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

In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • This is the first WebLetter since Gayle and I returned from the 2010 Gathering of Glen-L Boatbuilders, or "G4" as the regular attendees have dubbed it. I honestly can't adequately express just how interesting and how much FUN these Gatherings are. And it's all due to the wonderful, personable and generous volunteers who populate the Glen-L Boatbuilder Forum who have taken it upon themselves to plan, organize and execute on their own this valuable event each year. If you made it to G4, be sure and log onto the Forum and express your thanks to the organizers, and check out the plans for G5 - it looks like it's shaping up to be another spectacular time for all who can join in on the fun!
  • Did you like this WebLetter? The WebLetter is prepared between other responsibilities and the finished product depends a lot on input from Glen-L builders. If you have a story to tell, don't be bashful, our readers are interested in your boatbuilding project. Don't worry about grammar, spelling, etc. Three people proofread the WebLetter and we often make corrections. Email your story, attach photos with captions. Seeing other projects is a great help to builders. Thanks to those of you who contributed to this WebLetter.
  • A reminder... Christmas is coming and friends and family would like to get you something you REALLY want. You might want to print out some pages from the Glen-L Online Store and leave them laying around, with appropriate circles and arrows... just a thought.

Until next month . . .      

Dreams Realized

by Gayle Brantuk


Pride of achievement is the true reward of building a boat. It's evident by the look on the faces of every builder at each Gathering we've had for the past four years.

This pride comes from a job well done, from a goal achieved, a dream realized. The double-takes they get on the water and the folks asking "how old is your boat? These experiences are what make it all worthwhile. And the guys I talked to say it was worth every minute.

September 24-26 was the fourth Gathering of Boatbuilders organized by the members of the Glen-L Boatbuilder Forum. Each year I write about this event and how wonderful it was, how it gets better each year, about all the beautiful boats and so on. All this is true, but there's a much deeper thread to G4 as it's now affectionately called.

It's not just about the beautiful boats that guys have built with Glen-L boat plans, or having fun riding in those boats, the wonderful people that attend or the great food. It's about people living and fulfilling their dreams. And there's always a story behind the boat, and to me that's the best part. Rory Hamilton is a third generation Glen-L boat builder. His inspiration is his grandfather who built the Sea Knight and he is determined to build a boat just like Grandpa's. He brought a photo album to the Gathering showing photos of his family's boats and some of the start of his own project. I could feel Rory's passion. This is more than just a boat to build. He's building his dream and carrying on his family's tradition. And his wife Kristen was right there with him providing encouragement.

Then there was Mary and Bernard. This couple came from Wisconsin where they own and run a resort. They closed down the resort and came to the Gathering for the first time. On Saturday, when we got all of the boats out on the water so we could get some good video, Mary and Bernard were standing on the docks wondering what they should do. Bill Edmundson told them they were welcome to hop in the back of his 24' Tahoe with us.

We were out on the water for close to an hour with about 30 boats running and having a great time. I looked back at Mary and Bernard and with a huge smile and two thumbs up, Mary said "I'm living my dream right here in this boat".

Seriously, how many people get to ride in a 24' mahogany runabout that was built by hand, not in a factory, but by the guy driving… with his own two hands… with the sweat of his brow? It's an awesome experience.

And then there's Dave Lott who recently completed building his Riviera, a 20' classic mahogany runabout. Dave built this beautiful boat in only 11 months and it's truly impressive. The story behind his boat is lengthy and detailed on his blog, but the bottom line is that building his boat was an opportunity to share his Christian faith and testimony.

I also had an opportunity to take a ride in Gary Steinkamp's Missile which is a 16' inboard speed boat. On the dash of Gary's boat is a brass plaque that reads "Gene Steinkamp - May his spirit be with us". Gene is Gary's brother who was in a wheelchair for 50 years because of polio from which he finally passed. He helped Gary build the Missile… you can imagine that this is more than just a "boat" to Gary.

Who can forget young 12-year old Collin who raced his 10' Super Spartan up and down the lake all weekend? That boy handles his boat like a pro and had a ton of fun using it. I even understand he's quite a captain with the bigger boats as well.

