Bolger Houseboat #481 Update 3
Paul McLellan
First Report - Update 2


With the hull in almost perfect alignment the interior Paul & John with uprightsconstruction could start almost immediately. With the help of John we leveled the cabin floor timbers and built the honeycomb of stringers to hold the forward and rear deck. The four corner posts were installed, the forward and aft cabin bulkheads measured, cut and installed. At the same time I epoxy coated the ply for the floor, coated and glassed the deck pieces and the upper sides. Also by coating and glassing the preconstructed forward and aft bulkheads we saved a lot of finishing time after construction. We pre finished the uprights for the window frames and installed them with alignment for the bathroom and closet. The window frames are made out of 1/4" ply and we cut them before epoxy coating and glassing the exterior. Since the windows are so large, very little epoxy or glass was used for this operation.

Before installing the window frames, the roof was built.


The roof trusses were made out of full 1" ash wood and the stringers out of 3/4" ash also. The clear wood was a treat to work with, is very strong and beautiful to look at without any finish on it. We precut the trusses and aligned them on a bench and planed them to the same exact size. After installing the header, (Mr. Bolger calls it a clamp) we attached the trusses the laid in the stringers with thickened epoxy using a string to align them. When dry we laid on the first sheet of ½" ply which was glassed on the topside and nicely finished with epoxy on the underside. We marked where the stringers were, removed the sheet, pre drilled from the marks and then drilled for counter sinks from the topside. (About 40 screws per sheet) Then we applied thickened epoxy to the top of each stringer and truss before CAREFULLY setting each sheet in it place then screwed them down. The result was well beyond my expectations for both appearance and strength.


Various options were discussed at length. I decided to build all the windows (10 large windows for both sides and the front) from 1 ½" eastern pine and tinted acrylic mainly because I had the lumber and the price of the acrylic was very reasonable at a local plastic supplier. They turned out looking very nice and with gluing and screwing them together with a ½" grove for the acrylic are very strong. After installing the window frames and mocking up the window slides, we decided to add three smaller windows so it would be possible to see outside while the bed was down and in use. These windows will be fixed closed but the upper windows will have both the forward and rear ones sliding to open. This give plenty of ventilation or visibility for the skipper at the helm, one in the bathroom, one over the cooking area and one over the dinette. Since each window is 36" high by 30" wide this gives plenty of opportunity for ventilation. Roll down screens that velcro will keep the bugs out when the windows are open if necessary. Both front windows are removable with a couple of wing nuts and the same arrangement for
screens is used.

Trim and Doors

Discussion is now under way to determine the final look. With the structure and roof done and almost paint ready, we have to decide on the overall look. I am leaning towards using the eastern pine to make 1 ½" inch trim and door frames. We have decided to made a sliding door for both the rear entrance and the bathroom door, probably out of ½" ply with brass or bronze screen and a removable window for the rear door. Right now I am leaning towards the modified bifold door for the front doors with 2 18" doors on long piano hinges which fold away from the helm station and nest flat against the front bulkhead. Again I would make two windows in each front door with screens and removable acrylic panels for inclement weather and trailer travel.

More to come on the final look and assembly of the windows, doors and