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  1. #1
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    Default Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Hi everyone!
    Remember me from the 1929 Stephens Cruiser thread?

    Well, we recently purchased a 1960's houseboat (floating home) on an island out in the Sacramento Delta.

    The island was created by a squatter named Joe Attelo. He built it up by hand with a wheel barrow to create a lagoon for raising catfish. He also built docks, and rented them out to power boaters. After he passed away in the 1940's the regular boaters created the Grindstone Joe Association. We have about 25 slips, barbecues, a big covered deck with tables and chairs, bathrooms, showers, power and a great ice machine. Pretty basic, but a great cruising destination. You can read about that here: http://www.grindstonejoe.org

    ...and here: https://www.facebook.com/GrindstoneJoe/

    However, that is not what this thread is going to be about.

    The island has seven floating homes that were built in 1968. These have been owned by members of the association, and they rarely come on the market. The one we bought was owned by a couple who have been members of the association for 50 years. They bought the boat in 1995, and were finally feeling too old to keep it up. We found out it was for sale on a Sunday, had a short call to cut a deal, and owned it the next Tuesday.

    Needless to say, it has not been updated, probably since it was built! So, it has the full compliment of 1960's era stuff. Dark wood grain paneling, woodgrain formica countertops and cabinets, funky carpeting, acoustic tile ceilings, window AC units, crapped out single pane aluminum windows, pleated drapes, and a really stinky water system. On the up side, the location is wonderful, the berthing is cheap, the floats and sewage system are new, and she has good bones.

    Thus begins my next project. How to make this floating box into a proper Delta shanty boat....I'll be chronicling the transformation project here.

    Here is Susan out front the day we bought it.. And a few pics from a recent weekend there with my son and his wife.



    The Island


    Convenient boat parking, right out front!



    And SUP right off the deck!


    A view of the super dated interior (Notice I already removed on of the kitchen cabinet, leaving a hole in the acoustic tile ceiling...

    Now is a good time!


    Steward of MAKOTO [WB Magazine #232], and Honored Member of the LPBC

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    This should be fun. Seems as though you pretty much have a blank canvas - though you should make sure to keep any lime green shag carpet
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    This should be fun. Seems as though you pretty much have a blank canvas - though you should make sure to keep any lime green shag carpet
    and the avocado green appliances (or had they not been invented yet)?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    This should be fun. Seems as though you pretty much have a blank canvas - though you should make sure to keep any lime green shag carpet
    No lime green carpet or harvest gold or avocado appliances! Darn!!

    The first order of business is to re-plumb the water system. The Island has well water that has a fair bit of manganese, which I believe has interacted with the water heater and other plumbing bits to create a putrid rotten egg smell if you use the water (so we have bee=n using bottled water for the time being). I am going to put in an RO system and 100 gallon tank, so that should to the trick. We have RO on MAKOTO, and have never had any issues with he island water, so I am confident that that will fix that issue. Need to replace all the pipes and put in a propane on-demand water heater.

    That will require removing the galley cabinets and paneling. The cabinets need to go anyway, so no loss there.

    All but one of these boats was re-floated about 5 years ago. Unfortunately, the idiots that did this saved money by installing modular floats, as opposed to the 45 foot plywood pontoons they came with. The problem is that the pontoons were the thing that provided longitudinal strength (the floor joints run laterally. The walls and deck fascias provide longitudinal strength, so it isn't a disaster, except where there is no wall (the front deck). That area is now bowed up about 1-2 inches higher because of the lack of longitudinal rigidity there. I plan to address this by creating two 48 foot long 4x8 beams, one for each side. That's going to be an interesting joint to create! Then I'll start at the flat end of the deck, and lag the beams to the existing fascia, straightening out the boat using bar clamps to press the deck down to fit the beam. The really warped part is the last 6 feet, so this should not be too hard. Just a bit difficult with the boat in the water. Then I can tear off the side and end deck sheathing and lay a new ply and fiberglass deck covering. This will have the added benefit of widening the currently too narrow side decks.

