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

Our heartiest congratulations to Darla Schooler
for 30 years of dedicated service to Glen-L.

Darla is an incredible storehouse of knowledge of all things Glen-L,
and is one of the friendly voices you hear on the other end of
the telephone when you call in to us.

Next time you call, write, or email Glen-L be sure to say hello to Darla
and thank her for being such a wonderful asset to all
of your and our boatbuilding ventures.

Learn more about Darla in Gayle's blog post here.

Until next month . . .      

What Made You Do It?

by Alan Close

"Have a look and you will understand...."

My name is Alan Close and I live in Logan, (halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast) Queensland, Australia. I originally bought the Monaco plans in 1997 but only started the build in May 2008.

"What made you do it?"

I have been asked that question quite a few times, "What made you want to build a mahogany boat"? Like a lot of other builders I like old machinery, the sound/sight/smell of a steam locomotive snorting at a siding, the rhythmical beat of a radial engine at idle or the beautiful flowing curves of a 1950's Alfa Romeo. So it was only natural I wanted my own little piece of nostalgia.

Although in many ways this appreciation may have compounded my interest to build that classic speedboat, there is one thing in particular that I believe is the real reason.

In the 1950's when I was about 7 or 8 years of age I was given a kit boat. My father and I assembled and painted this battery powered boat and I have kept it to this day. Have a look at the photo of this boat and you will understand what made me do it.

Thank you Glen-L for making dreams come true.

Editor's Note: See Alan's Monaco construction photos in Customer Photos

Glen-L Boatbuilder of the Month

Chris Atwood - Zip

After building radio controlled airplanes and boats for several years I really had the itch to build something "full-scale". So with the encouragement of friends and permission from my new bride, whose only rule was I had to get her car in the garage each night, I ordered the plans in April 2009. I decided on the "Zip" because it would fit in half our 20x20 garage and it had room for 2 adults and 2 kids, so it would be useful when/if we have kids. I also wanted an outboard powered boat to keep cost and complexity to a minimum.

I was able to build the Zip with just basic tools. When I started I was 27 years old, had just moved into my own house and owned only basic hand-tools and a cordless drill. I ordered the Zip plans, bought a sabre saw, a combination bench-top belt/disc sander and a sheet of ¾ AB grade marine plywood then started tracing the patterns to the wood. In the first picture you can see I started working on the garage floor, I didn't even have sawhorses at that point. It took about 40 hours to build the entire framework and assemble that onto the building form. At this point the neighbors figured out what the contraption in my garage was supposed to be.

Later on I bought a hand planer, a power planer, a handheld belt sander, chisels, a second cordless drill, some specialty drill bits, a hole-saw set and lots and lots of clamps. But that's about all you really need, a router will also save lots of time. Point is you don't need a wood working shop or any experience outside of high school wood shop class to build a really nice Glen-L boat.


I Fell in Love

by Welton Rotz

I fell in love with the Glen-L Tubby Tug design, bought the plans and spent a year dreaming.

I studied all the archive photos; picking up an idea here, springboarding off an idea there, looking at color layouts, etc. Thanks to all of you who have helped in the creative process. Anyone who likes some of my ideas is welcome to use them. Glen-L designs are great in allowing for individual creativity.

I knew I wanted to build a fantail on the tug, so I build some small cardboard models to see how to bend the curves at the stern. Then Bill Hodgdon's photos of his fantail appeared and I knew it was possible to build a fantail.

Bill lofted the curves, which of course is the correct way to do it in boat building. But lofting is not my strong suit, so I did it another way. I built the hull including the transom. At the butt joint of the forward and aft sections of the hull, I joined the aft section of the hull to the butt block with screws so I could remove it later. I mounted a 2 ft. X 4 ft. sheet of 3/4 ply to the back side and top of the transom. I drew the curve of the fantail on this sheet, being careful to follow the lines of the hull as they came aft. I also blocked up the sheet of plywood to follow the slight rise of the horizontal line of the hull as the line moved aft. After cutting this curve, I cut out an inner curve leaving about 3 inches of material. The result is an open "U". Save the inner cut-out! The flat edge of this cut-out should be the width of the transom where it meets the hull bottom.


Designer's Notebook: Carvel Planking

Carvel planking is used in wooden hulls other than those built with veneers or panels. This method of planking has been the most common over the years primarily for round bottom hulls. Basically, carvel planking refers to a series of longitudinal planks, called strakes, which are installed (hung) on the area to be covered. Carvel planks should flow in pleasing lines, the strakes should not be too wide as seams will become unsightly and difficult to keep tight.

Carvel planking, 5/8" or more in thickness, is best made with the seams tight on the inside and open on the exterior (outgauge) to receive cotton caulking. Seams tend to shrink and swell and, for a trailerable boat, maintaining a watertight hull is difficult. Thus, carvel planking is best used for boats that will remain in the water, usually round bottom.

