Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedbackWebLetter 75 logo

A place to share YOUR boat building story - 9152 Rosecrans Avenue - Bellflower, CA 90706

Graphic border

In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • Web site:
    • I don't know if anyone remembers, but I am in the process of re-doing drawings and photos in the online Boat Plans Catalog. The Sailboats section has been completed and I'm moving on to canoes and kayaks.
    • I haven't mentioned the Glass Bottom boat because there has been a lot of stopping and starting on this project. This 9 1/2' stitch and glue design will let you see what is under the boat and should be a real hit with the kids. The test model is still under construction and instructions, plans and patterns still need to be proofed. Will give an update in the next WebLetter.
    • Fun with the Internet. Darla got a call from our phone company. Our DSL line was the first in our area... we can be upgraded... well, for five days we have to use a dial-up. Only one person can be online at a time. This was something the "contractor" neglected to tell us. This means that photos are not being promptly posted and email have been been slowly answered, which has been very frustrating. As of 23 February the DSL line is back up.
    • Thanks to all those who contributed to this WebLetter.


Featured Design: Fancy Free

Fancy Free sailboat

Shoal draft, relatively simple to build, steady, good sailing qualities. Howard Chapelle describes them in his book "American Small Sailing Craft" in the "Scow and Bateau" chapter. He suggests that the name sharpie may have been used to dintinguish between sharp-bowed flat-bottom skiff and the scow. So "sharpie" meant "sharp-bowed". The sharpie-type hulls are commonly referred to as "dory" hulls, which are also covered in the "Scow and Bateau" chapter.

Boats like the Fancy Free were developed for shallow water and were used commercially for oyster, crab and other fisheries in the shallow bays and estuaries of the American northeast. Today these boats are most often built because they have a certain historical appearance that draws sailors who want something unique. The Fancy Free and its big sister, the Chessie Flyer, are often built because they look cool.

The Fancy Free is another design that would be a good candidate for electric power or for a small inboard. Simply eliminate the centerboard, mast and sail accessories. There are no details for this type of installation, but with a little ingenuity, you could easily adapt to these applications.

To iterate: shallow water, simple-to-build, steady platform, classy appearance... if that is what you are looking for, maybe the Fancy Free is the right boat for you.

Fancy Free Design Page
Customer Photos
Construction Pictorial

Repainting Therapy
January 2006

by Ray Macke

After five years and over 20,000 miles, Therapy’s paint was starting to look a little worn. This was NOT a problem with the paint itself but rather a combination of dock rash, miscalculations and a few just dumb errors. The EasyPoxy still maintained much of its extremely high gloss that requires next to no maintenance. I have been very pleased with the paint and under normal use I feel it would have lasted for years more but note Therapy is kept on the dry and under roof when not in use. I am sure this is a big help.

River miles traveled since
7/22/00 launch:
20,828 miles & 1168 hrs
as of 11/20/05


Ray's article: Painting With Easypoxy

Chapter II: Completing the Alex B!!

by Marc E. Bourassa

Continued from WebLetter 71, Kidyak Feedback.

Well, it's the end of January, and we're finally finished with one kayak, the Alex B. We decided to forge ahead and complete one of the boats, the theory being that we would learn more from our mistakes and apply our learning to the next boat. So let's pick up where we left off, about 50% done with about 90% left to go!!


Winter Boat Building

When rain is on the window
     And cold wind is at the door
When snow is on the ground
     The cost of heat you can’t ignore

To build a boat requires shelter
     A place that’s snug and warm
To protect the builder and the wood
     And allow epoxy bonds to form

Heated garage or a boat shed
     That’s what is really best
But the price of natural gas
     Has got me clutching my chest

As I stare at unused piles of wood
     The epoxy and the ply
I know that winter boat building
     Is fun I must pass by

I long to form those lovely lines
     By putting that wood together
But reality has now set in
     I must wait for better weather

To those who live in gentler climes
     Where mild temps are the norm
Or those for whom the cost is nil
     No matter if it storms

I envy you who build year round
     Your praises I will sing
Please send pictures of your work
     Me, I’ll have to wait for spring