    We also want to address the crapped out ceiling and roof. The roof is flat, with a peculiar jog in the fascia boards (to make it look racier, I guess!) . The eaves are too short, so runoff falls on the deck, creating a potential rot issue. So I plan to remove the fascias, extend the eaves and pitch, or curve the roof slightly, then shingle it (as opposed to the 40 years of tar patch it has now). So, we can address the leaky roof and the runoff issue all in one project. That will also allow me to put in curved fascias on the ends, which will go a long way to shanty-dom...

    Inside I plan to continue the curved shanty roof effect by putting whitewashed 1/4 sawn oak plywood over the tiles, and then holding that in place with sawn white oak beams. I am going to start with 2" by 3" white oak beams and cut them curved on the bottom, stain them and varnish them. The flat edge will go against the ceiling. I figure that will bring back a slightly boatier feel to the interior (less of a box). The curved beams are a bit of a cheat, but hey..

    Need to replace the sliding door (not sure yet if I'll replace that with single light french doors, or a new slider), and all of the windows, and install a couple of mini-split AC units.

    Then we paint the interior paneling, put in a proper floor (engineered bamboo in the living room, galley and bedroom, and cork in the hallway and bath), and then replace the cabinets and appliances (stainless, not avocado.. sorry!)

    Cabinets will be hard.. I am sorely tempted to just use Ikea cabinets, but worry about the particle board. The Delta is normally pretty dry, but the winters can be pretty soggy...The alternative is to fab my own, the way I did on MAKOTO. I suspect that's how I'll go (only not with sapele...). It is only about 15 linear feet of cabinets, and WAY simpler than the curvy interior of MAKOTO. That way I can use the same signature teak grilles.

    So that's the plan!

    Scott
    Now is a good time!


    Steward of MAKOTO [WB Magazine #232], and Honored Member of the LPBC

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Good plan!

    A couple of things:

    Water: Too much iron will cause bacteria to grow that can give the sulfur taste. In that case, activated charcoal can fix it. Might it pay to get the water tested before investing in an RO?

    4x6 beams: Will those be stiff enough to straighten things out & stay straight?

    OK, 3: particle board in cabinets: even medium priced cabinets are MDO or particle board backed these days - simply stapled to the real wood. In my house, the FO put in very nice looking (& not cheap) Merrillat "solid maple" ones that have particle board on the back. Might you be able to buy cabinets, pull off the particle board & replace with real wood? Custom will, of course, look much nicer, but there's the time factor.

    All right, 4: Have you looked at the air to air heat exchangers? While not pure AC, they cool pretty well & have the advantage of also heating & using a lot less power. Mitsubishi is a popular brand around here.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    At the risk of sounding really dumb, is it possible to do it like a boat deck or cabin top? That it, dynel or glass or what have you, and epoxy, coated with paint. Seems one of the elastomeric roof paints over sheathed sheathing would be slick, eh?

    I mean, it IS a boat, right?

    Or, does it have to have a house type roof?

    Peace,
    Full Of GREAT Ideas

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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    At the risk of sounding really dumb, is it possible to do it like a boat deck or cabin top? That it, dynel or glass or what have you, and epoxy, coated with paint. Seems one of the elastomeric roof paints over sheathed sheathing would be slick, eh?

    I mean, it IS a boat, right?

    Or, does it have to have a house type roof?

    Peace,
    Full Of GREAT Ideas
    Good questions. It does NOT have to be a house roof. I am now leaning toward a curved corrugated steel roof, since that is what the other buildings at the Island have. I have also considered the elastomeric membrane approach. For now, I am going to research the curved corrugated approach.
    Now is a good time!


