Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Now that the Interlux Perfection is pretty much finished up and what is down in the cockpit needs to cure for a few days before I think about KiwiGrip, I had some time to get the big fixed port windows installed.  I had been working on cleaning them up last week while vegetating in front of the TV at night.  

Originally I was going to replace the plexiglass because they were pretty clouded, but I priced them at a local Portland Glass shop and they wanted $60 each.  I could have done it myself but I had a tough time sourcing 3/8" plexiglass that would ship for a reasonable price.  At this point I want (need) to save money because our bank account has been hemorrhaging cash lately.  A friend of mine suggested that I try some headlight restorer so I figured I'd take a gamble and spend $15 on a kit.  If it worked great, if not, it's not the end of the world.

The kits run the gamut from $5 - $30, but all basically do the same thing: sand with 1000 grit, then 1500 grit, then a rubbing compound.  Finally, the kit I chose came with a polish that is supposed to make it all shine.  The results?  Not too bad, in fact, good enough for this year.  Ultimately, I'll want to replace them because they certainly aren't perfect, but it did help quite a bit.  

I also spent some time cleaning up the frames for the windows.  I have seen some pretty cheap frames in other boats, but these are chromed bronze and other than a little pitting on the chrome, they are in good shape.  They would cost a fortune if I were to have them made.  I carefully chased all the threads and polished all the frames in addition to scraping off all the silicon sealant that was the last bedding material these windows used.  

I'm not a big fan of silicon, it generally fails quickly, but the residue is nearly impossible to remove. I decided to use butyl rubber because the opening portlights forward were bedded in butyl rubber and they never leaked.  When I removed them, the 45 year old butyl was just as soft and sticky as the day it went in.  Seems like a good combination, so I ordered a few roles from 'Maine Sail' at PBase.  It's high quality butyl tape that doesn't 'bleed' like some so-called butyl rubber.

To get started I put a strip of butyl tape around the entire opening of the window and pressed it into place.  Once it was nicely stuck to the cabin top, I rolled the outside edge onto itself (the photo to the right makes it clear).  Then I pressed the outside frame into the cut out and onto the butyl tape.

Moving to the inside, I took another strip of butyl tape and pressed it onto the perimeter of the plexiglass window.  Then it got a little tricky because I didn't have any help and I needed to press the window into the frame from the inside.  Because the outside frame was just pressed into place, I couldn't push too hard.  As a result, the butyl on the window wouldn't adhere to the frame so I had to hold it in place while I positioned the inner frame.  Once I got one screw in, it all came together though.  

Because the butyl was pretty thick, I used longer screws (first 1", then 3/4") to pull the frame tight because the correctly sized 5/8" screws wouldn't go all the way through to the threads on the outer frame.  That's the nature of butyl, it compresses down when under pressure, but it doesn't go without a bit of a fight.  It's also the reason it works so well at keeping out water.  

Once everything was tightened down, I trimmed excess that squeezed out the edges with an exact-o knife.  It was very satisfying and came off in a single long strip. All in all it took about 30 minutes per window once I got going.  It's really starting to look like a boat again.

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