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Building a Trailerable Houseboat - with simple plans for a quick easy build.

by Lee Wynn
(Durham, NC, USA)

Building Plans for a Trailerable Houseboat (1/12 scale model)

Building Plans for a Trailerable Houseboat (1/12 scale model)

I've started planning and building a trailerable houseboat that is designed to be quick and easy to build. After years of procrastinating, I have decided to build myself a house boat.

The above photo is a very rough 1/12 scale model that I made to gauge the look, shape, and proportions of my design.

Width . . . . . . . . 8' 4?
length . . . . . . .26' 0?
Draft . . . . . . . . 4?
Deck House . . 7' 8" x 17'
Head Room, Deck House . . 6' 6?
Cover over front Deck head room . .. . 6'
sides around front and rear Decks . . . 2'
Weight . . . . . . . . . . . . 3750 lbs
Electrical . . . Dual 12V DC / 110V AC
Water . . . . . . . . . . . Hot & Cold
Sleeping Capacity . . . . . 4 adults
Power . . . .. . . . . . . 50hp

It will sleep two couples in separate private quarters front and rear. It will also be trailerable since my wife and I plan to take to the road and explore some of the wonderfully waterways that we have in this country.

The hull is an up sized version of the flat hull used on the Lisa B. Good houseboat free plans. The Lisa B. Good hull appears to be somewhat over-designed and heavy, but I believe it is one of the easier and quickest build around. Also enough flotation foam will be added to keep it afloat if the hull is accidentally pierced.

The interior design of the Deckhouse is from a set of Huck Finn cabinet plans that I purchased from Glen-L many years
ago. That is all for now. I will post pictures when I start the actual build.

A couple questions for the experts:

* Will adding a couple of skegs on the flat hull help it track better? Advantages/disadvantages?

* Is Titebond III a good structural glue to use?

* What's the advantage and disadvantage of a more aggressive rocker hull?

Lee Wynn, Durham, NC

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Reply - Answer
Well Lee, congratulations on your decision to start to build a trailerable houseboat for yourself. Better now than never :)

During the building process, try and take some pictures and document the process or steps, as I am sure that there will be many folks that would love to read about it.

Now onto your questions:

In my personal opinion, adding skegs to a flat hull will help with the slow speed tracking.

Titebond III is an excellent glue to use, and has some exceptional characteristics.

Now about rocker hulls, I am not an expert on the rocker hull design, but you will find some more detailed information and theories on the advantages and disadvantages of rocker hulls here.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their building a trailerable houseboat plans and experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Building a Trailerable Houseboat - with simple plans for a quick easy build.

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Proper hp
by: Anonymous

Thank you Lee iappriciate you commenting

proper hp
by: Lee

hi, I not sure what the proper hp is, but my 1982 26ft Yukon Delta houseboat (that I completely rebuilt) came with a poorly running 1987 140hp Johnson, which died. I replaced it with a new 2017 90hp Tohatsu, and am satify with its performance. After all, a houseboat is for cruising, enjoying the water at a slow leisure pace.

what is the proper hp
by: Anonymous

hi, I not sure what the proper hp is, but my 1982 26ft Yukon Delta houseboat (that I completely rebuilt) came with a poorly running 1987 140hp Johnson, which died. I replaced it with a new 2017 90hp Tohatsu, and am satify with its performance. After all, a houseboat is for cruising, enjoying the water at a slow leisure pace.

Building the interior of 26by8 houseboat
by: Anonymous

Hi I have a aluminium framed house boat. I'm wondering if anyone has diagrams of wiring and materials used for the walls, and what would be the proper hp for a 26'by8' trailerable house boat.

Titebond III
by: Anonymous

Titebond 3 is a great glue for almost all of your boat, however it's not designed for continual immersion in water.

I've done tests with both Titebond 3 and gorilla glue (which is a polyurethane glue) and have found Titebond 3 to have a much stronger bond.

The wood breaks rather than the glue line. I would assume everything below the waterline will be covered with fiberglass/epoxy so it wouldn't be an issue.

Its also best to clean up the glue either prior to it curing or within an hour or two of it curing. It makes it much easier to scrape off.

Looking forward to seeing your progress!

Awesome boat
by: Eric

I have this same boat floating on the water!! I love it.

Trailerable Houseboat project
by: Lee

Hi Roger, read my earlier posts to see how I came up with my design. And good luck on yours.

Building a trailerable houseboat
by: roger from n.ontario

I am presently building the identical boat as in the picture! My plans came from a 1959 Popular Mechanics magazine.