Cruisette: Builders' Diary

by Ron & Devy Porter

Welcome to our builders' diary

Devy and I are building a Cruisette. The basics are pretty straightforward: it's a 15-foot outboard-powered wooden boat. The plans are developed for plywood over conventional framing, making for a light, strong boat that should be relatively easy to build. The plans call for a 'cuddy' cabin (basically a place to sit or sleep and not much else), and that is one of the attractions. I'll use this instead of a tent when I go on the occasional fishing trip with 'the guys' and it will serve as emergency shelter if it should happen that we get caught by a storm away from our cabin at Prairie Lake Regional. However, the main reason that I selected a cabin cruiser is to make it possible for Devy to come boating more often. Her rosacea makes her very sensitive to heat, sun, and wind, so making a sheltered place to ride was a critical consideration.

I also feel that having a cabin dramatically improves safety in the unlikely event that we're on open water when a freak storm hits. Lake Diefenbaker has been known to toss up some pretty big waves with very little warning, but most people seem to think that 2 feet (crest to trough) is a big wave. I've taken my Merry Wherry out several times in those conditions, and in 2 years I've only once felt that the water was too rough to handle safely in that boat. A 'real' boat should be just fine, especially given that the front half will be fully enclosed. In the worst case, we should be able to race to safe harbour in relative saftey and stay overnight in relative comfort (Lake Diefenbaker has lots of safe harbours and is seldom more than 2 or 3 miles across).


Photos sent in since the last WebLetter...

Tornado Zip Cracker Box Sea Kayak Glen-L 6.9 Malahini Flying Saucer Renegade Console Skiff

Inboard Hardware: Exhaust Systems

Taken from Chapter 15 of "Inboard Motor Installation".

Dry Systems

In most dry exhaust systems or "dry stacks", the exhaust exits the boat via a vertical stack with the outlet well above the level of the highest portion of the boat, be it the deck, cockpit, or cabin. Depending on the type of engine, engine exhaust temperatures may exceed 1000 degrees. Hence, any portion of a dry exhaust system presents a hazardous situation unless properly installed. As a general rule any portion of the dry exhaust system must be insulated and located well away from any combustible material (9" to 10" should be considered a minimum distance). All surfaces of the dry exhaust system should be insulated or protected with guards so that surface or adjacent temperatures do not exceed 160 degrees Farenheit.


Saucy Shingle... a memory

by Dave Hinkley

It was 1965...

I got home from school one night and in the mail was my Dad's Popular Mechanics. Blazoned on the front cover was the bright red Saucy Shingle. I didn't let Dad get in the house before I was all over him. I was shocked when he said yes, we could build it. We didn't have a lot of money and it was a big gift for my parents to be willing to put me in the saddle. It was my pride and joy. Then came college and necessity. I sold it to a friend who I thought would keep it so I could get back in the saddle now and then only to discover he sold it for a down-payment on a motorcycle. I never saw the boat again... nor him either! But I still have the Popular Mechanics we built it from sandwiched in the cedar chest between my diplomas and yearbooks.

Attached is my only picture. It's a scan of a worn out Polaroid my Uncle took for me. You can see we went for turquoise with white rally stripes. I repainted the old used Merc 10hp that was of the old raw aluminum and green vintage; gold and black. It really did turn heads. Half the fun was pulling into a gas station or the root beer stand in Sedalia Missouri (half way from Kansas City to the Ozarks) just to watch people stare at it piggy backed on top of Dad's runabout resting on the trailer behind the old pickup. It was like Jed Clampet's old Model A truck towing Little Miss Bardahl. I think today it would be called a genuine chick magnet.

I am now 54 years old and that little boat is a very fond memory. I was delighted to find it on your website as the Tiny Titan. Your customer's pictures both completed and during assembly brought a lot of fond memories of my Dad and I and late nights in the garage putting her together. When I was 16 most guys were mooning over the car or the girl they wanted. I was mooning over a black 20 hp Mercury I couldn't afford. At 15, I actually wanted to pilot unlimiteds as a career.

I'd give anything just to touch it just one more time...

