Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedback

WebLetter 33

An Occasional Publication for the Home Boat Builder

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

In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • Web site:
    • The last of the on-line Boat Design Catalog have been re-formatted. I still have some of the Customer Photos pages to do and have re-scanned some of the photos in a larger size. I can only do this with photos that are sent in through the mail since I do not have the original email submissions.
    • This WebLetter contains links to some of the newest photos sent in. There are many new and project updates in the Project Registry. Have you updated your submission? These entries give other builders a sense of how long their project might take and are eagerly watched by many of our visitors.
    • Monte Carlo is getting closer to completion, see this WebLetter for more information.
    • Shopping cart? I realize that our on-line ordering procedure is the pits. I will soon be shooting photos of the Supplies items for the first of our shopping cart sections. I don't have a due date as yet, but progress has been made. We could have had it sooner, and probably should have, but we know that people come to this site for information and we don't like to stop adding content.
    • Thanks to all of those who have contributed to this WebLetter, particularly our regulars, Mark Bronkalla and Ray Macke. I would also like to remind all of you that you have boatbuilding experiences that would help future builders if they knew about them... why not share?
  • Email: I apologize for delays in answering some of the email. We are now caught up and hope not to have such delays in the future.

Barry Witt      

Missouri River - Mouth to Hermann, MO

by Ray Macke

I had assumed that we would not be treated to another story from Ray until the Spring, so when I received Ray's message, I immediately read about the latest voyage of "Therapy" (Cabin Skiff). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

"Just want to let you know that I have added another river trip to my web page. The weather has been unseasonably warm and I just couldn't resist exploring some new water. The story is still a little rough and needs cleaning up a bit but I just haven't had time to get back to it. I hope you enjoy anyway! Ray"

Build a boat from plans

Being consistent can offer reassurance and eliminate surprises. Go to any Ramada Inn and you can be reasonably sure you will find a clean well maintained room for the night. Go to McDonald's in Florida and most likely the Big Mac will taste the same as one in California.

But consistency can have a downside - especially when it is in the form of something always seeming to go wrong at the beginning of a boating adventure. I hoped that this time I could break my pattern. But as luck would have it I found myself sitting in Therapy once again with a problem facing me right from the start. Actually "wading beside Therapy" would describe the situation better, but more on that in a moment...


Monte Carlo Update

A lot of people have been asking about Monte Carlo, our next mahogany runabout. The plan sheets, patterns, and instructions are mostly finished. Darla has proofed the instructions, but is taking a second run-through. Gayle gets them next, then Allyn and I will check them against the plans and patterns sheets. How long will this take? Well, Allyn has Frame Kits to be made, and I am making upgrades to the site, but we hope by mid-February... but no promises. We'll get them as fast as we can.

Glen has already written a description and copy for the catalog, and there are additional drawings in the New section. To visit these pages, click on the text below.

Catalog page

On the Mark: Epoxy, fillers and color matching

by Mark Bronkalla


As boatbuilders, we are used to the concepts of using epoxy as glue and for encapsulation. With a little extra thought it also can aid in improving the appearance of our work and even cover some of our mistakes.

Most boatbuilding epoxies are water clear to a slight amber tint. This provides the ability to color the material in a wide variety of colors to match the surrounding wood or provide colorful accent stripes. With proper surface preparation and mixing of fillers and tinting compounds plank seams, nail and staple holes, and frame to batten and batten to hull joints become invisible to all but the closest inspection.


Designer's Notebook: Using random-random stock

The Bill of Materials in our plans often use the terminology "random-random", meaning varying lengths and widths. Most large lumber suppliers, particularly those supplying wood commonly used in boat building don't buy material already milled such as the common 1" x 6" or 2" x 4" sold in lumberyards catering to home construction.

