Starting from scratch. Houseboat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by vuoladodo, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. vuoladodo
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    vuoladodo Junior Member

    Hello all...
    I am entirely new to boatbuilding so I am looking for some help and advice from seasoned builders. I live in a city with lots of water and I am thinking of building myself a houseboat. I have experience building in wood.

    A few weeks ago a friend of a friend told me that he was building a houseboat on barrel pontoons. I looked around and the preliminary finding is that barrels are not the way to go. I found two alternatives. Build wood pontoons or build a scowl hull.

    So this is my first question. Scowl or pontoons? What are the pros and cons? What kind of weight can a scow hull support?

    VD
     
  2. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Do you mean a "scow" ? A scowl is a dirty look you get from some miserable person who dislikes you. A scow would be an easier build than a pontoon boat, imo. As to what weight it can support, that depends on the volume of it, mainly, but it has to satisfy safety and stability considerations.
     
  3. vuoladodo
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    vuoladodo Junior Member

    Yes, a scow indeed. No sowling yet. So the question is where do i start. So scow is easier to build. How do I calculate weight in relation to size?
     
  4. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    You would probably be better to seek out ready-to-use plans for a small houseboat, rather than create something original, unless you have some experience and understanding of the principles of watercraft generally. Your wood-working skills should go a long way in making the build a success, you don't want to complete the job and find it fell short because of a design fault.
     
  5. vuoladodo
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    vuoladodo Junior Member

    Fair enough. But i am still wondering how to calculate weight and the relation to size for a scow.
     
  6. CBD Boat Design
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    CBD Boat Design Junior Member

    Hi, first time i recomend that you make an preliminary plans of you need, with this you can estimate better the requeriments of pontons.
    For the pontons materials you can make this with aluminium on GRP. Have a lot of companies ho manufacture GRP tubes. This aren't expensive and grp tubes are more safety than wood pontons.

    If you need help with house design please contact with me.
    customboatsdesign@gmail.com.
     
  7. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Not sure that he needs pontoons, CBD. It is easier to make one box, rather than two boxes joined by a bridge. If he is not going to have a "need for speed" or long distances, it may be a barge-style hull is all he needs.
     
  8. vuoladodo
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    vuoladodo Junior Member

    Ok... so... here is what I take will be the first step: Design the house so from there I can decide what floating platform.
     
  9. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    How fast do you want to go, how far, and is the water relatively calm, or not ?
     
  10. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Single hulls have the advantage of much more room, so you can have a lower windage for the whole vessel.

    Pontoons, as previously mentioned, have to be joined, fastened and secured and the joining mechanism must be rustproofed, protected from impact and weather.

    With modern plywood and epoxy, the problem of rotting wood is fairly easy to avoid, while being a lot easier for a beginner to build by not having to learn welding, metal cutting etc.
     
  11. vuoladodo
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    vuoladodo Junior Member

    SO, i am in Berlin, Germany. its all canals, inlets and very calm waterways plus lots of interconnected lakes. I have no need for speed at all though I will use it to travel around the waterways during vacation time. My idea is to eventually move in and have it as a permanent residence. So it will need some basics.
     
  12. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    In that case you should select your "scow" option, a rectangulate barge style affair has, as rwatson mentioned, more room and less windage. There should be no shortage of plans you can access, you just need to determine what size you require, which would mainly be decided by how many people aboard. rwatson's idea of epoxy sheathing it is also a good one, to get watertight integrity, and protection from the elements.
     
  13. vuoladodo
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    vuoladodo Junior Member

    Ok, great. I foresee something like 6 people at most. So, I will look at rectanguale barges and the meaning of windage. Do you guys have a favorite barge plan?
     
  14. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    If you do a web search of "boat plans", there is sure to be included in many selections, houseboats. Look for one that isn't too complicated, maybe get some study plans, which should enable you to work out how much it will cost, and how many hours required to build. So, the simpler the better, but it is still quite a big job you have to do, to complete it.
     

  15. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

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