Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedback

WebLetter 39

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:
    • Project Registry... keep your email addresses up-to-date. I realize that the Project Registry is probably not your first thought when you change email providers, but most of you seem to enjoy talking about your project with other builders and you lose that when you don't keep your registry current. If you try to contact any of the builders and have the email returned, let us know and we will change the entry to "email no longer active". Those of you who have completed your project needn't stop making entries... how does it perform? trips you have made... still going strong after all these years...
    • On a related subject, we have a new story from Ray Macke on his latest trip in his Cabin Skiff (Therapy) as well as ones from "jearnest4" and E.T. Andrews (email section). How about sharing your experiences using your boat with other builders and dreamers.
    • Have you visited the Navigating our site page? This page summarizes what is on our site... all 5000 plus pages.
    • If you send photos of your boat and they don't appear on the web site, let me know. What could happen? Usually I have posted the photos, then forgot to make a link to them or made the pages and forgot to move them to the site. If this happens, it will only be caught if you say something. Of course, they can also be eaten by Intenet gremlins, then you'll have to re-send.
    • How Fast? I'd like to thank Alf Marshall for sending performance info on his Tiny Titan (see email below). His entry has been added to the How Fast? page. Anyone else know how fast your boat goes? ... what motor, prop, other details?
    • We have received several email requesting email addresses for builders seen in Customer Photos. If we have an address, it is in the Project Registry. If it is a re-build, they may be listed in the Old Boat Club. We do not list email addresses on the site unless we have received a project registry. If it isn't there, we don't have it.
    • Study Plans: We have had requests to Study Plans for the Whitehall, Zip, Squirt, Sissy Do and others. Frankly, we do not know what we would put in them. It is easy to make Study Plans for cruisers or other large boats, but what could we put in Study Plans for small runabouts or rowboats that anyone would want to pay for? If you wanted Whitehall or Squirt Study Plans and I was going to charge you $10 for them, what would you want to see?

Barry Witt      

Mississippi River
Alton, IL to Clinton, IA

by Ray Macke

Our regular readers will remember previous trips by Ray Macke in his Cabin Skiff (Therapy). As always, he weaves a good yarn. His story ends with the following: "When I check the total log numbers I see that Therapy now has had 8156 miles pass under her bow and the 50 HP Honda has run for 512 hours. Not too bad for two years of knocking around on the water."

Here we go again! It is 3:30 in the morning. My deep sleep, that had been annoyed off and on by distant thunder, is suddenly terminated by the sharp explosive blast that must have originated very close by. I quickly scramble out of the berth into the pilothouse to have a look at the situation. Although there is no rain and little wind, lightning is coming down from all directions in menacing pitchfork shapes.

Appraising my situation, the anchorage that was a little questionable at dusk is now looking down right dumb. But I am getting ahead of myself. This is my third and last night on the water and the trip has been excellent until this point, so lets start at the beginning...


Feedback: Jimbo Aluminum

I built mine (Jimbo) of aluminum about two years ago. The welds are nothing to brag about, believe me, but the boat gets admiring compliments everywhere it goes. It is the design, not the workmanship, that dazzles people. I sold it for $6K and missed it so much I bought it back a month later. People want me to build them one.

My boy and I several times have gone 17 miles off Westport WA into the Pacific, fishing salmon in it. We are just back from a week of fishing the North West coast of Vancouver Island where the catch was in the hundreds of pounds and the boat performed in the ocean flawlessly under varied, sometimes severe wind conditions.

It's a dry boat. Surfing tall ocean groundswell waves at 20 knots it is bone dry. Surfing steeper tall breaking wind waves offshore, its dingy bow plate sends 500 gallons of spray forward of the boat when it hits the trough. It doesn't seem to want to nose-dive into those steep deep troughs like previous boats. Bashing into tall whitecaps in the ocean on a 12-15 knot breeze it pounds hard and we have to throttle back, but we get through at 12 knots.

With a 40 HP mariner and 22 gals fuel it will just get four large adults up on the plane. Top speed is about 25 knots with low fuel and two adults. Loaded to the gunnels with camping gear, 20 extra gals gas in cans, etc., and heavy like a barge we can do 18 knots wide open. I'm eager to correspond with anybody building it in aluminum. Some of my design modifications i.e. a full bulkhead aft of the driving station, a different center console of aluminum, parallel tubes on the sides instead of deck, and a different bow compartment, worked out well.

So the bottom line is thanks, you people, for a great design. Never been so proud as from building this. Share my note as you see fit.