    Steward of MAKOTO [WB Magazine #232], and Honored Member of the LPBC

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogeniac View Post
    Good questions. It does NOT have to be a house roof. I am now leaning toward a curved corrugated steel roof, since that is what the other buildings at the Island have. I have also considered the elastomeric membrane approach. For now, I am going to research the curved corrugated approach.
    I think a curved roof in small corrugations could look good.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiletto View Post
    I think a curved roof in small corrugations could look good.
    Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. True Shanty style, while still being functional. A full-on architectural metal roof would have been a bit too fancy.

    The other benefit is that I think I can get the panels pre curved and pre cut, so installing them is super easy.. No need for special purpose seam rollers and such. MUCH easier on the top of a boat in the water...

    Cheers,
    S
    Now is a good time!


    Steward of MAKOTO [WB Magazine #232], and Honored Member of the LPBC

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogeniac View Post
    True Shanty style ...
    For that, up the delta, you just want a double-wide

    Okay, you can blow this idea right out of the water but it is California ... spanish tile roof, white stucco walls, and a little entry porch ...

    You're in the area, hop off 101 right before Hutchinson's in Greenbrae and walk out the boardwalk. You can ignore the keepout signs, they're all carpetbaggers anyhow. There's a few cool on-the-water ideas out there. They live on stilts instead of floating but still.

    p.s. I notice you didn't mention to the naifs here that a major attraction of the delta is the buxom bimbos in bikinis water-skiing. Oh gosh honey, I had no idea it was so busy up here on weekends !

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    At the risk of sounding really dumb, is it possible to do it like a boat deck or cabin top? That it, dynel or glass or what have you, and epoxy, coated with paint. Seems one of the elastomeric roof paints over sheathed sheathing would be slick, eh?

    I mean, it IS a boat, right?

    Or, does it have to have a house type roof?

    Peace,
    Full Of GREAT Ideas
    We ultimately did go with an EPDM membrane. Worked a charm. Zero leaks. Still flat though.
    Now is a good time!


    Steward of MAKOTO [WB Magazine #232], and Honored Member of the LPBC

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    This should be fun. Seems as though you pretty much have a blank canvas - though you should make sure to keep any lime green shag carpet

    Ha ha! When we tore up the built in "dresser" in the bedroom (WTF needs a DRESSER, on a houseboat in the delta?) the 45 year old carpet under it was a multi colored brown, gold, and tangerine shag.. OH YEAH, BABYYYYY!!!!
    Now is a good time!


    Steward of MAKOTO [WB Magazine #232], and Honored Member of the LPBC

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Subscribed!! Can't wait to see what you do with it!!
    Tom

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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Having done numerous remodels over the years, I don't envy you this one. But you sound happy, so go to it with gusto!

    I'm intrigued.... how does one go about building an island with nothing more than a wheelbarrow?

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Having done numerous remodels over the years, I don't envy you this one. But you sound happy, so go to it with gusto!

    I'm intrigued.... how does one go about building an island with nothing more than a wheelbarrow?

    Jeff
    Slowly?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    I've sailed right by there many, many times.
    Ice cream, a bar and a shower is nearby...
    (I noticed the snowman up in the tree is gone, he must have finally melted!)

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    I've sailed right by there many, many times.
    Ice cream, a bar and a shower is nearby...
    (I noticed the snowman up in the tree is gone, he must have finally melted!)
    Missed this earlier.

    There is an ice machine, but no ice cream or bar (unless you mean at 6 PM, when whoever is there sets up the impromptu serve yourself bar..

    I'll ask about the snow man..

    Cheers,

    S
    Now is a good time!


    Steward of MAKOTO [WB Magazine #232], and Honored Member of the LPBC

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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    I think the 4x8 beams (not 4x6) should be stiff enough. The real issue is just that the floats at the deck end are too buoyant. I was also thinking of cutting open the tops of the floats and maybe just pouring in some concrete to fix the over-buoyancy issue, and then add on the 4x8s as stiffeners.

