Barge Wheelhouse

This summer (2009) I spent a fair while building a new wheelhouse for a Dutch Barge that was being converted for use as a houseboat. The project, undertaken for Kelvin Marine, rapidly evolved from raising the windscreen by 6″ to building a teak framed wheelhouse faired to the deck edge and sporting all sorts of fancy stuff. Tim, the owner, had some clear ideas about what he needed so I set to work and put together a few drawings for him to sign up for.

As usual, the hardest bit was working out how to do the job. The upper walls of the deckhouse, to be built of 1 1/4″ teak were, I soon realised, not going to bend to the required shape. Rather than explain it blow by blow, here is the picture log from which you should be able to deduce how it was all done.

The first step was to raise the existing windscreen and ‘bimini’ roof which were to be retained. This was done by extending the lower faces of the existing front and side panels.

The next stage was to frame out the side and back walls (the hard bit).

Once the windows were cut out the shape started to emerge.

The saloon doors providing external access are somewhat individual and were great fun to make.

The inside faces were painted (marine plywood).

Here she is – just about ready for the doors to be fitted. The plywood side walls do appear to blend in fairly well with the steel cabin sides.

With eyes, nose and mouth in place it’s pretty clear that all that she now needs is a cartoon name.

This is as she was in early autumn, a coat of topcoat and some internal fitout are outstanding but it is already clear that she will be a different sort of houseboat. I hope that Tim enjoys her.


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One comment

  1. Looks Brilliant – adds to the overall style of the boat – inspirational too as I plan similar on our own 1903 Tjalk

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