Chuck Bates Ph.D.
Olympia WA


New Epoxy Sampler Kit from Glen-L

In response to builder inquiries, we are offering an Epoxy Sampler Kit to give first time users a chance to try Poxy-Shield in a variety of applications. The kit includes samples of four of our fillers and the "Epoxy System Technical Manual", plus mixing, application, and measuring tools. Cost of the kit is $35.00 and includes shipping to anywhere in the US.

Complete contents:

  • 09-508 Poxy-Shield
  • "Epoxy System Technical Manual"
  • 1 sample each of Microspheres, Fiber Filler, #1 and #2 Silca
  • 3 Mixing cups and mixing sticks
  • 3 glue brushes, 1-1" brush
  • 1 Trim roller
  • 1 pair each of disposable and Nitrile gloves

Order yours today! Remember $35 includes postage in the US.

Sampler Kit

Trip to Santa Catalina

by jearnest4

From the Project Registry: 2-12-01: I bought the frame kit for the Sea Knight and started to put the jig together on Monday, 2/5/01. I had to make corrections as I went along but everything seems to have turned out fine so far. My son, 13, and I have installed all the frames and the stem. We are waiting to receive the plywood before we fit the keel. Dixieline in Escondido, CA can get 4'x8'x 3/8" AA marine plywood for $56. 3-19-01: I have installed the side planking. The bottom of the stem was challenging. But with hot water and a little leverage (a 2x4 off the wall) we got the planking to bend around the stem. I figure we'll have to do the same for the final bottom planking. 3-15-02: I have completed the Sea Knight, but I'm still working on some small things here and there. It took 1 year and 18 days from start to getting her in the water. It was a great experience and I hope to build another boat someday. I stuck a 60 hp merc on it and so far I haven't had water smooth enough to go flat out, but 60 seems more than enough.

We decided to take my Sea Knight to Catalina. It would be about 41 miles to our primitive boat-in campsite on the leeward side of the island. At only 17 feet long, the Sea Knight was crammed full with sleeping bags, baggage, and food. Whenever my wife put something else on board, I took something off. I had hoped to travel light and fast, buying food in Avalon, but we wanted to get away from everything so we packed breakfast, lunch, and dinner and by-passed Avalon. That was the major reason for my worry... would we float? Would we have enough gas? Would we make headway? Plus, I figured we would get away at 6:00 am. Ha!

We trailered the boat from our home in Oceanside, California to Dana Point Harbor and finally got underway at 9:30. It was a gray morning and the sea was like glass. Quickly losing sight of land, we spied our first group of dolphins. My three kids were delighted as the dolphins jumped only feet from the boat. We would see dolphins two more times in the 2 and 1/2 hour crossing. Pushed by a 60 hp Mercury outboard, we averaged 16 mph. The boat took the crossing well, using 12 -13 gallons of gas.


Restoring the Sea Knight

by Thomas P. Doyle

Well, after 2 years and a little change, I was able to finish the restoration project on the 1963 Sea Knight I purchased. The boat has been completely stripped and re-done. I replaced the wiring; the fuel and steering systems, re-fiberglassed the cabin and did extensive fiberglass repairs on the hull. I had to modify the transom from 15" to 20" to handle a long shaft motor, since it was going to be impossible to find a bigger horsepower short shaft. (I settled for a 1985-115hp Johnson, Sea Horse) I also stained and refinished all the wood with four coats of spar varnish. I registered the project on your web site right after I started the restoration, but have not sent updates due to a very busy schedule. Anyway, I got it in the water in early June, and have been cruising around Puget Sound and Lake Washington sightseeing, whale watching and fishing. I was invited to enter the La Conner, WA Vintage and Classic Boat Show on August 10th and 11th, and was shocked to take home first place in the Classic Wood Trailer Boat Class. I thought you folks might like to know.

Whoever built this boat was a master craftsman. I take credit for making it pretty again, but I most definitely am standing on the shoulders of one who came before me. Please let me know what you think.


More Sea Knight

I went through our archives to see if we had something else about the Sea Knight that we could add to the articles sent in by jearnest4 and Tom Doyle. We have several photos of construction; though not complete, I thought they would be of interest to potential Sea Knight builders. The following photos do not show all stages of construction. For more details on sheet plywood construction see Building in Sheet Plywood in the Boatbuilding Methods section of our site.

Construction photos

Designer's Notebook: Conventional plywood or Stitch and Glue construction?

Plywood boats are commonly built by two methods, conventional and Stitch and Glue. Conventional plywood boatbuilding has been used since plywood became practical for boat use. It's a modification of the methods used for the old conventional planked boats that seem to last forever. Stitch and Glue, although most think it is new, has been around quite some time. Its popularity, however, really took hold when the marine epoxies were developed. Both conventional and Stitch and Glue building methods are reviewed under the listings Boatbuilding Methods on the GLEN-L website.