    After I wrote this I thought about a cabinet I did in my downstairs mini bar area. I got that from Cabinotch. They come knocked down, and assemble in about 15 mins. The boxes are ply with poplar (or other species like Maple, etc) faces. I then got poplar and ply doors from another online source. Some of the doors were just hardwood frames and I used glass for the panels. That would save a lot of time without the problems of full-on particle board from Ikea.

    The issue with air-air is that the delta gets HOT. Typically 95-105, so you need some pretty effective cooling. It does usually cool off at night, which is nice. I was actually considering a chiller based system, since the water is relative cool (certainly not higher than 70 degrees). The only issue with those is that they are pretty speedy! $3800 for a small one, and you still need the evaporators. Which compared to two mini splits ends up at about 2X or more. I'm definitely open to alternative ideas here. Most of the Mini-Split systems operate as heat pumps, so you can use them as a heater in the winter.

    This is going to be fun!

    S
    Now is a good time!


    Steward of MAKOTO [WB Magazine #232], and Honored Member of the LPBC

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Sounds good. Hope you don't mind imaginary people tossing out thoughts!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Sounds good. Hope you don't mind imaginary people tossing out thoughts!
    Or is that real people with imaginary thoughts? oooooohhhhhh!!
    Now is a good time!


    Steward of MAKOTO [WB Magazine #232], and Honored Member of the LPBC

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Here is my plan for the roof. As noted above, the current roof is flat. All seven boats have leaky roofs because of this. The other issue is that the eaves are too short, so the drip line lands on the decking below, creating an opportunity for rot along the house siding. The existing boats have a lip around the flat top and little down spouts. None of which makes any sense on a flat topped roof on a boat in the water..Just sayin'

    I plan to cut some 16' curved joist tops from 2x4s. I'll save the cut off pieces for the ceiling. I'll then strip the fascia boards and the roof covering (about 30 years of tar and patches), and attach the curved joist tops to the existing sheathing right over the existing joists.

    I'll then fab and attach joist end extenders to put the new drip line out beyond the edge of the deck. Those will be screwed onto the sides of the existing joists. The tops of these will be canted to line up with and extend the line of the curved joist tops. This line will be offset looking from the top, but the sheathing doesn't care.

    I can then cover this with new sheathing, put in blocking for the new soffit, and add a fascia with all the usual flashing. The new roof will be simple composite shingles.

    Inside the boat, I plan to re-use the cut-offs from the curved joist tops to form a curved ceiling. Once those joist bottoms are in, I can attach 1/4" whitewashed quarter sawn oak ply to them, and then fab and attach bent 1x2 white oak ribs on about 40 inch centers to cover the seams. The ceiling is currently acoustic tile, which I plan to leave intact to avoid the mess of removing it, and also to gain a bit of additional insulation. There are 1x4 stringers all across the entire ceiling, so I have lots of options for positioning the "joist bottoms".

    The bent ribs will be similar to those I did in MAKOTO. Steam bent, stained and varnished.

    This is illustrated in the drawing below.

    Suggestions? Criticisms?

    Now is a good time!


    Steward of MAKOTO [WB Magazine #232], and Honored Member of the LPBC

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogeniac View Post
    The new roof will be simple composite shingles.

    Composite shingles need at least a slope of 2/12. It doesn't appear that you will achieve this with the new roof proposed. And certainly it will be essentially a flat roof at the center. I think you should either build in a real slope or use a roofing material that will allow the proposed new roof. A membrane is the logical choice but may not satisfy your aesthetic. Perhaps a metal roof?

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    You might want to investigate a small water source heat pump for cooling. We had two on a Hunter sailboat we owned. One took care of the refrigerator and the other cooled the boat. The advantage was that they extracted waste heat through a water cooled heat exchange. Our ocean temperature was about 70F in the summer and 59f in the winter. These worked great and didn't use a lot of electricity.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Cool!!!!!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Delta is a pretty civilized place , no?

