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Building the Glen-L Tuffy Part 1

On October 2, 2019, in Outboard Powered, Plywood Construction, by Paul Vankeppel
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I am creating this blog post as a sort of record of the build process of my Glen-L Tuffy, named Pluto. I’ll go through some of the major details and show some pictures as well.

I bought the Tuffy plans in July 2015, at the end of my freshman year of college. I had wanted to build a boat for many years, and this was the point when I finally thought I had the know-how and money to do it. Although the Tuffy is quite a small boat at around 13 feet long, it was the perfect design for my limited amount of garage space and experience. The build took a very long time because I was working on it while also working on a degree in Aerospace Engineering in California. I could not make regular progress so I was limited to putting in hours whenever I was back home in Washington for breaks. Pluto first hit the water in September of 2017, but wasn’t really finished until around March of 2019. And there are some last things I am still working on.

Framing and Planking

Stem and frames 1-3 mounted on the building jig.

It was during the early stages of the build that I learned to use many of the tools that I was not yet familiar with. The structure of the boat is made of African Mahogany and White Oak with Okoume plywood planking. Although none of this early work was especially difficult, I found it time consuming because I had never done woodworking on this level before. There were many tricks I still had to learn.

Chines and sheer added.
Adding the last sheet of plywood planking.
The hull righted for the first time.
Fairing for the deck planking begins.

Fiberglassing and Painting the Hull

Fairing for the deck planking and adding backing blocks for the front and aft cleats.

With the boat upright and the deck not yet installed, it was easy to get access to the interior of the boat in order to seal the wood. Two part penetrating epoxy was used for this job and after a few layers it looked great and will hopefully provide protection against water, dirt, and scuff marks for years.

The hull after fiberglassing.

The 1/4 inch plywood hull is strengthened and protected with a single ply of 7 oz fiberglass cloth. After curing, multiple coats of resin were used as a build layer so that the surface could be sanded to a smooth finish without cutting into and damaging the fibers in the cloth. I made sure to remove amine blush contamination before sanding the resin.

The next step was to prime and paint the hull. First I tried using Interlux Brightside, a one-part, air-cure paint. For one reason or another, I could not get the paint to cure properly, it remained tacky even after being left for a week. I must have made a mistake with the temperature, humidity or thinning of the paint. After two failed attempts I switched to Interlux Perfection, a two-part, chemical cure polyurethane. This worked flawlessly and looked great after three coats. The skeg was mounted after the paint had cured, and was sealed with penetrating epoxy.

Painted hull with skeg mounted.

That’s all for this post, the next one will discuss finishing the deck and electrical system. Thank you for reading! Click here to read Part 2.

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10 Responses to Building the Glen-L Tuffy Part 1

  1. Maxwell Criddle says:

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  2. […] also discuss some things about the engine I bought for the boat. If you missed them, you can read Part 1 and Part […]

  3. […] blog post continues from Part 1 of my Glen-L Tuffy build and details the process of finishing the decking and electrical […]

  4. Larry says:

    Could you comment on the method you used to apply your bottom paint? Spray, roller-tiped, other?

    • Paul Vankeppel says:

      Hi Larry, I did the roll and tip method and I think it worked great. I had someone else help so that one person could roll a section and the other would follow with the brush. This let me keep a good wet edge and move a bit faster

  5. adam says:

    Nice work, I purchased the plans for Tuffy some time ago but have yet to put them into action.
    I plan to start getting supplies together this year. i am based in the UK, some need to look for some of the supplies here. did you buy your screws and fibreglass kits from glen-l directly? or use a local supplier?

    thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Paul Vankeppel says:

      Hey Adam, good luck with the Tuffy! I did buy the fastening kit and fiberglass kit from glen-l directly. It seemed like the easiest option, I’m sure you could save a bit if you really put in the effort to find a cheap supplier, but I felt like that would cost me a lot of time and likely a lot of trips to the store. The glen-l kits had everything I needed aside from some screws here and there that I needed for things I added that weren’t in the plans.

  6. Wojo Walczak says:

    very nice looking boat. wander about the motor hp…?? Looking forward to see your electrical work – and learn from it.

    • Paul Vankeppel says:

      I have a 30hp Yamaha on it which is plenty for what I want to do, even wakeboarding. It’s also a very light motor which is what I wanted, 2-stroke and no power tilt. With a heavier 4-stroke 40hp I would be worried about waves coming over the transom when the boat is fully loaded and it gets choppy.

  7. Dan Hennis says:

    Keep ’em coming! This is one design I have liked for years, but just not built one yet. Now I will be more inclined to do it sooner than later. Thanks so much for sharing.

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