What's the best method? It depends on the type of boat, not all boats are practical for Stitch and Glue (S&G) construction; the method is impractical for hulls designed for cold-mold or diagonal plywood strips. Our plans utilize S&G methods for many small boats using sheet plywood. The contours of the planking are given, so you don't need to determine the shape from marking it out from a framed boat as would be required for conventional building. S&G eliminates fairing, a task that most builders find confusing, though, after a little experience it isn't really much of a problem. S&G is popular with first time builders as a boat is formed very quickly after the parts are cut out. This boosts confidence and stimulates the itch to do more. Some don't like the fact that applying the epoxies and taping seams is a smelly, messy project; and epoxies can be toxic for some. Although epoxies are currently used on S&G and conventional plywood boatbuilding glue bonding, it's not as extensive as the glue, fillets, and fiberglass reinforcements of S&G boats.

Cost to build is predominate in most builders minds. At first glance, S&G seems to be more expensive and it possibly is, by a little. Many check the GLEN-L "Stitch and Glue Kits", see the price and blanche. But such a kit provides the fastenings and bolts, the "FASTENING KIT" used on conventional construction plus any bolts required. Also included is epoxy to use as a coating, with or without additives (furnished) for gluing or forming fillets; you can even make fillers for patching screw holes or other minor imperfections. Fiberglass laminates to bond the seams and copper wire to "stitch" the seam together, even the tools for application, rollers, squeegee, and brushes are included. S&G eliminates much of the solid wood, frames and longitudinals typical of conventional methods. Even the stem, the long curved wooden section at the bow, is eliminated in most GLEN-L S&G plans. Subtract the items not needed in S&G and the costs to build come quite close. It is possible to take shortcuts on conventionally built boats that are not desirable for S&G methods. Glues can be substituted for epoxy and encapsulation can be eliminated. Cheaper fasteners used and fiberglassing eliminated or polyester resin used. On smaller "throw away" boats, this may be satisfactory but in the long run comparing the two methods on equal terms is the only fair way.

Durability? Either conventional or S&G methods have excellent life, particularly when epoxy encapsulated. Dry rot will always be a problem if rainwater collects in the bilge. Epoxy inhibits this but over a period of time under soggy conditions the wood can rot. Obviously, keep the bilge dry and most of the possible problems are eliminated.

Delta King Update

Progress on daboat has been better than progress on the website... So I figured it was time to revamp the site and add the latest pictures. There is a link below.

The latest launch date looks like October or November.

I haven't looked at these older pictures in a long while and had forgotten how much work I have done. The big jobs are finished...

Check it out.

John Higgins

The boatbuilder's epoxy
the best product for your project

Shop Talk: The wood look

We received a letter from Ken Johnson who recently completed the Cracker Box, "built as a gentleman's racer". Since we frequently have questions about giving "my boat a classic wood look", I have added links to a few other projects from our Customer Photos section that have been given a classic wood appearance. Perhaps they will give other builders an idea of the possibilities.

Malahini by Jeff Pierce - Jeff is using wood veneer over the hull plywood.

Cracker Box by Ken Johnson
Malahini by Tom Lynch - Tom is also using wood veneer over the hull plywood.
Monaco by Bill Yonescu
Overniter by Owe Pedersen
Rebel by Dominik Papas
All of the Rivieras
Ski Tow by Greg
Squirt by Ron Shady
Squirt by Dan Schmock
Squirt by Carst R. Kok
Tiny Might by Michael Sabin
Zip by Doug Hodder

For really good information on applying veneer see Mark Bronkalla's site.
Also his comments on the Boatbuilder Connection.

Recent email:

Subject: How Fast? Tiny Titan does 32 mph
Date: 9-11-02

My Tiny Titan goes 32mph using a stock 1998 15HP Evinrude and alum. three-blade 9.5X12.5 prop on a full 6 gal tank. I weigh 165LBs. The boat is heavy, with 1/4 in. decking, solid 3/4 in. fir frames, a seat and trim. The cavitation plate runs 3/4 inch above the surface, motor is on the third notch.
Many first-time drivers have run my boat successfully (on the second notch). A 20HP would be too much for beginners. Alf Marshall

Subject: glen-l website
Date: Sun, 01 Sep 2002 19:15:44 -0400

Just writing to say how impressed I am with your website. I'm new on line (but have played with computers for a long time), and yours is the first site I've visited that is easy to use and get around in.
By the way, your photo of Mr. Melvin's Cabin Skiff looked awfully familiar. That looks like Wood Duck, I thought. The next photo was a different view of the same boat - and sure enough, it's Wood Duck. He keeps the boat at the marina here, for part of the year, at least. It's been here for two or three years. Again, I was impressed by your website. I hope others check it out & learn something.

