Category Archives: Boat Construction

Groot swing of epoxy and fiberglass

Readers’ Projects, Issue 41

Super Fan Builds created this Groot swing set for one of their nominated Super Fans. The structure was made from a steel frame encased in foam and covered with fiberglass and WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. See the full video on Youtube.

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The Great Lakes Boat Building School Graduates the Class of 2014

By Bruce Niederer — GBI Technical Advisor

I traveled to the U.P. (that’s what we Michiganders call the Upper Peninsula) on June 7th to attend the graduation ceremony and participate in the yearly on site PAC (Project Advisory Committee) meeting which I currently sit on. I arrived on a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the mid 70s, a stark contrast from my last trip to the school in mid-April when I awoke to 4” of new snow and 3°F! For those of you who live in the southwest where the temperature has been hot for some time, by contrast, the great lakes finally became 100% ice free the beginning of June. Continue reading

A Rendezvous with History: Les Staudacher & Tempo Alcoa

By Bruce Niederer — GBI Technical Advisor

In my article Profile of an American Craftsman the photos of the Les Staudacher jet-powered boat provide a photographic history of the first and last run of the Tempo Alcoa. What follows are the details of that historic event.

In 1957 Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians were in high demand. The band leader and his music were well known throughout the U.S. and Canada. Lombardo was also a successful and well-known driver of Gold Cup hydroplane speedboats. Prior to WWII, Lombardo had a distinguished 225 cubic inch class career and moved up to the Gold Cup circuit after the war when he bought the proven Champion My Sin from Zalmon Simmons in 1948. Continue reading

Skiff Details

By Captain James R. Watson

A skiff is a shallow, open boat with a sharp bow and square stern. After building some skiffs of various designs and having the opportunity to observe them over time, I have found details that have worked nicely that might be a value to others. Continue reading

Dala horse

Readers’ Projects, Issue 40

I made this Dala horse in the style of the iconic Swedish horse as a Christmas gift for our first grandchild. I shaped the body out of a 3 pounds blue dock foam. I then covered the model with 3 1/2 oz crow-foot fiberglass cloth cut on the bias. I used WEST SYSTEM Epoxy and fairing fillers.

The body of the horse was primed and painted with acrylic water-based paint. The rockers are varnished fir. The horse is very lightweight and strong. When she isn’t riding it, our granddaughter enjoys pushing her horse around the house.

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stand up paddleboard

Readers’ Projects, Issue 38

This stand-up paddleboard, commonly called a SUP, was lovingly handcrafted by Joe Pakkala. His attention to detail is impressive in the herringbone inlays and the non-skid foot pads incorporated into the epoxy’s finish. As opposed to traditional adhesive non-skid pads, incorporating the nonskid into the epoxy allows you to have a safe place to stand without covering the beauty of a natural wood finish.


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Strings Centerboard Adjustment

By Greg Bull — GBI Technical Advisor

Strings, as unique as the man who designed it, continues to be a work in progress for us at GBI. In Jan Gougeon’s first year of sailing Strings, he noticed the boat felt sticky at times. He thought it might be the centerboards jibing too much and the solution might be locking them straight. The center boards work as jibing boards by having two high spots on each side of a centerboard head creating the pivot point to get the boards to change angle, or jibe. The actual pressure from the boat going through the water and wanting to slide sideways gets the boards to jibe. Continue reading

Bottom Fairing Adagio

By Greg Bull — GBI Technical Advisor

Most seasoned sailors would agree that a clean bottom leads to faster sailing. Sometimes it may be necessary to do more than scrub away the algae and zebra mussels, though. In the case of Adagio, 44 years of sailing was starting to ripple the bottom of the boat. Simply put, it was time to fair the bottom. While fairing the bottom of your boat may seem beyond your reach, it is a project that novices and experienced boaters alike can accomplish with a few simple tools and a love of a little manual labor. Continue reading