Carl H. Clark. I. Construction of the Hull.

In this series of articles the writer has aimed to present a set of plans and detailed directions for constructing a small houseboat, - one which will comfortably accommodate six persons and allow good cooking and toilet facilities, and which can be built by an amateur for small cost, or, if this were not desired, could be put together by any ordinary house carpenter in a short time.

The cost of the stock for building the hull and deckhouse, complete, including paint and window-sashes, should not be over $250, and in some localities where lumber is cheap it should be much less.

As may be seen from the sketches, the work is very simple, being all straight work, with no steaming and bending of timbers and plank as in regular boat building. There is no reason why its construction should not be undertaken by any one at all familiar with the use of tools and woodworking. The work must, of course, be carefully done to insure the hull being watertight, but since all the joints are straight, little or no difficulty will be met.

The dimensions chosen - 30' long, 16' wide, and 5' deep - are large enough to give good accommodations, and yet not so large as to make the labor required excessive, or to prevent its being built by two or three persons in a reasonable length of time. The only tools required are the simplest of carpenter's tools.

A general idea of the boat may be obtained from Fig. 1. The accommodations, as shown in Fig. 2, include a large main cabin and living room 61/2' long in the forward end of the house ; this room has a seat on each side, which can be made up for a berth. This room is also used for a dining room by the addition of a portable table, which may be taken away at night if desired. Leading from this room is a passage extending through the house, with rooms opening out of it; the first two are sleeping rooms, the larger being 81/2' x 7/12', and containing a full size bed, bureau, washstand, etc. The smaller is 81/2' x 5', and contains two single berths, one above the other, and bureau, washstand, etc. Next aft are the kitchen and toilet room, the kitchen containing the usual cooking necessities, stove, sink, and closets; the toilet room contains a bowl, tub, and seat.

Forward is a clear space 1' long covered with an awning, and aft is a similar place, which is to be used as a boat landing and as an approach to the stairs leading to the top of the house, which is fitted with a railing and makes an excellent place for steamer chairs.

There are also hatches in the floor, which allow the hull below to be used for storage of coal and supplies.

Selecting Stock. In ordering the stock it might be advisable, unless one is used to that sort of work, to take the sketches directly to the lumber dealer and let him pick out the necessary stock, as he may be able to select lengths which will cut to better advantage, and so avoid waste. In selecting the stock for the planking of the hull it will be impossible to get it long enough to go the whole length, and it should be selected with the idea of making the joints near the ends and not in the middle. This stock is 2" thick, and of either white pine or hard pine. Hard pine is the stronger and rather cheaper, although white pine is easier to work. The planks should be at least 6" wide and a few 8" wide; it is not necessary to have absolutely clear stock for this, but it should be free from large knots and cracks, which might leak. It should be planed both sides. The framing is made of 2" x 4" spruce joists planed on one edge.

For the deck and house 7/8" stock should be used. It should be tongued and grooved, and preferably of white pine, as it is easier to work, and finishes up better, although spruce or cypress could be used. A small amount of spruce plank about 10" wide should be gotten for braces and knees. Most of the fastenings in the hull are galvanized nails or spikes about 31/2" long. The window-sashes, doors, and other fittings will be considered later.

Construction of Hull. The general construction is shown in Figs. 3, 4, and 5. Fig. 3 is a cross section showing the framing and planking;

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Figure 1.

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Figure 2.

Figs. 4 and 5 show the framing only. The first step is the framing of the bottom. If there is any-possible means of turning the bottom over when completed, either by tackle or any other way, it should be built wrong side up if possible, and turned over after being planked ; this will simplify the labor, as it will allow the plank to be laid on the top instead of having to work underneath the bottom, which is very tiresome. It must be remembered, however, that it will be quite heavy, and that care must be taken not to strain it and start the joints during the process of turning over. As will be seen from Fig. 4, the frame is composed of two 2" x 4" joists laid on edge along the sides, and cross timbers of the same size laid between them every 2 feet, also on edge, and fastened to them by spikes into their ends through the side timbers. At each end there are two 1" x 4" timbers laid flat, edge to edge, and fastened the same way.

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Figure 3.

How To Build A Houseboat 105

Figure 4.

The two side pieces should be selected, cut 24' long, and laid out on a flat floor with the planed edge up; the positions of the cross timbers should be marked by laying the two together and marking across both with a square at equal spaces of 2'. The cross timbers, 15 in number, should now be cut exactly 15' 4" long, and put between the side timbers and nailed, each one with two 4" spikes through the side timber into each end. The planed edge should be uppermost, and care must be taken that they are all even with the side timbers and with each other, so that the plank will lie smoothly. A straight edge laid across them will help in adjusting them, any uneven spots being dressed down with a plane. Before putting on any plank be sure that the cross timbers are square with the side timbers. When this is done, it will be well to fasten the frame to the floor, or else cross-brace it to keep it in shape until it is planked, as the shape of the whole boat depends upon the shape of the bottom. When this has been done, the end of the side timbers and the outer edge of the outer cross timber should be beveled off to the slant of the ends. This angle can be obtained by laying out a triangle, using the depth 5' as a vertical, and squaring out 3' from the top, since the boat overhangs 3' at each end. The line connecting these two and completing the triangle will give the angle of the end, which should be kept, as it will be needed later.