For years, many of our WebLetter subscribers followed the stories of Ray Macke and his adventures in his Cabin Skiff. Ray has (so far) logged over 27,000 miles and 1587 hours on his 16' Skiff traveling various intercoastal waterways. For G4, Ray brought his new boat, the 27' True Grit that he's named "SeaQuinn". We've watched Ray's build online and know that his wife is much happier with a larger boat with better accommodations. This isn't just a boat - this is Ray and Vickie's transport to worlds unknown, to adventures that await, to deepening the bonds of their marriage.

And of course, there's Chris who came to his first Gathering last year with his wife Heather along with photos of the beginning of his boat. Chris is one of our younger builders and this year he brought his finished Zip which is one of our most popular 14' runabout designs. Chris gave ride after ride in his pride and joy which he named "First Born". You could just feel the well-earned pride this young man has. He and Heather even took photos with Santa hats on for their Christmas cards.

Those are just some of the stories. There are many more and that's to me one of the best things about our Gatherings; getting to know the people behind the boats. These folks are family to us here at Glen-L and we treasure the friendships we are building.

These boatbuilders have much to be proud of. They started and finished building a boat that they can be truly proud of. They had a goal, a dream and they saw it through to completion.

All of us at Glen-L are grateful for each of you who attended G4 and thank you for making this event the highlight of our year. If you weren't able to make it to this year's Gathering, we urge you to make it to G5 because you'll kick yourself if you don't! See you next year!

Editor's Note: See more from Gayle in the Glen-L BLOG.

Boats on a Lake

by Markus Hosseini, Roving reporter
Lake Oswego, Oregon

LAKE OSWEGO – The Oswego Heritage Council will host its 11th annual Collector Car and Classic Boat Show Sunday at George Rogers Park. An estimated 250 classics, rods, sports and special interest cars and 40 classic boats will be on display from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the corner of Ladd and South State streets. Boats also will be on display at the nearby Lake Oswego Corporation Docks on State Street.

My plan was that 2010 would be the year that I made it to the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Show. I'd been online to see about hotels and such and printed out information on likely's. But then it turned out that the most practical time to visit relatives on the East coat would be during the event, so another year missed. I grumbled about this to my wife, who said, "Why not go to the Lake Oswego Boat Show, it's this week?" I didn't have great expectations, but decided, "why not".

As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised. There were over 40 classic boats on display in a beautiful setting, we had a wonderful day looking at classic wooden boats. Because I know that readers of the Glen-L WebLetter love to look at wooden boats, I took lots of pictures. There were no Glen-L's among those on display, but these classic originals should provide lots of ideas for those who are building their own “classics”.

Continue to Photos

My Tubby Tug Build

by Doug Wade, Toronto, Canada

I first began building my Glen-L Tubby Tug early in the spring of 2008 when I turned the plans into a kit by cutting out every piece that I could. Other projects restricted Tubby Tug building to the winters.

During the winter of 2008 - 09 I insulated a thirteen and a half foot by nine and a half foot portion of my small single car garage and this area became my boat shed. I completed the hull and painted the exterior that winter. I also built the front of the pilot house and used a router to make hawse pipe covers and the ship's wheel.

Building resumed November 2009; with seven foot headroom in my boat shed I had to build the pilot house in the boat because there was not enough room to lift the completed pilot house into the boat. The boat was completed the end of February 2010. I enjoyed every hour spent on this project and have no idea how many hundreds of hours I spent on it.

My Tubby Tug has full running lights and a solar panel to keep the battery topped up. The steering is homemade old fashion drum and cable. To add play value a fire monitor is powered with a high pressure 12 volt pump. I used Interlux Brightsides paint, Maas epoxies and marine ply bought at Noah's Marine in Toronto Ontario.

This was my first boat building exercise and one of the many pleasures was the many things I had to learn such as the fact that sand paper is a cutting tool and when dull it should be discarded. Building a boat is easily within the skill level of most people if it is simply viewed as an endless list of doable tasks.

My wife fears that I am now an addicted boat builder and I already have plans for two more boats. My problem is a lack of space for storage of completed toys.

Editor's Note: See photos of the custom touches Doug made
to his Tuggy Tub in Customer Photos.

Designer's Notebook: Strengthen Your Bottom?

