skeg is a solid member although current practice is to use laminations of wood glued together with epoxy.

A skeg built up from flat laminations laid atop the keel is best drilled progressively. If a shaft liner is used it too is progressively installed. A simple boring jig will enable the required angularity to be drilled in each lamination. A guide made from a wood 4" x 4" with a hole drilled at the required angle works well. However if the shaft angle is very flat this method may not be practical nor will the "lazy man's" method described last month.

The skeg can be built from solid wood, contoured to match the keel profile with the top parallel to the shaft angle. The shaft hole is then cut in progressive laminations or partially in the initial portion. A half circle can be cut on a table, radial arm or hand held circular saw making progressive vertical varying length cuts. An ellipse, close to a half circle, can also be made by sending the stock through the saw obliquely, raising the blade progressively a small amount after each cut.

A skeg made from vertical laminations, if practical, enables a space to be provided for the shaft hole and optional tube. This method was used on our Amp Eater prototype and made the shaft hole project very simple:



Drilling the shaft hole in a solid wood skeg or one not progressively made can be done by some of the methods described in our last WebLetter (WebLetter 119). However, since there is no strut acting as a guide the boring tube is impractical. Drilling with an auger bit and electrician's extension or ship auger are typical boring tools.

Marking the shaft angularity on the side of the skeg and tacking a batten parallel to that line will serve as a guide for drilling the hole. One person drilling the hole with another sighting along the drill bit calling out instructions to assure the hole is being aligned to the shaft centerline works well. Some prefer a guide similar to that shown in the photo in WebLetter 119.

The inner surface of the shaft hole is similar to that described last month; epoxy only, epoxy with fiberglass or shaft tube. If the shaft hole is long fiberglassing the hole may be impractical.

When a boat has a skeg it is imperative to install the stern bearing and then fair around it so a free flow of water is provided to the prop.


Rain falls on the sides of hills
And trickles into the creeks
The creeks build into rivers
To provide the water that we seek

Boat builders should be glad it rains
After all, water is what boaters need
To have a place to row, sail or fish
Or just to run about at speed

But when it rains for days and days
And I think it will never stop
I can’t build a boat or go boating
And I feel like I’m going to pop

We’ve had enough rain for now
You know, summer is nearly here
Still there are dark clouds above me
It’s going to rain again, I fear

I know I should be silent
Be happy more rain is on the way
But the creeks are close to flooding
They may overflow today

For now I’ll keep my mouth shut
And watch for the rising tide, amen
But if the water reaches my lower lip
I'm surely going to mention it again


Photos posted since the last WebLetter...

Skipper's Checklist for
Road and Ramp

Just as any good pilot goes over his safety checklist before taking off, it's wise to do the same when towing and launching.

Here's a list of key items you should address every time you head to the water (click on the image below to open a full-sized .pdf to make copies):

Harold the boatbuilder

It is time to "make the time."

Shop Talk: Three Clever Clamp Racks


Store your bar clamp collection on a simple rack, consisting of two 24-in.-long, 1-in.-diameter oak dowels supported by two oak brackets that are mounted, in turn, to two oak backs. The dowels are positioned in the brackets so that the clamp handles slide down behind the top dowel and the clamp bars are supported vertically by the lower dowel. To fix the position of the large dowels, use smaller dowels to pin them in the right-hand bracket.


Store C-clamps on a narrow shelf. A rubber strip, cut from a black rubber stretch tie-down, prevents the clamps from falling off the front, while brackets prevent the clamps from falling off the ends. This storage shelf has several advantages. The clamps will stay put without having to screw them closed, and it is easy to pick out a particular clamp because they are all visible. If you have several sizes of C-clamps, build a shelf for each size.


This caddy is one of the best ways to organize a collection of spring clamps. To make it, cut a 1-ft.-long handle, thin the lower edge with opposing rabbets, and pop the clamps onto the caddy.

You can carry the clamps from place to place, where they stay neatly out of the way until you need them.

Recent email:

Subject: Fond Memories

My husband built the Glen-L Missile in 1961-1963 when we were just a young couple with two small kids and one on the way. They grew up with that boat and have very fond memories including taking naps in the bow of the boat. They all learned to water ski behind it, the youngest at age four.

We used it in the San Francisco Bay Estuaries, Clear Lake California, The San Joaquin River, and finally at Lake Shasta and Whiskeytown when we moved to Redding. Whenever we took it out people gathered to look it over.

One of my daughters found this picture of our Glen-L. It was taken in the San Joaquin River outside of Tracy, California in the early 1960's.

We actually still have the boat although it's seen better days even though he has reskinned it a couple of times; no one in the family can bear to part with it. It has been left in neglect and somehow along the way the plans disappeared. I'd like to replace those plans…

The main reason I want the plans is to encourage one or some of my children or eight grandsons to build another one.

Thanks for your nice newsletters.

-- Sally Mayr
Redding, California

Subject: A Very Rewarding Experience

I have been familiar with your company for many years. My dad built a 20 foot Luger in 1963. I grew up on that boat and have been into boating ever since.

In 1968 (I think) I built a Glen-L TNT all by myself at 15 years old. It was a fun experience and all these years later, I find myself thinking about it again.

I presently have a 1989 Maxum cuddy and love the boat, but I am pondering, when finances allow, to build a boat again. I have added many skills since building my TNT and think it would be a very rewarding experience to do again.

Thank you for your newsletters. They help keep the idea fresh in my mind.


-- Gary Chase

Subject: My 4th Glen-L Boat!

Thanks for all the newsletters on "Dream Boats." I believe we have talked on the phone many times over the years when ordering hardware for my projects.

I am, in fact, now on my 4th Glen-L project. A Squirt when I was 12 with my father, another Squirt at 16, a Tornado with a big block Chrysler engine at 19, and now at 57 my 3rd Squirt. This one will be an inboard and shortly I will be ordering more hardware.

On this 4th project I would like to do the deck in the striped mahogany like shown in the picture from John Korte on the newsletter you recently sent me. I don't yet know how to go about it, but know I'll get good documentation and learning from Glen-L and the builders in the Boatbuilder Forum.

Thanks again for your help and advice.

-- Neil Copland
Winnipeg, Canada

Subject: My High School Boat

I built this 1958 Swish when I was in high school. All of the plywood cost me $100.00 and the hardware cost another $100.00.

I put a 40 hp Evanrude motor on the back and I did a lot of water skiing with it.

I sold the boat in the 1970's but I still have the plans that were published in Popular Mechanics magazine.

-- Donald Timm
Green Lake, Wisconsin

A Guy Brings his Boat...

A guy brings his boat up to a bayside restaurant's dock where he plans to eat lunch. The dockhand says "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't let you dine here today. This establishment has a necktie policy, and you are not wearing one."

The boater says, "Of course I don't have a tie on, I'm on a boat!"

"Well, go down below and put one on" replies the dockhand.

"I don't HAVE one!" shouts the agitated boat owner.

The dockhand, not wanting to turn away a paying customer, says "Well, why don't you just find something that approximates a tie. That should be O.K."

After some time, the boater comes out with a pair of jumper cables draped around his neck. "This is all I could find" he says.

Letting out a big sigh, the deck hand says "OK, I'll let you in with those, but just don't start anything."

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.

Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat & drink beer all day.

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