Category Archives: Boat Construction

rolling the limosine

Van Dam Custom Boats – Part One

The boat this article calls the “Van Dam Limousine” was christened LUV N IT after completion. —Ed.

By Bruce Niederer — GBI Technical Advisor

I begin a two-part series that will feature a custom boat project being built by Van Dam Custom Boats in Boyne City, Michigan. We featured a Van Dam-built boat in Epoxyworks 14, the beautiful and unique Alpha Z. We want to give our readers a glimpse into what is currently happening at this world-class boat shop. Continue reading

lemniscate hull

The Lemniscate Hull

A Chineless Gull Wing Hull Runabout

By Bill Beran

I built the Lemniscate, a 16′ runabout with a chineless gull wing hull, in my garage over the course of a few years. It was the culmination of an idea I long had for a design that would provide a soft ride with its deep-vee hull, but at the same time exhibit excellent fuel economy. The chineless gull wing hull shape captures and efficiently redirects otherwise wasted bow wave energy downward to create lift. It also safely captures ram air under the “wings” (noticeable starting about 40 mph) and attains a comfortable top speed close to 50 mph with the 115hp outboard motor. Continue reading

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 Great Lakes Boat Building School class of 2014 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 at the beginning of June. Continue reading

Les Staudacher, Guy Lombardo & Tempo ALCOA

A Rendezvous with History

By Bruce Niederer — GBI Technical Advisor

In my article Profile of an American Craftsman the photos of the Les Staudacher jet-powered boat at Marine Services Unlimited 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 of 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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Jan C. Gougeon's final project, STRINGS.

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 an adjustment to lock them straight. The centerboards 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 centerboards to jibe. Continue reading

Strip Plank Canoe -SBCSA

Winter Boat Building in Bay City

By Bill Bauer

Twenty years ago, some local sailors established the Saginaw Bay Community Sailing Association to provide affordable sailing lessons in the Saginaw Bay Michigan area. Starting out with a few donated Optimist prams, the program quickly grew and additional boats were needed. Gougeon Brothers Inc. provided the SBCSA with floor space in the loft of the GBI Boat Shop and the SBCSA winter boat-building sessions began building 5 more prams for the school.  Continue reading