No, not your bottom…the bottom of the boat you're currently (or contemplating) building. Boat builders don't need to worry about the underside of their lap; they're busy working on the boat and not getting the dreaded disease COB (Calluses On the Butt) typical of a "couch potato".

The design of the boat is such that there is probably adequate structure to maintain the integrity of the bottom, however many wish to strengthen it for various reasons (not overpowering the boat, we hope). The weakest part of the bottom of a sheet plywood boat built by conventional methods is at the seams, the keel and the chine. Adding a bottom batten or moving an existing one closer to these members will alleviate some of the stress on the keel and chine fasteners.

Under great stress a keel can split where the two halves of a vee-bottomed boat join. Two laminations of solid stock will usually negate the problem; a lamination of plywood (thickness is not important) over a keel that is not in two or more layers will serve the same purpose. Usually some scraps left over from the planking can be used; these can be laminated on the keel inside, between frames, after the boat is turned right side up. Epoxy adhesive alone can be used to bond the plywood to the keel, held in place with temporary fasteners until the glue sets. Optionally bronze ring nails can be used with the glue and left permanently in place.

Another area that can be reinforced is the junction of the chine, battens and keel to the frames. Fillets made from epoxy with fillers, usually a combination of microspheres and silica, are an excellent reinforcement at any such junction while wooden cant or corner blocks can be substituted. Plenty of scrap wood is usually left over that can be ripped on a table or radial arm saw at 45 degrees, making a cant block that will fit at most junctions. If the junction is close to ninety degrees, thickened epoxy can be used to fill the void or the cant block angle fitted to the junction. Drill a couple of holes in the cant block the diameter of the nails that are used to hold the reinforcement in place until the adhesive cures; double-headed nails work well and are easy to remove.

Battens reinforce the bottom and adding more to decrease the spacing between them will add considerable strength, as will increasing their width. Stiffness of battens can also be increased by adding a cleat atop. Since this cleat will need to be bent, its size may be limited. Such reinforcement is fitted between frames and installed after the boat is planked and righted. A vertical plywood upright sided to a batten between frames will increase strength considerably. Such plywood uprights, typically ¼" or 3/8" plywood, are joined to the frames with cant blocks or epoxy resin putty fillets, often with fiberglass laminates. Such longitudinal uprights can be used to support the flat floorboards when a cleat is added to the top edge.

Sheet plywood bottom planking doesn't usually fail, but the forward part that is bent into a vee can, if the builder gets careless. Most failures would be on very fast runabouts with relatively thin plywood bottoms. Seldom does a problem arise with sailboats or other slower moving craft. Usually a failure is caused by a hard spot that results in a localized stress. Examples of this would be at a forward frame that contacts and fastens to the bottom or the ending of a batten that laps a frame just a small amount. The cure is to relieve the batten or forward frame so it does not contact the sheet plywood planking; it is supported by longitudinals.

A bottom batten on a typical plywood planked boat is usually too stiff to bend and extend forward to end against the chine or stem, but if the ending creates a localized stress point problems can occur. Slitting the forward ending of a batten to allow it to bend easier is common. Some have kerfed the inside flat surface to make it bend easier and then used thickened epoxy to fill in the voids caused by the kerfs. Another method is to extend the battens forward with plywood laminations. Plywood, particularly in cross grain, can be bent to most bottom vee's. The forward end (see sketch below) is notched in thickness to ½ that of the batten thickness (for 1" stock battens with ¾" net thickness) assuming the bottom is ¼" or 3/8" plywood. The bottom battens are installed in the typical manner with the plywood extension added after the hull is righted. The initial 3/8" lamination butts to the end of the batten and extends from the batten as far forward as possible, hopefully ending close to the stem or chine. It should also lap over the 1" batten as much as possible. The width of the forward ending of the plywood batten can be decreased if necessary. Epoxy glue the plywood batten to the inside surface of the bottom using temporary fasteners to hold it down until the adhesive cures. Add another 3/8" lamination atop the initial one fitting into the batten notch; this will make the top of the solid wood batten and the plywood laminations flush. Add one or more plywood laminations extending over the solid wood batten as far as possible. The forward end of the battens should end in stairstep fashion rather than at the same point.

So, consider reinforcing your boat's bottom when you are building. It adds little weight, usually uses existing scrap, and doesn't take a lot of time.

