Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

Weedeater Powers Racing Runabout

crackerbox boat
I‘ve always lusted after the classic mahogany runabouts of the 1940′s and 50′s. At one point many years ago, I had a set of plans to build a 1/4 scale model of a 1951 Century Sea Maid ( a really stylish two-toned mahogany number) powered by a chainsaw motor. For one reason or another, I never built that model.

One day I stumbled upon a super-cheap Homelite 25cc line trimmer, and figured that it must be time to dig out those plans and whip up a boat, but the plans were nowhere to be found, apparently having fallen victim to several appartment and house moves. I contacted the magazine that had published the original article and details about ordering the plans, but they were not able to help me track down another set.

crackerbox boat

There was however a set of plans available to build a 1/4 scale “crackerbox” racing runabout. It wasn’t the Century Sea Maid, but I fugured I could pretty it up a bit by improvising a few details. I built the hull from 1/8th inch mahogany plywood with a stain and polyeurethane finish rather than the smooth harwood plywood/paint treatment that was suggested by the designer (and crackerbox tradition). Some pinstriping tape served nicely to approximate the deck caulking, and I ditched the low wood “fairing” and came up with a propper windshield design.

There are some cheap line trimmers out there just waiting to become boats. I recommend looking for a model with the 25cc Homelite engine, as there are lots of aftermarket hop-ups available for that motor. The motor in my boat is stock except for the addition of a canister muffler and larger carburetor, which is an essential upgrade if you want to go fast enough to throw a nice roostertail.

Oh, just so that you can envision the scene properly, yes I do wear a blue double-breasted blazer and white yachting cap whenever I am at the lake running the boat.

14 Responses to “Weedeater Powers Racing Runabout”

  1. Ken Barrett Says:

    I love these old lake boats. Especially the ones with two cockpits. They harken back to a more refined and austere period in our country’s history when we toured the natural world in horse and buggy, carriage and trolley, prop-driven airplanes, and wooden boats. They’re like a beautiful laquered piano that floats.

  2. vladimer kerchenko Says:

    me wanna see shots of the rooster-tail. please.

  3. marius Says:

    So whereabouts in Seattle do you run the boat, and when do you do it? I’d love to see it zoom around.

  4. Steve Says:

    I run it al lake Ballinger North of Greenwood. Its right around 135 and Aurora. I’m not really sure if you are supposed to run gas boats there or not, but I haven’t been hassled yet.

    Not sure when I will do it next, I am so damned busy.


  5. Steve McDonough Says:


    Like your boat & location. I’m a born & raised Seattle guy now living in Snohomish. Currently scratch building 50″ crackerbox and have enjoyed your photos & write up. Also, do favor the Homelite engine as there seems to be many available + parts from places like Warehouse Hobbies & Marine Specialties.

    Would be very interested in learning how you outfitted your boat and sources used.

    BTW: Heard Twin Lakes is another location for gas rc boats. Isn’t Bitter Lake at 130th near Aurora and Ballanger out around 205th?


    Steve McD

  6. Bob Rydman Says:

    Please be aware that 50 inch crackerboxes are not legal boats in NAMBA and IMPBA .. The class is 43.5 inches to 49 inches. I am preparing to build a Dunlap Crackerbox and feel as though I’ll need to scale the plans to 48 inches. I’ve seen this plan on the net at 50 inches and at 48. I’m sure no one cares if the boats too long, but the Rules I read said 49 inches.

  7. Bob Rydman Says:

    I do want to say that that is one very nice Crackerbox!!!

  8. gabriel Says:

    hellow i have purchased jerry dunlap plans

    also bob rydman is corect i f you are building one you will notice it says
    “50 inches includeing rudder ”
    the rudder is 2 inches so it it is legal in namba
    if u want free plans you can email me at paintballzero@gmail.com

  9. george a. akers jr. Says:

    good afternoon

    was surffing and ran across your listing under plans and an indication of “ask and i will send you boat plans” i have a 22.8 weedeater motor that is looking for a home in a boat about 50″ to 55″ long. can you send me something like that ??

    i will pay postage.

    hope to hear from you.

    drop me an e-mail if i’m barking up the wrong tree.

    thanks for the help.

    george a. akers jr.

  10. Steve Says:

    George, no sorry, I dont have an extra set of plans, but you can get them online.



  11. gabriel balaa Says:

    thanks i have a lot of plans for rc gasoline powered boats

    if you want any just email me at paintballzero@gmail.com

  12. gabriel balaa Says:

    Steve Lodefink scratched built that sweet boat from the 1/4 scale crackerbox plans by Jerry Dunlap. He made the windshield, and finished the hull in the classic Mahogany racing runabout style. The motor is a stock Homelite 25cc with enforcer canister exhaust. This is one of the best crackerbox’s I’ve seen. Steve can be contacted at his email address slode@home.com

  13. Don Nowell Says:

    Hi Steve
    In 68 i met Tom Patterson and linked up and built the engines for his cracker Sparkler for 5 yrs set the kilo at 95.170 in 68 and 70 was APBA high point had a great time racing in the cracker class kinda like water going sprint cars. At the time a fellow was coming to the races with a small craker model and he did build a 1/4 scale boat and great plans his name is Bill Coster one day i will build the boat too busy building other models now.
    Sincerely Don Nowel
    Your boat looks great with the early looking deck might have to make mine a running model after seeing your boat on the water

  14. steve Says:

    Hey, Thanks don!

    It’s really cool to hear from you. Your work is truly incredible.

    About building a 1/4 scale crackerbox, yes, definitely make it a running model. They are too much fun, adn there is actually a racing class for them if you are so inclined (and it sounds like you are).