The Tiny Titan was featured in Popular Mechanics as the Saucy Shingle. Evidently, someone at the magazine thought it was a better name than the one we gave it. The year of that article, we sold thousands of sets of Tiny Titan plans and patterns. If anyone else has memories of the Tiny Titan and would like to share them, we would be happy to post them in the WebLetter.
A trivia note: that's Ken Hankinson in the Tiny Titan on the cover. ...brw

Harold the boatbuilder

You know, I coulda been in congress... everyone around here would have voted for me.

I could have been in congress,
     Could have walked the hallowed halls.
Have Delayed in darkened corners,
     Where the Abramoffis crawls.

Recent email:

Subject: RE: January Newsletter entry "Disappointment"
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006

This letter was so ridiculous, I can't believe Glen-L gave the writer the satisfaction of printing it in their newsletter. Anyone that spends even one hour researching what it takes to build a boat like these knows that the same plan can be built to a large range of material, powerplant, finish, and equipment specifications. No rational estimate of costs could responsibly encompass such possibilities. In my opinion Glen-L does a thorough job of showing you what the bare, basic boat costs should be and goes a step further by providing excellent resources to research and purchase the rest of the materials and equipment necessary for a specific project. Glen-L, pay no attention to the grumbler behind the green curtain. Next will come the complaint that the finished boat doesn't come in the crate... you actually have to build it!

Brett Bitner
Future Cracker Box Owner

Subject: Squirt Project
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006

Here are some pictures from the 2006 Toronto International Boat Show. My business is such that the winters are generally slow. I needed something to help fill the gaps, so I decided to build a boat. After reviewing your selection of plans, and having never tackled a project like this, I settled on the Squirt. I managed to become quite involved with CPS (Canadian Power and Sail) during the early stages of the build, and decided to use the Squirt to help promote the CPS safe boating message. The project was so successful that we attracted major sponsors in the boating safety and accessories industry who made donations to this worthwhile cause. It has been a very big hit, especially with the kids, everywhere it has traveled throughout Ontario. In February 2006, it is being christened the “Howard Peck” in memory of our Chief Commander who passed away last summer. I encourage other CPS and USPS districts to take on a boat building project on their own. This would be a wonderful squadron project for its members. I found it to be a very useful and rewarding learning experience, and an excellent tool for the safe boating message.

PS…I now have to pick out a sailboat plan to keep the other half of organization happy!

Rand McKone Stratford, ON Canada
Commander, Stratford Power and Sail Squadron

Subject: Hey, I love you guys, but...
Date: Thu, 02 Feb 2006

I love you guys, I do, but... suddenly I have a concern that I do not believe you are aware of. My son... the computer expert, and my personal computer guru... recently came to my place to help me out with my e-mail "spam" problem... Though I have double versions of virus protection and pop-up blockers, as well as spam blockers, and my service provider, and my e-mail provider (each) have their own set of blockers... I still have not been able to get rid of certain sourced "spam". It gets by all my blockers as well as my service provider...

Wouldn't you know... my son (within seconds) quickly traced it all to you guys... he looked at my "blocking" software and settings... then went to the "spam"... then went to Google... and as he typed in my e-mail id 'johncwright' he said "here is the source of your problem" and poof! Google displays 25 - 30 transactions where my e-mail address is prominently displayed on your website. Now, in all fairness... he said I could really blame Google... but that is their buisness... to rip out information from all sources on the internet... but... he added, Glen-L should have the kind of protection that will not allow Google (and mainly spammers and scammers) to access and obtain customers/clients e-mail addresses. His example was... I bank on line, I pay my bills on line, my e-mail address is at several banks, stockbrokers, insurance companies, retail outlets, even on E-bay, etc... but Google was only able to rip it off of Glen-L's site and server... the other places have the kind of protection that doesn't allow certain information to get ripped off (such as e-mail addresses) ... So... I thought I would just let you know... you probably want to check it out yourself, and do something about it... though I know you're in the boat-building business and not the computer business... my... how times change - change us - and change the business were in... Can't wait to finish my Glen-L boat so I can go to sea and leave all this behind...