Their lumber comes unfinished, neither the edges or outer surfaces are milled or planed. The material comes in lifts or groups of a common thickness, neither the length or width is consistent. A lift containing four quarters material will be slightly more than 1" (hence "four quarters") in net thickness in the rough. Widths and lengths will vary; the lumber is rough cut from the sawmill to obtain the most stock from the felled tree without thought of what the finished size may be. Think about it; if a tree is sawn up to make a special sized lumber there will be a lot of material that is scrap. Guess who pays for it; you the customer. More valuable lumber could be very expensive if sawn to specific sizes with excessive waste. Using the entire tree with minimal waste holds the cost down and reflects to the consumer.

Many small yards will mill and stock lumber to standard sizes. Obviously someone must pay for the waste and the time spent in sawing to size, again that's you the consumer. Some yards finish the stock to thickness, usually 3/4" to 13/16", for four quarters stock. Lengths and widths are as they came from the mill. That's the stuff for boatbuilding you want. You can rip it to size yourself getting as much from the stock as possible. Obviously, if you have a choice, select the longest and widest stock available without paying a premium. Most suppliers do charge extra for wide widths and long lengths.

Many boat parts are irregular in shape. Arced shaped parts, such as deck beams, can often be nested one inside the other. A 5 1/2" width may provide a single beam while two may be obtained from an 8" width. A 6' long beam can be made from a single length, but perhaps two can be obtained from a 9' length. It is readily apparent the wider the width and lengths the more usable material you obtain for the buck.

Check the Bill of Materials for the boat being built. Find the widest width needed and roughly total all the strips or other pieces and change to square feet of a given thickness. Be generous; material lists seldom cover the interior structure and some waste (or don't you ever goof) is inevitable. Remember when using random- random stock it'll be cheaper than sawn to size material, so in the long run you'll be ahead costwise.

That's why we prefer to call out random-random stock, particularly for frames. In our shop the random widths are piled in roughly the same widths. Working from the templates, we select the most appropriate width and length for the parts being produced. Outfall filters down to parts for a smaller kit so the waste is minimal. The footage of lumber we use to make a frame kit will always be less than the typical home boatbuilder; we have the selection advantage and templates to work from. With care however, the builder can save on lumber by thinking and taking advantage of random-random stock.

Recent Photos

If you enjoy the Customer Photos pages, why not send in yours. Below are links to the latest photos sent in by our builders.

Lucky Pierre This is a great series of pictures showing construction from start to finish by Capt. Aaron Pufal of Toronto, ON, Canada.

Eight Ball-SG The beginning of James McLain's project.

Sea Kayak E.L. Anderson starts another project... stitched and ready for filleting.

Missile This Glen-L classic was built in the 1960's and is now owned by Harry Machado, San Luis Obispo, CA.

Pee Wee Sean Gozzi and his dad built this Pee Wee as a summer project.

Shop Talk: Sanding Epoxy

When you sand epoxy coated surfaces, you may notice your sandpaper clogging rather quickly. If this happens to you, Allyn suggests sprinkling the surface with Microspheres, this makes the job easier and saves a lot of sandpaper. Allyn thinks this might also work by using flour instead, but he hasn't tried it. We and your fellow builders welcome any feedback on your sanding tricks.

Recent email:

Subject: Wood
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 13:28:50 -0500
From: "Jason A. Shaver"


I have a constant supply of short cut-offs of mahogany, cherry, and oak. The lengths are up to 30". Widths up to 12". Thicknesses up to 2 1/2". Perfect for small boat kit parts. They are pre-boxed into packs of 15 to 17 board feet. The price is less than $3.00 per board including shipping in the U.S. Would you have any interest in this type of product. If so, I would like to place you on my monthly email list to give you an inventory update.

Let me know.


Subject: Rampage!
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002

Hi there, just surfing your site and thought I'd send you a pic of my completed project. It's been done for quite a while but I never noticed your online site had a place for boats built by customers. I can only hope this may encourage someone to undertake the project, it was a lot of fun and I get compliments everywhere.

The boat is a Rampage named "Frayed Ends of Sanity" that I started in high school and finished a number of years later, almost 9!(mostly due to university getting in the way).

