The bottom is now ready for planking, the first step of which is to fasten a piece of planking about 8" wide across each end, letting it lap about 11/2" onto the inside 2x4 joist, and extend 2" on the ends and other side to cover the ends of the plank. This is shown at " a," Fig. 7. The rest of the plank are laid the long way, across the timbers ; it will be best to begin to plank near the middle and work towards the sides, being sure, however, to have a wide plank at the edge. Before putting on a plank the edges should be slightly beveled towards the outside to allow the insertion of a thread of calking, as shown in rather exaggerated form in Fig. 9. The edges should be about 1/3" open when the plank are solid together. The ends of the plank should be squared so as to make a good joint with the end piece, and if the plank are not long enough to go the whole length, the joint should be made to come on a timber, each piece lapping onto the timber half its thickness. The planks are fastened with two 31/2" nails into each timber; these nails should be set down below the surface about 1/2" so that the hole may be filled with cement and protect the head from rust.

How To Build A Houseboat 106

Figure 5.

How To Build A Houseboat 107

Figure 6.

It may be best to bore a hole large enough to take the head about 1/2" deep; in fact, it may be necessary to bore through with a small bit for the body of the nail if it should show any sign of splitting the plank when driving. All the faces that join should have a coat of rather thick white lead paint before fastening together. The ends of the plank are fastened to the 2x4 joist across the end, which forms a bed for them. The butts of adjoining planks must be kept as far apart as possible by making them come at opposite ends, and those in alternate plank on different timbers ; this weakens the boat less. It must not be forgotten that the outer plank on each side overlaps the side timber 2" to take the side planking.

How To Build A Houseboat 108

Figure 7.

If the bottom has been built wrong side up, it may now be turned over, using care, as before remarked, and set up on blocks or horses about two feet from the floor so that the little work remaining to do underneath may be done easily. The framing of the sides can now be set up. This is of 2" x 4" joists; the uprights, 22 in number, should be cut 4' 9" long, with a jog 2" x 4" to go over the side timber at the bottom. They are put alongside of the bottom timbers, and nailed to them and to the side timber. As will be seen in Fiars. 3 and 4 there are four shorter timbers near the corners, which can be put in later. The precaution must also be taken here to have the surfaces of the side timbers all even so that the plank will lie smoothly. The 2" x 4" timber, which is shown near the tops of the side timbers in Figs. 3 and 5, should now be worked in place four inches down from the tops, with the planed side up, remembering that it runs the full length of the hull and is nailed in place. This supports the deck beams and keeps the side timbers in place. If the side timbers are not all even, the uneven places should be planed off until all are in line.

The end timbers, of which there are nine on each end, are cut to the proper bevel of the ends, as already obtained, and long enough to reach to the top of the side timbers. The outer ones bed on the bottom side timbers, and at the top are fastened to the fore and aft timber under the deck. The other end timbers bed on the flat joists. Three timbers on each end are made, as in Fig. 6, with a brace extending out to the first cross timber and notched over it, the corner piece "e" being cut from the rough 2" plank with the grain the long way. The others are brought down without any brace, and all are nailed to the end cross timbers. A board may be nailed across the ends of the timbers to keep them in place temporarily.

A piece of plank 4" wide is now taken and spiked on to the side of each corner post, letting it lap over two inches to cover the planking on the end, and beveling the lower end against the bottom planking already in place, and with which the surface should be just flush. This serves to butt the side planking against and makes a finish, as shown at "b," Fig. 8. The four extra timbers near the corners, already mentioned, should now be put in place.

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Figure 8.

The planking of the sides and ends had best be begun at the bottom, the lower strake being fastened to the lower side timber, and also a row of nails being driven into the lowpr plank through the outer bottom plank. The same precautions about butts should be taken as before; the appearance of the end of the side planking is shown in Fig. 8. Above the waterline, if not all over, holes should be bored for the heads of the nails, and the holes afterwards filled with "knugs," as they are termed : plugs of wood, made for this purpose, cut across the grain, which may be driven into the hole and then planed off, making a perfectly smooth surface. They should be dipped into thick lead paint before driving. In driving the nails it will be found necessary to hold a weight, like a sledge-hammer, behind the timber, to take the weight of the blow, and prevent the timber from recoiling. The top strake of the end plank should be beveled off level to take the floor boards.

The next step is the addition of the deck beams. These are also 2" x 4" and are spaced the same as the bottom timbers, and directly over them. They should be cut long enough to just fit inside the planking, and should be laid, planed side up, on the fore and aft joist, against the uprights, and on the same side as the bottom cross timbers. This will bring them directly over the cross timbers. They should be nailed to the upright, and diagonally nailed to the joist underneath. This should bring their upper edges flush with the ends of the uprights and side plank. Under each beam there should be two upright braces, about equally spaced, to support the deck. These can be made of any spare lumber, and are diagonally nailed to beam and cross timber, Fig. 3.

How To Build A Houseboat 110

Figure 9.

There should now be cut some pieces from the 10" plank, like "c," Fig. 3, 15" on the lower side. These are laid on the bottom cross timber and alongside of the side uprights, and nailed to both. Also some spare pieces of 2" x 4" should be cut, like "d," Fig. 3, and nailed underneath the deck-beams and alongside the uprights. All these will greatly stiffen the hull and make it more rigid.

A piece of 2" x 4" should be fastened, as in Fig. 3, about a foot down from the deck, on each side, to serve as fenders. The fastenings should be set well down below the surface, and should go into the side uprights. The ends should be tapered off before being placed.

The laying of the deck is the next thing. Although not absolutely necessary, the deck will be better if laid double ; the lower layer of rough stock, as it only forms a bed for the upper layer. Along the sides a rather wide board should be used, as thick as both layers together ; this board being fastened to the beams and also to the top strake of plank. The top layer may now be laid. In laying the deck it is well to consider the hatches leading below. These should be about two feet square, and can be placed wherever most convenient, care being taken that they come between beams. There should be one in the living room, one in the kitchen, and one in the passage. By deciding upon these in advance some labor can be saved, as boards can be selected which will extend about to the hatch, and the next board can be laid leaving the opening.

When the hull is completed it must be calked, planed, and painted. In calking, a thread of oakum or cotton is driven into the seams with a calking iron, which is a sort of chisel-shaped iron with a long, flat edge. These may be bought, or made by a blacksmith. If the seam is large, oakum should be used, while cotton is used for small seams. For ordinary use a strand of fibers about the size of a lead pencil is twisted and laid along the seam and driven into place by pounding on the iron with a mallet, lightly at first, and then harder, until it comes to a bearing, and enough should be put in to fill the seam to within about one-half inch from the surface. Care must be used not to force the calking too hard and start the fastenings of the plank. The seam should be well coated with lead paint before calking, using a fine brush. After the calking is completed the surface should be gone over with a smoothing plane, and any roughness or bur removed. If the stock used is not well dried, it may be desirable to delay calking until nearly the last, when the wood will have shrunk all that it will be likely to do. It will probably be advisable to complete the hull before beginning the other work.

All the seams and nail holes should be filled with putty or elastic cement, except above the waterline, where putty must be used, as cement discolors light paint. A coat of linseed oil has a beneficial effect in preserving the wood and preventing shrinking and checking.

The hull should have a priming coat of paint as soon as possible, and in a few days a second coat, leaving the last to be put on just before launching.

The hull is now ready for the deck house, the construction of which will be described in the next issue.