Caulking seams is somewhat of an art. Caulk too hard and the plank fasteners may be pulled away from the frames; if too lightly driven the caulking may be forced from the seam when the boat is in the water.

Batten seam planking is used mainly for vee bottom boats, particularly those with planking ½" or less. Each of the longitudinal plank junctions is backed with a batten notched into the athwartship frames. A polyurethane adhesive sealant is applied on the batten, the strake put in place, and fastened along edges and into the frames with screws.

Strakes for batten seam planking should be equally spaced at each frame for appearance, and are usually 6" or less width at about midpoint. This especially holds true if the hull is planked with mahogany, or similar woods, and finished natural typical of the fine runabouts, now classics, built after WWII.

Batten seam boats still have the leaking problem. Sealants have improved, but in and out of the water use, such as with a trailerable boat, inevitably results in leaks. Years ago they tried putting water in the boats to promote swelling of the seams while the boat was on land. Unfortunately, this often created a disaster. The weight of the water (64 lbs./cubic foot) often did more harm than good and induced dry rot.

Current practice is to use cold molded planking with a final layer of mahogany veneer or thin longitudinal strakes. This not only gives the appearance of the classic boat, but is stronger and leak-proof.

In Memoriam
of Mrs. ArtDeco

Her life is a beautiful memory,
Her death is a silent grief;
She sleeps in God's beautiful garden,
In sunshine of perfect peace,
She is missed oh so much,
But realize God knew best,
He let us have her many years,
Then gently bid her rest.

-- For our friend ArtDeco
on the passing of his wife

Photos posted since the last WebLetter...

Harold the boatbuilder

"Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you."

Recent email:

Subject: The Morning Sun

The morning sun twinkles through the pines and crystal clear mountain air, its rays sparkling off the mirrored image of the lake before me. All around the stillness of nature nurtures the chirping and chortling of songbirds busy going about their serene, pastoral lives in the solitude of the pristine surroundings.

I finish my herbal tea and stroll down to the water's edge, fully engaged in the rhythms of nature and the quiet energy of a new day. Looking across the expanse of the nearly transparent blue lake, my mind races to embrace it's tranquil beauty...

"GOD! I wish I had a speedboat!"

-- Dan Crummett
Stillwater, Oklahoma

Subject: Thrilled

I was thrilled to find the boat my father built back in the late 70's as the picture on your web site for the 36' Odyssea. He loved that boat more than life, which ended in October 1988. We sold the boat to a marina in Hampton Bays, New York, and from there who knows?

I can tell you that our family of 5 kids enjoyed that boat every weekend for years and we miss our father and those enjoyable days on the boat immensely.

Hope that photo and his name, Ed Daly of Manhasset, New York stays there for years to come.

Thanks for the memories.

-- Ted Daly
New York City, New York

Subject: Somewhat Anally Retentive

I ordered my first set of plans from you all October 27th, 1969. How do I know that? Well, being somewhat anally retentive, I tried to keep the plans in the best shape, including the original mailer. I built that boat, the Pee Wee, in 1971-72 school year as a junior in wood shop. I sold it after maybe a hundred hours of unforgettable fun.

I regret to say that I then built an inferior design from another company and it ended up getting a "Viking burial" over the falls in my senior year. It was crap. I then ordered on April 21st, 1972, a set of Glen-L Can-Yak plans which I have yet to build. Instead, I progressed to the PowerYak plans last year, and as you are well aware, it is about half done as I do my pictorial trek and forward the company the installments.

Because I am building in an unheated shop, I have had to put my Power Yak build on hold for a couple more months. We will see what this summer brings.

I envy you guys and your legacy. I will do my best to support and honor that heritage. I am really satisfied each time I cut-loose with the bucks for a design from you. It is the next best thing to having all my 6 kids around me and having a family party (that lasts a day; building lasts for months). I guess heaven would be having them together in a boatbuilding company. Oh, but that is what you guys are all about, huh!

If I get my way later this building summer, I will start on the metal version of the Goliath. I have a couple of cool customizing ideas that I have talked to Glen about. I think that will be a fantastic build (motors, batteries, derrick, boom, and winches - Mini work trawler here I come). But we will see...

Thanks again for a fantastic company, support, and products.

-- Dan Hennis
Cassville, Missouri

Do You Need Attention, Baby?

Which boat owner do you suppose is looking for "special" attention...

The "Love Love" was built to look as if it is sinking. Designed by French artist Julien Berthier, the 21-foot yacht was cut in half with a new keel and motor added so it remains in the sinking position while being fully functional.

Berthier describes it as "the permanent and mobile image of a wrecked ship that has become a functional and safe leisure object."

He has taken the boat across the English Channel to London and has toured it around Europe.

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