Houseboat and everything is identical so I ask, how did Lee dream up the exact same plans? Hull and cabin are the same profile. What is nice about this boat is the sleeping quarters are practically under the front deck.

And yes a novice can build this boat as the plans are from 5 different magazines ranging from December 1959 to April 1960. I changed the bow to make a longer front deck.


Houseboat Projects - buy, or build from scratch
by: Lee

After reading the comments from Jim Richmond it got me thinking, and the timing couldn't be better, because after searching Craigslist, I found a 1982 Yukon Delta 26' houseboat with trailer and motor for a very good price.

And since it was almost the exactly same size as the houseboat that I was in the very early stages of building, I went out and purchased it. And the couple that I purchased it from are some of the nicest people you'll every meet.

The Yukon Delta will require a complete rebuild, along with some modifications to the cabin and the lay out that I've planned. The first thing is to strip down the roof and cabin to check for rot (made a lot easier since the cabin interior was already mostly gutted out except for the kitchen.

Going this route vs building from the ground-up means that for me I should have a houseboat that is easier to insure vs a "home build". And also this will allow getting on the water twice as fast. I will post pictures of the restore/rebuild process asap.

Houseboat Building Costs - correction to previous post
by: Jim Richmond

I gave the wrong figure on the cost of the Nidacore, it is only $7 per sq ft. I guess I was having a duh moment. Nidacore is only listed for sale by 4 X 8 sheets but you can order longer pieces from their factory in Ohio, which is what I did.

I got 2 sheets 8 X 28 for the sides and back and 1 sheet of 8 X 20 for the roof. I hoisted my boat off of the trailer and used the boat trailer to transport the long sheets. You can have it shipped by motor freight but I was afraid to ask how much that cost.

Houseboat Plans - there's an easier way
by: Jim Richmond

I had purchased plans for the 27' Cruiser from Bateau but when I figured up the cost of building just the boat I found I could buy a Carolina Skiff 2790DLX for just a little more.

If I was building a houseboat I would still buy the plans but only use the cabin plans as a guide. The Cruiser by bateau is a great trailerable houseboat, but the 2790DLX is almost exactly the same size.

The Bateau plans are great but I only used the cabin plans and modified the size to fit the DLX. I feel it was well worth the money spent on the plans just to get the cabin part. I used Nidacore for the cabin to keep the weight down, it only weighs 12ounces to the sq ft, but it also cost about $27 a sq ft.

The advantages of doing it this way are that it is insurable because it is already a boat, otherwise the only way I could find to insure a homemade boat was to have Marine Inspection done during the entire construction of the boat and I am 300 miles from any marine inspector.

The only wood in my boat will be the slats in my futon (daybed). It is costing more to build but it will last many times longer than a wooden-fiberglass boat.

If you would like to see pics of the construction phase, they are on under my user name Watercat. I hope this helps, Jim.

Houseboat Plans - the build progress update
by: Anonymous

Hi Mark, my build is proceeding slowly but surely! Because of the weight issue with the Lisa B. It's a good design (after all it must be easy trailerable).

I went back to the drawing board and completely changed how the boat will (or is) being built. I had previously purchased plans many years ago from Glen-L, Bateau and a number of other boat plan providers.

I learned from those and came up with my own design that is equal in weight to similar sized boats from Glen-L, Bateau, etc. All of which are much lighter than the Lisa B. Good. As soon as I have time I will upload some photos.

Houseboat Projects - how is your boat going? ???
by: Mark Cable

Hey Lee, I am a neighbor in Greensboro, NC and am wondering how your houseboat project is going. I would love to see it when you are finished.

A novice building a Trailable Houseboat
by: Lee

Hi Dick, to answer your questions, "can a novice build one", I'm also a novice, therefore we'll just have to wait and see :-) I have justed started purchasing wood and materials.

Your other question "where can you get plans", I started with the "Lisa B. Good" free houseboat plan. I'm using those for the hull and just up-sizing to 8' x 26' and using 2/12's and 2/10s instead of 2/8's for the longitudes.

I purchased a set of Huck Finn cabin plans from Glen-L as a pattern for the cabin that will sit on top of the hull. The hull deck will then be surrounded by siding rails. I will post pictures when I start the actual build.

Trailerable houseboat
by: DickBlinzler

Good article question- was the houseboat completed?
Can a novice build one like yours?
Did not see where I can get plans?
Thanks, Dick

Homebuilt houseboats
by: Old Houseboater

Also check out Glen L marine plans.

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