Houseboat idea

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by snal, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. snal
    Joined: Jan 2005
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    Location: NC

    snal Junior Member

    I've got the thought in my head (and this may be considered cheating) to build a houseboat using a 24' Sea Ark super-jon aluminum hull as a base. I have a metal fabrication shop, but starting with this "hull" on a trailer would help keep my project from interfering too much with my "paying" job.
    I'd like to make the cabin from aluminum as much as possible, and make it large enough to be comfortable for extended river/lake trips for 2 adults, and allow as much cockpit area as possible for outside enjoyment. If I design the cabin top to be strong enough to use as an upper deck, then the cabin can be larger.
    I have a great deal of fabrication experience, but very little engineering knowledge. Of course I'd like to build it as least as strong as it needs to be, yet keep the weight down as much as possible.
    I've found one site for commercialy built houseboats using the Sea Ark hull, and they are an upscale version of what I'd like to produce, although the cabin is quite large.
    I can't seem to find any information online about amateur builds of this sort.

    As an alternative, I've considered a design that would have a telescopic cabin similar to a Hi-Lo travel trailer.

    Any ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Thunderhead19
    Joined: Sep 2003
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    Location: British Columbia, Canada

    Thunderhead19 Senior Member

    I seem to recall that sea-ark actually makes a houseboat called a sea ark "Voyager". I'd be careful about stability. After looking at the 24' super jon it looks like it would be a nice project, but there are some things to be aware of. The amount of weight of cabin and parts you add to the boat will reduce its carrying capacity. Also the upper deck you want may cause stability problems for you if you are not careful how much weight you put up there. If you're the adventureous type, build it and do extensive testing on its stability and handling before you invite any friend aboard.

    If you look at it should be possible to get a picture of what you can do with this boat using some relatively simple stability calculations. Maybe one of our friends in this forum has a bit of spare time to do a quickie on it for you. If not, I'll make some time in a couple of weeks.
  3. ted655
    Joined: May 2003
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    Location: Butte La Rose, LA.

    ted655 Senior Member

    I have a custom built plate aluminium Jon. It is 24' X8' X2'. I would'nt hesatate to put a cabin on it. It is very stable.
    You may want to look at this link also
  4. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I suppose it could be done, but as Thunderhead said, you'll need to pay attention to stability. Google Seaark Voyager and you see some pics of this. It's a 25 foot boat. One foot can make a lot of difference.

    Have a look at these two Houseboating web sites. It may give you some ideas. Both have online forums as well although they don't deal much with design. However I'm sure they could give you some good feedback.
  5. snal
    Joined: Jan 2005
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    snal Junior Member

    Example of what I have in mind

    I talked to this fella after his boat sold. He didn't have any stability problems, and stated that the boat was more rigid, and actually handled better, afte the cabin was installed. He actually used the boat offshore.
    His design is almost identical to my scale model design, only my cabin would be a few feet longer, and made from aluminum.
    Any thougts?
    Ebay item # 290023391872 has detailed pics.

    Thank you!

    Attached Files:

  6. snal
    Joined: Jan 2005
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    snal Junior Member

    And here's my scale model...

    more of a pilothouse than a houseboat.

    Attached Files:

  7. amigo
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: gloucester, ma

    amigo New Member

    snarl. are you out there

    Did you ever build the house boat.? I am planning on building the HB20
    as designed by Bateau Boats. I wenton the chat room and asked about using there plans but building the hull out of aluminum they said bad idea.
    I think it will work. What do you think?

  8. ted655
    Joined: May 2003
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    Location: Butte La Rose, LA.

    ted655 Senior Member

    Hey Amigo, What did you think a company who sells wood, epoxy & grps would say? I lurked with those boys for awhile. They do have some good designs but the forum is a bit clickish AND they won't stick their necks out for anyone. NOR will they honestly report on any design flaws or failures. A experience I went thru with them (another story).
    Go ahead with the aluminium hull. I own 2 & they are great.
    Here is a design pointer,...., decide what you want (need?) the boat to do exactly. Lay that out with chalk somewhere WITHIN the space you have. You will find the design will define it's own measurements. Then give a great deal of thought & research on safety, simplicity (KISS), durability & thrift of materials (adjusting cuts & dimentions to avoid waste), and you will have your own custom design. Try to keep it attractive but remember form should always FOLLOW function.
  9. SamSam
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

  10. sal's Dad
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: New England

    sal's Dad Atkin/Bolger fan


    You are looking at a fun project, and a potentially great boat! But your questions on the two threads I have seen suggest you have a lot to learn about the structure and construction of boats.

    My suggestion would be to spend this winter reading - start with Gerr - The nature of Boats, and Boat Strength - and Bolger. You might subscribe to "Messing about in Boats" and a couple other periodicals. I'm sure others will recommend other sources.

    And if you haven't already spent a lot of futzing with boats, get yourself a cheap aluminum outboard, and go nuts modifying it. Then, before you start the big boat, build yourself a little skiff using the same materials and methods. You'll learn a lot, about how boats are built, and work, and about your capabilities - and you'll wind up with a useful tender.

    Good luck!
    Sal's Dad
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