It has a 460 Ford bored to 468 spinning a Berkley pump. The coaming was modified on the hull to give more leg room and is slightly more forgiving when a wave hits broadside when not on plane. A custom jet intake is getting me into the 75mph range and the motor turns less than 5000 rpm at this speed. I can't wait till we have it turning 6000!

The boat is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and doesn't very often stray very far from there, but occasionally gets trailered to the "cottage country" up north.

Thanks again, I hope you post the pic.

James Laughlin

Subject: Query
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002
From: Dr. John Hosler-Donohue

Thank you for the direction. I looked at Bingo, and it has its appeal. The TNT was a little uncontrollable, and pounded my teeth at speed. Would you keep me in mind if you hear any feedback on jet drives that would work on that boat? I think an outboard would probably be the simplest, but I seem fixated on jets. You guys do a great job, and I have never been dissatisfied with any purchase, or interaction with Glen L Marine.

Several builders have phoned asking about installing a jet from a ruined jet ski in a boat; saying that they were going to install one. If you have any experience using a jet ski motor, Doc and others would like to hear about how you did it.

Subject: Planing the Tiny Titan - Web Letter 32
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002
From: Alfred Marshall

I have hydrofoils on my Tiny Titan. She planes off quickly, at a lower speed, and flat without having to hang over the bow.

In my opinion, hydrofoils should be standard equipment on all small boats, especially in rigs run from a tiller where the pilot would have to leave the throttle to move weight forward in order to plane off.

An added benefit is that the hull also comes off of a full plane with a smooth, flat, predictable transition. Hydrofoils also offer a last defense against blowovers.

My boat is set up so that the hydrofoil is above the surface by about an inch at top end so it does not create any drag. She runs 32mph with a 165 lb. pilot and stock 15hp motor and prop.

A one piece hydrofoil is easy to make out of one-eighth aluminum or buy a commercial set like Dolphins.

Alfred T Marshall

We have had some questions regarding using the term "hydrofoil" for these bolt-on additions to your outboard. As we noted in our last WebLetter, this is what J.C. Whitney calls the one they sell. For further information on this subject see our last WebLetter.

Subject: My Amp-eater
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002
From: Roger Ulsky

I thought you might be interested in my version of the Amp Eater that I built to be both electric and steam powered. You can see her at

Roger Ulsky

The following regarding power was taken from Roger's site.

Steam engine description 2" x 2" single cylinder, slide valve with 50% cutoff. Feedpump driven off the valve eccentric, slip eccentric for reverse.
Normal cruise conditions 110 psi saturated steam, 30 lb./hr, 3.75 kits, 225 RPM, Prop speed 375 RPM, Slip 14%
Boiler All copper, 75' of 3/8" tube in the evaporating coils. 30' of 5/16" economizer. Stack temp 300F, efficiency 94%, weight 60 lbs. Float valve on the hot well maintains water level.
Max conditions 200 psi, 4.25 kts
Cruise fuel conditions Propane, 2 lbs/hr
Aux feed pump Pressure washer 12V pump, automatically set to maintain 250 psi, mounted with the makeup water tank in the bow.
Electric motor 1/3 HP, 10 mile range at 3.3 kts, Full range controller
Battery 105 Amp hour deep cycle

Subject: Delta Queen
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001
From: Rick Wagner

The Delta Queen / Rick Wagner and 2 teenage sons / Foresthill, California USA.

I bought the Study Plans several months back for three different house boats. After careful consideration we recently bought the plan and pattern set for the Delta Queen. I have just spent the last few available weekends cleaning up my little shop so that I can begin this project. We also just bought the Glen-L fastener kit and today we went to the lumber yard and bought the first batch of lumber.

I have a digital camera so I will be taking photos of various steps and documenting much of the process as I get going. I happen to be by profession an Internet Service Provider so I will be posting photos on a website.

I am home schooling my 12 and 13 year old boys and we are going to make this a life skills lesson plan. I was wondering if any of Glen-L customers have any experience in making the building of their boat into a lesson plan for their kids?