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Delta is a pretty civilized place , no?
    It depends... The Island is very civilized, as is Tinsley Island. Some go the cigarette boats are over the top (had two pass me flat out at 60 mph the other day (LOUD!!!).. everyone on board was wearing ear protection! Other times there are party barges and the like. The Bass fisherman are ok. The skulk around quite seeking out those elusive big bass in the far reaches of lagoons and such, but they are nice guys with ugly metalflake boats..

    Other than that, yeah, its a civilized place!
    Now is a good time!


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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    I'm in. your plans so far sound great to me.
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    I’ve used Cabinotch a lot the over the past nine years for client work. Their standard cabinets are Uv prefinished maple with an up charge for unfinished hardwoods of other species. All nice quality plywood. You can order them without face frames too and make your own or veneer the edges and go euro style. Just be aware that they have a kerf where the faceframes slide on which needs to be cut off if you if you make your own and accounted for when you select your cabinet depth.

    4893C249-ECE4-4386-A4AF-7A248253BA92.jpg
    I made the Murphy bed frame scratch but the rest are Cabinotch. The small cabinets next to the bed have factory face frames and the rest I made and applied to several factory boxes fastened together. I like the traditional look of a single face frame that goes wall to wall.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jfitzger View Post
    I’ve used Cabinotch a lot the over the past nine years for client work. Their standard cabinets are Uv prefinished maple with an up charge for unfinished hardwoods of other species.
    Nice work. I used Cabinotch cabinets and third party doors on a mini bar in the family room. It worked out well. The largest work was simply painting it. I started with raw plywood. Did you paint the Purebond? I was concerned that it might not take paint well. Otherwise you have to paint and sand and paint the inside of the box, and that's a PITA. If I do that, I think I may paint he bad before I assemble it!

    Scott
    Now is a good time!


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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    I always paint or finish before assembly. I just do a little masking on the surfaces that are glued. I’ve had no problems painting the purebond with precat lacquer and with latex. I sand first with 220. The factory finish makes a great primer.

    Looking forward to seeing how your floating house turns out. Thought about doing something similar but Minnesota winters make it less appealing.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jfitzger View Post
    I always paint or finish before assembly. I just do a little masking on the surfaces that are glued. I’ve had no problems painting the purebond with precat lacquer and with latex. I sand first with 220. The factory finish makes a great primer.

    Looking forward to seeing how your floating house turns out. Thought about doing something similar but Minnesota winters make it less appealing.
    C'mon, ya just need a bigger heater!!

    Great idea on sanding the Purebond and then painting it, and doing that prior to assembly. I am relieved to find that the Purebond is paintable.

    Sanding the inside of a box is a PITA! While sanding flats is super easy. I will be using Fine Paints of Europe oil based satin paint. I love this paint. I use it on all of my trim and cabinets. Hard, levels perfectly, and wears like iron. None of the brush strokes or cottage cheese finish you get with latex on smooth surfaces.
    I use Interlux Brightsides on MAKOTO, which is also good paint, but the colors are very limited. I ended up mixing two stock colors to get an in between shade and that is a pain as well. FPoE will custom mix any color, and will match commercial brand paint chips. It runs about $50/liter, which is about the same as Brightsides.

    I'll probably use latex on the existing wall paneling, and ceiling. I plan to have a painted hardwood moulding around the top (like an upper base board) that has reliefs cut into it to accept the ceiling rib ends, so that will be done in the same oil base trim and cabinet paint.
    Now is a good time!


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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    .
    Repeat, .

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Are you going to put any sheer in that roof?

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Are you going to put any sheer in that roof?
    A man after my own heart! I would LOVE to put some shear on it, but I am not sure how. Anyone have any ideas?


    Scott
    Last edited by Cogeniac; 08-15-2018 at 08:59 PM.
    Now is a good time!


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    Default Re: Delta Shanty Boat Transformation

    If the hull has no sheer I would avoid putting any in the roofline.
    Your curves in the roofline sound nice, but will probably need to be more pronounced to avoid standing water in anything other than heavy rain. I dont imagine the houseboat rocking much to spill it.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

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