How to Build a Houseboat

The houseboat shown below is of the scow design, 6 ft. wide by 20 ft. long, with the cabin extending beyond the scow 1 ft. on each side.

The scow tapers up at the forward end and is protected with a heavy sheet-iron plate so that the craft may be snubbed up on sandbars without danger of springing a leak, even though a submerged log be struck while running at full speed.

The power plant consists of a standard 4-hp. reversing gasoline engine which drives the paddles at their most efficient speed, 45 revolutions per minute through a 13-to-l reduction. Cast-iron hubs, into which are inserted cold rolled steel spokes, and wood paddles bolted to their ends constitute the propeller wheels. The cruising speed is about 4 miles an hour.

Two wide bunks, beneath which is locker space, provide sleeping accommodations for a crew of four. In the kitchen the motor and gearing are almost completely concealed under the work table.


The cooking is done on a two-burner blue-flame kerosene stove, and the sink is provided with running water suitable for washing dishes, etc. This water is drawn from a 30-gal. tank on the roof, which is filled by a centrifugal pump driven from the engine shaft. A modern toilet room is installed, and an ice chest on the after deck will hold supplies and ice for a week's cruise.

An acetylene-gas lighting system is installed and is used to light both cabins and a searchlight. A heavy anchor of special design is manipulated by a windlass on the forward deck. A similar device controls the rudder. Life rafts, complete with paddles, are placed on the roof, and in hot weather these are moved to one end and an awning erected to make a cool sleeping place.

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