New Course


As you know (if you've been following this blog) I am wanting to repair the windows on our boat "Empty Nestin' ".  As I get further along in this project, the more things I find to repair.  Windows led to walls led to ceiling led to insulation led to wiring, you get the picture.  Well today started the tear out of the unused wiring.  The picture at the left is 3 hours worth of tracing wires and removing unnecessary circuits.  There is literally about a bushel of wires that had been spliced, jumpered, and abandoned.  This was well worth the time, I can now start to see what needs to be updated and what is good to go.  If I had to guess, I will probably replace most of the remaining wiring.  This is a different course of action than I had originally planned, but I want to do the right things the right way in the right order.

I still have a central vac to remove and the main A/C circuits to check out.  I honestly think I am close to going the other direction soon...replacing and repairing.  I haven't forgot the window frames, I will post info on those as we progress.  The nice thing about a boat is it ends somewhere.  I know if I keep going I will eventually be into everything and know exactly what shape all the systems are in.  It wasn't to long ago I was celebrating being a boat owner, now I realize I am owned by a boat :)  It is all good though, as I have said before, any day you step foot on a houseboat is a good day.

A final note, credit where credit is due.  My wife came down for most of the work today and helped a great deal.  An extra pair of hands is always helpful, especially an extra pair of soft, pretty hands. 

I hope you had a good day and got to be on your boat today.  If not, at least we are getting closer to Spring, hang in there.


Moss grows on trees. And indoor/outdoor carpet.  Have I ever mentioned that I hate Indoor/Outdoor carpet on our houseboat?  So, I had Sunday off, the first day in over 2 weeks, and we went down to the boat to talk over our plans.  We ended up scrapping and vacuuming the moss off of/out of the indoor/outdoor carpet.  It was there when we bought the boat and we knew it was in need of cleaning, but I would have rather worked on the windows.  You talk about wanting to do something and not having the time, I work 10 and 12 hour shifts now and have just as much daylight as the rest of progress.

Speaking of no progress, the weather is a hindrance.  You probably thought the 6 degrees was a Kevin Bacon thing, nope.  The 6 degrees I am talking about is the temperature yesterday morning.  That kind of cold does help me stay away from and all aluminum houseboat.  That's the separation I mean.  We are supposed to have a heat wave of 45 - 50 degrees within a week.  If I am off Sunday I'll try to post pics and a little info on what we get done.

Winter is not the best boating time of the year here in Indiana.


I almost feel bad, but I have not had that much to post.  I have been working a fair amount of overtime and not been to the boat much in the last two weeks.  That is no excuse and I am going to start skipping sleeping at night to get some stuff done.

I have received some questions and have some to ask.  First, someone wants to know the number of single level Kingscraft Houseboats built.  I don't know, but a former VP of Kingscraft is working on some information and my hope is to receive that relatively soon and post it here on the site.  I am hoping for production numbers and a history of the company.  If anyone out there has any info I would love to get it and pass it on to everyone.

Next, a question was asked about sacrificial anodes and where to get them.  I have never purchased anodes (remember, I'm a newbie) so I won't suggest a place, but just want to emphasize the importance of checking them on a regular basis.  If you are new to aluminum boats, electrolysis is one of the few threats to your hull.  I would recommend going to and do a search.  There is a wealth of info and experience there.  Don't be turned off by this subject, it beats wood rot and it's just something to educate yourself on and take the simple precautions.

A question was posted about original price of a particular model year.  Unfortunately, I don't have the detailed, yearly prices, but you can go to the documentation page and find some info there to get a really good idea.  I know I can't afford a new houseboat now, so I am going to guess that back in the day it was a serious deal for a blue-collar family to buy one.  Getting a Kingscraft is a great way to break into this type of boating and have a solid investment that will last a lifetime.  Yes, I said investment, if you buy this boat right and be careful about what you put into it, I believe that should you want to upgrade in the future, you can be on the right side of things.  Buying a boat is expensive, owning one is too.  Having one is priceless (to me).

Now for my question.  Do you have any experience with this company, Foam It Green ?  Please let me know what you think or make suggestions about other similar products.  I would like to benefit from your experiences.  I have come to realize mistakes cost money :) but listening is free!

A quick update:  still getting started on the window tracks, I promise a detailed review and pictures.  I pulled the ceiling panels and am going  to run lights and speaker wiring before insulation.

Does anybody know how many days 'til Spring?  I do, too many.

Sorry for the slow progress.  That was for my wife.