I did the same search. There are two sites listed: Glen-L and Of these, two entries are email addresses. One for each site. On Glen-L, it is the Project Registry. I have taken care of the Project Registy... probably a good idea, but does have its downside. I have entered the following on each Project Registry page: <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" /> This means that next time a browser sees these pages, they will not be indexed. The downside is that after the pages are reindexed, it will no longer be possible to search for a name to find out what a person is building. May not mean much to others, but we frequently have requests to have email addresses changed or questions about a boating project, without the name of the boat. By being able to search, we can change addresses or determine projects.

Re. other entries in the search. "johncwright" is your name on the Boatbuilder Connection, but since it does not include the @xxx, it cannot be used to SPAM you. In general SPAMmers do not use Google for addresses; they have their own crawlers for that or they get the addresses from a service that has one. I do not know for sure that SPAMmers' browsers respect the "noindex,nofollow" command. An alternative to listing email addresses in the Project Registry would be to list them as "". The problem is, it would not be clickable to send an email, with the possibility that you would get it wrong and not get a response. We try to make communication as easy as possible.

"I bank on line, ... the other places have the kind of protection that doesn't allow certain information to get ripped off"
The analogy for this would be if browsers were able to go into the Glen-L shopping cart and get information... they aren't. The Project Registry is a public space, unlike your bank records.

Any place on the Internet that your email address appears (including your own personal website, if you have one) is a source for email addresses for SPAMmers. This includes websites where you place classifieds and give an email address. There are also sites that offer something (funny animations, screen savers...) who ask for email addresses for the sole purpose of selling the addresses. Ultimately, SPAM will continue to be a problem as long as people continue to buy from SPAMmers. The only thing that will stop them is no response to their ads.

What are YOUR thoughts on this? This is only the second time that I can remember this issue being brought up. Should we change the way email addresses are displayed in the Project Registry? Send your thoughts to

Subject: wooden boats and hot/dry climates
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006

I am considering a move to southern Nevada (Lake Mead) and have noticed few to no wooden boats. Was told by a local marina the climate is too hot and dry for wood boats. Is this the case or is there a way to protect the finished boat to compensate for the climate ?

scott chivinski

It is not always easy to tell a wooden boat from a fiberglass boat from a distance. But you are probably right about most being fiberglass. This has to do with the fact that almost all production boats are fiberglass, rather than the suitability of one material over another.

The facia on the south side of your house will deteriorate if not kept painted. Extreme changes in temperature will also help to cause more damage due to expansion and contraction. Same with your boat. Ultraviolet light is a major destroyer of finishes, so if not kept under cover when not in use, it will have to be painted more often. If using a cover, it should be well ventilated. I would recommend fiberglassing the outside of the hull, plus decking as horizontal surfaces get the most exposure. After that, keep the finish in good shape.

A note. Look at some of the older fiberglass boats. Gel-coat will deteriorate to the point that you can scratch your name in the surface with your fingernail. This type of deterioration can be avoided if the gel-coat is painted.

I would welcome any comments on this subject from desert dwellers. ...brw

Subject: RE: Cracker Box
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006

I am doing a video about Muskoka Wooden Boats and I was wondering if you had any contact info on any one buying plans for the TNT or small hydro's from you with Ontario addresses so I could contact them about participating in the video? It would be great to include these people.

Thanks again for all you help with the Cracker Box.

Your group does an excellent job and I hope you will share my compliments with your staff.


To contact Neil, see the Project Registry, under Cracker Box, for his email address.

Subject: RE: Malahini
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006

Some comments:
  1. I went out on a limb and bought Joubert Aquatec marine plywood (at wholesale). It looks beautiful, is fairly reasonable, and the specs seem good. I hope it works as good as it looks.
  2. I cut out small holes on each side of the breasthook, about two inches from the outside edge, large enough to get a clamp into, and it greatly eased cranking the shear clamp onto place and securing it. Damn hard for one person to hold it and drive screws at the same time. The clamps might also help to hold the ply during installation. If the chine plate had "wings" coming back for six inches or so along the chine log, it too could be used similarly.
  3. Mr. Witt's book on plywood boat construction is so helpful I should think it would help most builders (it has helped me a lot). You could charge extra and include it with the plans. Repeat customers get a bonus copy.
  4. Being an engineer for 50 years and a boat enthusiast for 65 years, it is satisfying and encouraging to see a company do such a good job as you people do.

