wipe both flange and boat with alcohol
to remove oily contamination. You’ll avoid
the potential mess of bad aim if you apply
your sealant only to the flange. A suction handle is a useful tool for positioning
Solid-sealant squeeze-out is easily
trimmed away with a plastic blade, but you’ll
get a neater job with liquid sealant if you first
mask both boat and flange edge. Masking the
boat 1/8-inch beyond the flange trace line
will allow you to shape the sealant into an
NOTHING BUT PANE
SURFACE-MOUNTED ACRYLIC WINDOWS are common on sailboats and can be an economical option for any boat. This is simply a piece of clear acrylic larger than the opening and fastened directly to the cabin side. Overlap all around should be
at least an inch, but if the acrylic has a dark tint, its size and shape can be dictated by
appearance. No frame is used, but the outside edges of the plastic are typically rounded
and polished. Closely spaced fasteners through oversize finishing washers around the
perimeter used to make surface-mounted windows unattractive, and prone to cracking,
but today’s modern adhesives have given surface mounting a fresh lease.
Using black poster board to make patterns will provide a preview of the end appearance. You can have the plastic supplier cut the windows or fabricate them yourself. After
appropriate cleaning, de-glossing, and masking or unmasking, the installation process is
to apply double-sided VHB (very high bond) acrylic tape 1/2-inch wide by .091 thick (3M
4991) around the entire perimeter 1/2-inch in from the edge, then, taking great care with
your alignment – there’s no adjusting after the tape touches – press the window to the
boat. Mask the pane edge and the boat 1/8-inch beyond the plastic and use a caulking gun
to overfill the perimeter gap with Dow Corning 795 architectural-grade silicone sealant.
Create a fillet with your fingertip, peel the mask, and your new window is installed. — D.C.
attractive fillet with your
finger (wetted in turpentine for the best effect).
This permits removal of
the tape before the sealant cures, which avoids
problems that occur
when the sealant cures
to the tape.
If the window clamps
in place with internal
fasteners, tighten them
evenly. Sealant must ooze
out the entire perimeter
of the portlight, so be
sure you apply it liberally. You can wipe away
excess, but if you apply
too little, you must start all over. The spacers
assure a uniform gasket. In addition to your
clear view, your boat gets a facelift from this
project. That makes it a buy-one-get-one-free
deal. No coupon required.
Don Casey has written eight books on boat
repair and maintenance including This Old
Boat, a comprehensive guide to refitting an
older fiberglass boat.
that a single
what seem to
a pattern for
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