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My Grandfather, John Hargenrader, built a Glen-L Nomad in 1973. A few years ago he passed the boat (named “Betty Boop”) on to his son (my uncle) Luke Hargenrader. Luke used the boat with his family for several years and the boat has even made it to the Gathering. Shortly after G5 he decided that it was time to provide a refresh to the boat as she was fast approaching her 40th birthday. What looked like some re-varnishing and some cosmetic updating quickly turned south. When he began taking up the floor and stripping away the old varnish he found that the job was going to be much bigger than originally anticipated.

Most of the floor-frames had some cracks, the plywood had began to separate from the frames and battens on the bottom. Although the boat had been well maintained, 40 years of crashing around on the Great Lakes had taken its toll. The marine-grade douglas-fir plywood and white-oak frames had resisted rot and mold perfectly, it was a matter of stress-cracks and old glue growing brittle. As the complex issues that come along with a 40 year old wooden boat restoration added up, Luke and I were beginning to think it may just be easier to build an entirely new boat, rather then rebuild this one. But it just wouldn’t be the same.

So recently, Luke has began the huge task of replacing battens, repairing plywood and building new frames. AND THAT’S JUST GETTING THE HULL BACK IN STRUCTURAL ORDER. This project is truly one that few could truly understand. Luke and I are two of the few….and to be clear…Luke is doing all of the work!  I will hopefully be able to take a few 9-hour trips south to contribute however I can.  40 Years just isn’t enough for a good boat. “Betty Boop” is going to make it to 80! These are exciting times my boat-building friends!

 

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