Paul Cross
Drummond Island, MI

Subject: La Chatte Built in 1976
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 14:21:20 EDT

I built this boat along with my father and brother when I was 16 in 1976. Over the course of time, we modified the rigging to accomodate a Hobie Cat mast and sails which adapted quite well and added more speed to the boat. I am delighted to find after all these years that you still use the "La Chatte" design which was an extremely fast sailboat in a good wind off the coast of Plymouth, Mass where the Mayflower once sailed.

Hope you add this to your site, thanks, Mark Crociati

Subject: Minimaxed motor? Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 14:08:57 -0400

Hi - Just posted this and wondered if you had any advice on the Minimaxed 5HP power recommendation....

Our family had an original (SeaFlea) from 1963 until about 1990 when it finally had more patches than original material. Something surprised me on the new plans though - the 5HP motor recommendation. We ran ours (albeit orginal construction - not S & G: with either a racing 7.5 or a 9.5 and it was perfectly stable. In fact, I'm sure the orginal plans allowed for up to 18HP (!! - yes, that's eighteen).


The original MiniMax would be allowed only 5hp under the current US Boating and Safety act. The act includes a formula that uses dimensions of the boat to determine hp. WE cannot recommend more, but many builders use more than the recommended power. The MiniMaxed will be at least as stable as the original.

Subject: Scrapers
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2002 17:18:17 -0700

I read your article about the use of Cabinet Scrapers for boat building. I ordered some scrapers over the Internet. (Mark Bronkalla's article in WebLetter 36)
They arrived today. The sharpening shop did not know how to put burrs on them. As I started to do it myself, I felt a burr on one of them. Of three scrapers, one was ready to use. The others were not.
I used it on the flat part of the epoxied middle seat. It was much faster than sanding, and it produced a better finish than sanding does. It took only one stroke to learn how to use it.

Thanks for the tip!

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 at 16:23:52

name: Philip Crusco

Comments: Late last year I dusted off a copy of Boat Builder from 1973. My 12 year old son became very interested in the Minimax. After a quick internet search we purchased plans and a steering kit and fiberglass kit. Well, my son Anthony and I have just finished the Minimaxed. It was a lesson in patience and overcoming obstacles but I wouldn't trade it for anything. We bonded during this construction project. For your information this is my second Minimax. My father and I constructed a Minimax from your plans and patterns in 1973. All that I need to do is locate a Keller Throttle and we are on the water.

I would recommend this project as a way to help young people work as a team and to learn how to organize and plan your time. Glad you were still there to provide the chance for another generation to build another Minimax.

Subject: Cabin Skiff
Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 16:56:39 -0700

Hi Guys,
Well, I am finished, for now, with my Cabin Skiff. It has been a great experience for both myself and my family. Now I can enjoy it. Please check it out at I would love to be in your news letter.

Have you received one of these?

Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2002 14:04:39 -0500

N E X - T E C H
Our viruschecker found the

Although we did a virus check specifically for the Klez virus and came up with nothing, I was worried that we might be still sending the virus (we have had the Klez virus in the past) or that someone else was somehow using the Glen-L site to send email with virus attached. I emailed the experts to ask about it and got the following reply:

"The way Klez works is that it randomly takes any hostname found on the infected machine. This means it could originate from a machine that has sent you an email, or even browsed your site. Looking at the error message you included, it appears to have originated from an aol user, not from your server."

You can get your computer scanned for the Klez virus for free at Note: When we last had the Klez virus, we used Norton utilities with current virus files, it did not prevent our getting it and was not able to detect it, even after downloading the latest virus files. The above site found it and deleted it.

Subject: Ocala Tubby Tug Photos Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 20:27:40 EDT

24 August 2002. Attached are photos of the Tubby Tug, "Puddle Jumper" on the Silver River. I weigh 180 lbs and I could not flip this boat with my weight from any angle. Great design!


Subject: Tiny Titan photos
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 10:44:00 -0400


This Tiny Titan hydro was built in 1966 ( I was 13 at the time). Here are some photos that you may be interested in - still looks good today!

Jim Lajewski


Subject: Re: Order
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 10:38:50 -0500

Thanks Gayle. Should get it any day. I appreciate you getting that information for me. I do wish you folks had more material we could use on the boat*. Your service is exceptional and your prices are reasonable and you, by the way, are one of the most responsive and pleasant people I've dealt with in a long time. You are what makes Glen-L Marine Designs successful and it's a pleasure doing business with you.

David Lefebvre

*Ok, what other products would you like us to offer? - Gayle

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