Houseboat Hull finish idea need pros and cons

Discussion in 'Materials' started by AwJees, Aug 25, 2021.

  1. AwJees
    Joined: Aug 2021
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    Location: Beoit Wi

    AwJees President of He-Man Woman Haters Club

    I am building a 34 foot houseboat. It is a engineered design and has some nice lines rather than a simple barge. Its worth it to me to do some extra work to end up with something thats pleasing to the eye.
    My idea is this, construction calls for 3/4 plywood on frame , 2 layers of 6 ounce glass ,sand and paint. I would like to cut some 3/8 plywood strips and after sanding the glass do a overlay of plywood planking using epoxy and screws after cure pull the screws fill and fare the hull and then sand and and paint giving the hull a planked look.I cant decide if i should reduce the first layer of plywood so i end up with 3/4 of a inch of plywood total or add 3/8 to the 3/4 inch . i have plenty of displacement weight to play with. I would like to hear some pros and cons from experienced boatbuilders Thank You
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum AJ.
    I have to ask why do you want to do this?
    If you REALLY want to achieve a 'planked look' you could use a router to make some grooves in the hull - but what is the point of this?

    Can you bend the 3/4" plywood around your frames fairly easily?
    If yes, then just do it, and call the job done.
    If it is difficult, then maybe considering using a thinner plywood, and then laminating an extra layer on top.

    Can you post on here any copies of the drawings that you have for your houseboat, and / or photos of what you have built so far?
  3. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    It would be far easier to build a planked hull in the first place.

    or to rip at the 3/4" ply and lapstrake plank, but ply endgrains will probably blow up on you

    a better solution for you, if you insist on a siding look, would be to faux plank the sheathing with a marine foam piece that could be epoxy glued to the hull. You could buy a fee sheets of 3/4" corecell foam and rip 2.5" angles out of it and apply them on 6-8" spacings

    but time and material costs are high
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    You could plank with composite decking:
    However, you will need to spline the planks to get pleasing curves. If you install planks with parallel sides it will be a poor looking amateur job.
    An easier way is to use epoxy to make faux planks. It is a method used to make floors look like they are made of pavers or brick. You would mask the seams and build up with epoxy.
    Pen & Hive: How To Paint a Faux Brick Floor on Concrete
  5. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Location: Germany

    Rumars Senior Member

    There's no need for 3/8, 1/8 is plenty, use hydrotek. Glue them on as entire sheets using vacuum, draw the spiling in pencil until satisfied, then router very shallow. Paint three coats of neat epoxy in the grooves to protect the endgrain, and finish with varnish or paint. You can also do it with real wood, thick veneer is available.
    You only need to do this above the waterline, the fish don't care.
  6. AwJees
    Joined: Aug 2021
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    Location: Beoit Wi

    AwJees President of He-Man Woman Haters Club

    Thank you everyone for your interesting replies. The reason for doing it is for looks. I understand its extra work and doesnt serve a structural purpose. I am just in that stage of planning the type of finish I would like to have. Its a chance to be creative. Some very good ideas Thanks.
  7. kapnD
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    Location: hawaii, usa

    kapnD Senior Member

    How about a vinyl wrap?
    Choose your own layout, mural, modern art, naked ladies, Star Wars or Greek architecture, anything that can be printed !

  8. AwJees
    Joined: Aug 2021
    Posts: 21
    Likes: 2, Points: 3
    Location: Beoit Wi

    AwJees President of He-Man Woman Haters Club

    I really like the router idea from bajansailor. using the router for a faint line would be perfect. Using tape then laying the line out on it before routing will minimize tearout and give a clean line. I can also vary the width , this method really opens the door to being creative with the hull and with the cabin. Im going to create a cabin with a cross between a cabin and a asian houseboat. Ive got it in my head right now and thats the best i can describe it . I will be able to use plywood on the cabin but create a individual plank built wall which would require much more framing to achieve and i dont want tongue and groove because its to uniform being able to vary widths and lengths will be key to the right look along with the lines of the structure. Im pretty excited about the possibilities.
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