Thanks Rick Wagner

Subject: The "Daisy D."
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001
From: Robert Dyson

In 1959 my Dad built a Swish in our garage from your plans. This was his pride and joy for many years. The Daisy D. had beautiful mahogany decks,color matching custom upholstery adorned in green and white, and a homemade trailer built from steel pipe that he got from work. It was painted white with green on the sides similar to the photos on your website with all the inside of her painted with green and white Zolotone paint. Originally it was powered by a 50 hp Evinrude and later replaced by a 75. This boat gave our family over 30yrs of fun and we all have many fond memories of it. It drew a crowd wherever we were due to my dad's impeccable workmanship and the classic lines of the boat. I am trying to dig up some old photos of the Daisy D. but I'm sure none will do her justice. My dad will be 81 in Feb. and I plan on giving him the info from the website re: the Swish . About 12 years ago my dad sold the Daisy D. The first guy that saw it snagged it... You would have thought he won the lottery, now I know why.
Bob Dyson

Subject: Re: The "Daisy D."
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2002 16:42:27 -0800 (PST)


I am mailing you two photos that I dug up from old albums. For Christmas I gave my Dad an album chronicling the Daisy D. I printed photos from your web site and personalized each photo with memories I had myself and things my Dad had told me while he built the Daisy D. My Dad's eyes welled up along with the rest of the family when he opened that present. Thank you for helping me make that gift possible...

Thanks for the memories, I am sending two photos via US Mail. Am looking forward the seeing them on the site.

Bob Dyson

Bob's photos haven't arrived, but click here for photos from our archives.

Subject: Seasons Greetings From England
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001
From: Bob Warner

Dear all at Glen -L,

With this E.Mail comes a thank you, for your support, and undivided attention, through my building of Jack Tar,(Mummysue), The launch is planned for late spring of 2002, our Queens Golden Jubilee year.

This brings me into my seventh year of construction, plus almost eleven thousand hours of joy, and enjoyment, she is a fine boat. the envy of all who visit the boatyard, and look up with astonishment, When I say boatyard, the construction site is in the grounds, offered to me by our local pub, so maybe I should deduct a little time for refreshment.

I will be in contact in the new year, Photographs etc., please keep sending your updates, and what ever news of your family, new babies etc.

(Boats to one side for a moment), There is a sense of comfort, that America, and England are close friends, a bond of friendship, and support for one another, other countries envy.

This has been a sad year for everyone who are good people.

May I wish you all, A Merry Christmas, A Healthy and Prosperous New Year, and maybe we can look forward to something nice and pleasant to happen.

My Kindest Regards

God Bless

From, Bob Warner
Hertfordshire, England

Subject: Glen-L Missile?
Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2001
From: Machado, Harry

I recently acquired the boat in the attached pictures. Based on the plans on your website and measuring the overall length, it appears to be a Missile? The owner reported that he is the second owner, he found the boat in Vermont (built in Maine in 1960). The engine is a Lincoln 430, prop is 13x15 RH and seems to be a good fit as the engine is turning about 4600 rpm when the boat runs flat out. No GPS to confirm top speed, but the acceleration is brisk and the ride very smooth on light chop with no propoising. Turning is very controlled. This classic boat gets lots of attention on the trailer or in the water. I acquired the boat through a trade for an antique car that I was not using, I am planning to use the Glen-L when the weather returns to sunny days on the Central Coast of California.

Harry Machado
San Luis Obispo, CA

This is indeed the Missile, Glen recognized it immediately. For additional photos of this Glen-L classic, see Customer Photos - Archives.

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Monday, December 3, 2001

name: Gary Wren

Comments: I just ordered a new set of plans for the Squirt. I ordered a frame kit from you back around 1968. I was 12 at the time and my dad was going to help me build it. We set it up and had the frame almost ready to plank and he made me take it apart because he needed the garage. He told me that we would finish it later. Well it is later and I have an 11 year old son and we are going to finish what my dad and I started. I hope this is the first of many boats that we build together. Thanks for being there for father and son projects!

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