Remember the old adage "Take care of your bottom and it will take care of you."


Summertime is nearly over
End of all the boating fun
Though I know it’s not forever
I’m still feeling kind of glum

But now it’s time for planning
Winter’s boat building work
Doing boat mods and upgrades
Those are some of winter’s perks

Stores change their inventory
Shifting space to winter things
Summer items are reduced
That’s a good that winter brings

Time to look for boating bargains
Watch for end-of-summer sales
Get epoxy, paint, tools and ply
Plans for new boat building tales

Keep your boating spirit up
Do the work you’ve put on hold
If your own weather permits
Start that new boat, be bold!

So, my friend, as the story goes
Tote that barge and lift that bale
But keep your eyes open ‘cause
Boat stuff’s ON-SALE!


Photos posted since the last WebLetter...

Build a Boat in a Week

by Bob Spiess

Well my summer boat building project is over and it was a complete success. I was a camp counselor and did a "Build a Boat in a Week" class with 80% senior high school girls in the class (it can be done). They did a great job and are very proud of their accomplishment. I finally chose the Glen-L Imp (the class named it the "Squirt") after talking with you as it had real style, good lines, and would make the class proud. The girls learned a lot about epoxy, fasteners, power tools, building frames, etc, and boats in general. What excitement at the launch ceremony at the end of the week when it slid into the water.

I promised the class that I would bring the boat to the Mystic Seaport "Antique Marine Engine Exposition" August 21-22 with my 1939 Elto "Handitwin" on the stern. That all happened last weekend with total success. There were 296 exhibits at the Seaport and Squirt was in front of them all. In other words, the public needed to pass Squirt and me to get to see everything else.

I have never talked with so many people for so many hours in a long time. Your IMP was very popular and Glen-L was given full credit for the design. Some people were surprised to know that Glen-L was still in business and was a very popular address for me to give out. We had many teachers (especially shop teachers) stop by and they were very pleased to know that some people are still interested in seeing young folks learn to build with their hands. Many boat lovers commented on the excellent design of IMP and wanted to know if this boat was for sale.

The class actually donated the boat to the camp for use as a trainer in rowing and general boating safety for the younger age children in years to come. I have included some pictures and posters for you. I have enjoyed discussing this project with you all at Glen-L and thank you for all the help and plans.

Safe boating,

--- Bob

Harold the boatbuilder

"If you can dream it,
you can do it!"

Shop Talk: Savy Storage for Small Stuff


Saw off short pieces of 1 1/2", 2" or 3" PVC plumbing pipe with 45-degree angles on one end.

Screw them to a board to hold paintbrushes, pencils, stir sticks and just about any other narrow paraphernalia in your garage or workshop.

Mount them by drilling a 1/4-in. hole in the angled end, and then drive a 1-5/8-in. drywall screw through the hole into the board.


Don't recycle those steel or aluminum cans quite yet. Set aside a few months’ worth of fruit and coffee cans and put these cannery rows to work organizing all of the small hardware in your shop. All you need are some homemade wood clips and a chunk of 3/4-in. plywood screwed to a wall.

To make the clips, rip a 3/4-in.-thick board into 1-3/8-in.-wide strips. Saw or rout a 3/8-in. x 1/4-in. rabbet along one edge. Drill 1/8-in. screw holes every 3/4 in. and then cut off 3/4-in.-wide clips. To mount the clips and cans on the plywood, screw on a clip, notch end down, then set a can on the clip and screw on a second clip overlapping the can's rim about 1/4 in.

That’s it! Keep adding clips and cans until every screw, bolt, nail and nut has a can to call home. Label the cans, and keep one loaded with surplus clips and screws for adding on.


Recent email:

Subject: Another TNT from the plans by Glen-L

I recently finished this TNT. I changed the deck a bit to give it a more sporty look. The boat took me exactly two months from start to finish working evenings and weekends.

I have never built a boat before and I am not a woodworker so if I can do this, anyone can.

-- Bill Snyder
Greeneville, Tennessee

Subject: Acapulco Camper

Hi Guys. Thirty five years ago I built one of your campers and put it on a Ford f100 truck. During the last two months I built your Acapulco to fit on my Ford Falcon trayback ute.