Here's to dreams of sun, water, and fun,

I couldn't tell if this was going to make sense visually. It is a door pull.  The type of thing you would find on a medicine cabinet mirror door or a sliding shower door.  The base is 1 inch square and the cylinder is 9/16" diameter and is 3/4" long.  It is a door pull or more correctly in this case a window pull.  We need to have a way to reliably and safely open the windows on the boat.  No, I don't have the window tracks replaced yet.  That is the reason for this post, I thought when the tracks came in I could just pull out the glass panels, measure and cut the tracks, and reinstall the windows.  Wrong.  As I began getting my tools and stuff together to go down to the boat, I realized a few more details about the replacement than I had originally considered.  I will tell you this is going to be a detailed description, so if windows don't  excite you and dominate your thoughts, this may take a minute or two you don't have :)

The bottom track of the salon windows need to be 10'6" long and the tracks are 9'.  There will have to be a splice or joint to get the length.  While simple in concept, the reality of a potential leak point has to be addressed.  I have decided to epoxy the joint and back that section with 5200.  I will need to take my chop saw  down to the boat, and get some 5200.  I need to remove some of the existing screws and decide to match them or upgrade with a slightly different stainless flat head screws.  I will need a way to cover the opening if I can't get the window done in a day.  Plastic sheeting, duct tape.  A countersink bit for the mounting holes.  The tracks themselves need weep or drain holes drilled, which I am really wanting make ovals.  This is straightforward but not really. Since I am planning 50 holes 10x2 (salon) and 5x6 (lower windows) I don't want to spend $200 ($4 x 50) for a machine shop to make the oval drain holes.  These holes have to have the lower side EQUAL to the bottom of the track or the water won't drain completely OR the bottom of the track will have low spots which will affect the polyglide strips from attaching properly.  I plan on dilling in a drill press and machining on my table router.  I can't tell if this makes sense, I described it as well as I could.  I will post detailed pics when finished with this detail.  When this is all done and the panes reinstalled I will have to measure for the new pile strips ( the little seal strips that keep water and air from getting through the gap between the flat surface of the overlap of the panes).  Again, pictures to come.  The gap has to be measured to balance the appropriate seal and having too much friction.  Window seals/piles/felt strips, come in different heights, I didn't know this detail.  Finally, the decision to tint or not - this will wait. And lastly, installing the pulls (remember those).  I know I over-think a lot of things, Welcome to my world.

I did find out today that adjustable corner braces are available for building screen windows.  I am going to make screen windows as none came with the boat.  Did you know screen comes in aluminum, dark aluminum. fiberglass, no-see-um, and solar?  Have to consult with the wife on this detail.  White frames or dark frames or shiny aluminum frames for the screens, another detail, another question for the wife.

I am planning on replacing the porthole glass with one-way mirrors facing out.  Just a preference, but you have to get a certain kind or back-lighting ruins the one-way effect.  I will post the correct name when I re-ask the Glass Shop counter person.  PS we will be able to see out, the portholes will look like mirrors from the outside.  Optional detail.

So, no, I have not started the actual install yet.  I do plan on doing it right.  If I win the lottery in the next couple of days I will order windows, dual pane, tinted, pieces of art.  I don't plan on winning the lottery.

By the way, I have to re-glaze the front two windows, as a gap has developed.  This can be done anytimebefore Spring.

I think a good cleaning of the rear salon window and the back sliding door will get them up to snuff.

Windows - Do you take them for granted?  I knew this was going to have to be done, but not this soon, and I didn't think there would be this many details.  It's fun to imagine the finished product (or effect) and see it in your mind, and then go through the steps to make it real.  I salute those of you who have done this with a houseboat and are enjoying the fruits of your labor.  I really hope I don't break any of my window panes, That will be an entirely different detail to consider



The window tracks from Marinette arrived!  They were sitting on the porch when I got home from work.  The polyglide (I think that's what it's called) came in the mail today too.  The polyglide is the plastic strip you put in the bottom of the channels for the glass to slide on.  I stuck my finger in the picture for scale.  I made a drawing in "SketchUp" with dimensions, I hope you can see that.  My initial impression: very nice, good quality extrusions.  These seem very substantial and should be a permanent solution.  They will obviously need to be cut to size, mounting holes drilled, polyglide installed, and the windows installed.  These were a fraction of the cost of replacement windows, call John at Marinette Yachts for pricing.  I am very happy with these and will show the install here when I do it.  These aluminum window tracks are much nicer than I had expected (much more substantial) and now wished I hadn't agonized over the decision.  We will still have to buy new felt strips for the windows and do the install, but I have a very good feeling about these.

John at Marinette has been very responsive (you might have to leave a message), and helpful - I highly recommend Marinette Yachts from my experience of ordering window tracks from him.

I intend to start the install tomorrow, but I still have to buy felts and screws, prep the old window and frame, and have good weather.  We will see (a little pun intended)

Happy New Year


PS the KC55 stands for KingsCraft 55', I know it's pretty obvious, but just in case you were wondering.
I posted a few pics from today on the home page.  I just had the last corner to clear out and took care of it today,  What looked like 10 minutes of work turned out to be 2 hours.  It turns out when you don't know how houseboats are built, you want be careful and learn how it was done.  You can bet the next one we redo will be approached in a completely different way.  I would buy the stripped shell next time.  Don't think I regret our purchase, Reread the part above about learning how it was built originally.  Experience doesn't come quick or cheap.  I am loving this stuff.  Hopefully the window track will be here tomorrow and we can finally start some rebuilding for a change.

When I look at pictures of boats that have been redone I am starting to see not only the care and effort put in, but the time spent on doing it.  Every new piece of trim or finish meant something had to be disassembled, refinished or disposed of, a new part measured, and a careful installation redone.  What you see when you see a refinished boat, or car, or tractor, or wooden dresser, is love.  When you see a job well done you see that every little bit counts.

If the tracks come in I will post an initial review and pictures.