I'm already looking forward to building a Glen L 17 sailer next. Nice going!

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006

The following information was submitted on the Glen-L Boat Plans, Kits & Supplies web site:

Your Name:
- Richard Johnson

- I have been a boater all my life. I have restored glass boats but now I would like to, along with my 11 year old son, build a hydro and then the sky is the limit. I wanted to do this my whole life and now is the time. Thank you, I really like your wensite and am looking forward to buying a kit and getting started.

Subject: Jan '06 newsletter- re: disappointment
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006

Barry/Gayle, I'm still compiling a CD of pic's on the first 2 boats made from your plans (Whitehall, and the Stripper 17). Have also completed the frames for a Monte Carlo (extended the allowed 10%). Maybe it's just me, but the boatbuilding is much easier than the computer!

Re: jan. '06 newsletter-"Disappointment": I have been a professional woodworker for 37 years (54 years old now), and have always been appalled at the extreme markups on wood by lumberyards and home improvement stores. Their typical pricing is based on their cost from a wood/lumber dealer who may or may not be the same place that cuts and dries the wood. That initial cost is normally DOUBLED to arrive at the high costs paid at a lumberyard or home center.
Example-Around here a 12" piece of 1 x 6 red oak retails for $2.19. At the lumber dealer that I use exclusively, a BOARD foot of 4/4 red oak is $2.37! TWICE the wood for 18 cents more! My supplier is L.L. Johnson Lumber in Charlotte, MI. They have a website. The best way to find a GOOD source of boatbuilding woods is to check the yellow pages. Look for a dealer that is listed in both wholesale and retail sections, you can probably work with them. The dealers that are strictly retail, treat all woods as simply another product and apply huge markups to them! On the Whitehall and the Stripper 17, I used Dark Red Philippine mahogany. It was LESS expensive than ANY other wood, including the cedars. In my case, or I should say, in dealing with L.L. Johnson, their already good pricing continues to get better the more you purchase in a given year. From the worst price, which is still very reasonable, 0-100 bd. ft. to the next level, 100-500 bd. ft. may save you 50-60 cents per foot! I'm currently at the 500-1000 foot price and save about 90 cents a board foot over their "worst price". For those of you that MEASURE ONCE and CUT TWICE, the price level for amounts over 1000 bd. ft. is REALLY affordable. Just for the record, I recently picked up 400 bd. ft. or ribbon grain African mahogany from L.L. Johnson. The cost--$3.95 per foot for select and better 4/4, all 12' long. This is for the hull and some interior parts of the Monte Carlo, I will re-saw for planking stock, and simply plane down a little for dimension stock. Note, this is the EVERYDAY cost, not a special.

Dave Gillette
Hopkins, MI

Another good place to look for suppliers is the List of Lumber Suppliers on our site. Johnson's Workbenvh is on the list. Anyone else who has suppliers they would like to recommend, I hope you'll share them. Send Name, Location, and Telephone Number, and whether they sell marine plywood, lumber or veneer (1/8" thick or more for cold-molding) and we'll add them to our list.

Subject: a sincere thank you
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2006

Dear Glen-L,

Two months ago, my brother and I started on our first boatbuilding project with no prior experience. Building the Zip, reading your books, searching your webpage, watching your videos, has been an incredible journey. We are nearly done with our Zip (all except shopping for just the right vintage outboard), and rank this experience as one of our greatest accomplishments. Your team and resources have been fantastic and we wanted to thank you. You and your business are amazing--you are dream-builders. We are currrently creating a webpage documenting our work and including loads of photos of the whole process, to help future Zip builders. We will email again with the web address once the page is completely finished.


Subject: Winter in Russia
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006

St. Pete and Moscow are experiencing record cold temperatures of -31C. Attached is a picture of one of the ocean vessels in St. Petersburg. I imagine vodka consumption must be up.

Bob's fish

Build more boats
GLEN-L boats, of course

WebLetter Index
Glen-L Home Page