I modified the front to give it a different look and also modified it to fit on the trayback.

What do you think?

-- Bob Hodkinson
Yanderra, Australia

P.S. I am 68 years old.

Subject: Fisherman

I found what I believe to be a Glen-L Fisherman advertised on a fishing site called Lake-Link. I was told the boat had been bought at an auction. It appeared to be in pretty good shape, but in need of a total refinishing.

The previous owner had put a false floor in it which did not allow any possibility of getting water from under the floorboard, which caused some problems. I removed the floor and took the boat to bare wood inside and out. I had to do some improvising on the bottom at the transom, but the end product is well worth it.

I have run the boat with a 1950 Mercury KG7, a 1951 Mercury KG4, a 1952 Mercury KH7, and a 1953 Mercury Mark 20. The GPS showed 28 MPH with the KH7, and the boat handles well. I showed this boat at the Chicago Boat and Travel Show this year, and heard a lot of nice comments.

-- Dave Wilson

Subject: Thank you

I just want to thank you for making my dad the boatbuilder of the month (WebLetter 122). He's very happy (and proud) about that.

Have a nice week

-- Joel Bouchard
Napierville, Quebec, Canada

Subject: Boat Plan Puzzlement

On reading your #12 Newsletter, I had to smile. I too had a "holy cow" moment when I was looking over my new set of plans. Then I thought there were too many drawings and not enough dimensions to go around, and I was even more confused. Fortunately, I had picked the Power Skiff (non-stitch and glue) so I had one flat surface to use as a reference. After much head-scratching, I cut out the forms and the transom. Then I built the space-frame and mounted the forms, transom and the stem where the drawing said to put them.

Still scratching my head, I attached the keel, which tied the stem to the transom across all the forms. At this point I was taking it all on faith, hoping the written instructions were going to work.

After that point, I sat down and looked at it for awhile. (I read Payson's book on Instant Boats, and he finds a 'thinking chair' to be an essential part of the shop. Now I know what he meant.) After some time in the chair looking from the plans to the barely attached pieces on the shop floor in front of me, the light clicked and I could see how the rest had to fit together.

The rest of the inverted construction phase went pretty well. The part I most feared, getting the side planking to meet on the bow, came together just fine. The gap at the plywood's end ranged from zero to 1/8". The plywood screwed down to the stem itself tight with no odd bends or twists at all.

I just put the fiberglass on the bottom this morning. I have no doubt I will be able to finish this project in good order. My next boat is going to be a Minuet. No straight lines anywhere, which is what prompted me to try something simpler (and I wanted a fishing boat anyway).

If the Minuet turns out to not be big enough, I'll build a Fancy Free, or a similar boat.

On that subject, others who favor stitch & glue have called the chine-logs and frame system old-fashioned and out of date. You carry plans for both construction methods. It might be useful if someday you could go through the advantages and disadvantages for both methods. The only stitch & glue boat I'm familiar with was a nightmare of sanding tight internal curves smooth enough to have a hope of getting the fiberglass tape to lay down flat. But the chine logs that were supposed to be oh-so-hard to cut correctly took about 30 seconds each on the table saw. The area that didn't come out quite the way I thought it should took another minute on each side with a power plane. "This is supposed to be difficult?" I thought. Quite a change from that first "holy cow!" moment.

-- Michael Spangler
Soap Lake, Wshington

The Captain's Parrot

A magician was working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. The audience would be different each week, so the magician allowed himself to do the same tricks over and over again. There was only one problem; the captain's parrot saw the shows each week and began to understand how the magician performed every trick.

Once the parrot caught on to the magician's tricks the parrot started squawking in the middle of every show: "Look, it's not the same hat" "Look, he is hiding the flowers under the table" "Hey, why are all the cards the Ace of Spades?" The magician was furious, but couldn't do anything about it. It was, after all, the captain's parrot.

One day the ship had a terrible accident and sank. The magician found himself hanging on to a piece of wood in the middle of the ocean, and, of course, the parrot was shipwrecked on the very same piece of wood.

They stared at each other with pure hatred, but did not utter a word. This went on for a whole day, and then another and another.

Finally, after a week the parrot said: "OK, I give up. Where's the boat?"

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