View Full Version : Small Boat Windshield
02-08-2007, 10:48 AM
I'm putting the final lines down on a 23'er and am looking for any tips/details for the windshield frame construction. It's not big, 2ft high, mahogany frame, but I want it to hold together, yet be relatively easy to refinish and replace the glass.
02-08-2007, 11:13 AM
Here's an open boat windshield on a Simmons Sea Skiff that I thought was well done .It turns out the boat is owned by a formite ! He ,although not the builder ,could explain the structural detailing . Maybe the posting of the picture will flush him out .
I've got a small shelter cabin on my boat ,but I do have a similar operable panel ,with a piano hinge at the top edge and 2 supporting struts . The racking strains on the movable frame seem way less than those that some furniture endures , so I felt that half lap joints were fine for assembling it .A carefully set up router (no plunge required ) makes a very strong and attractive joint . Mortise and tenon seems like overkill here (Oh, I see you maybe well set up to make them).
I used neoprene glazing tape in the frames rebate ,inside the glass.This brought the laminated glass flush with the outside of its' frame. Molding with a simple rectangular cross section caped all , with plenty of room for fastenings to be set into the frame ,clear of the rebate.
02-08-2007, 01:34 PM
That is a nice looking piece of work. What thickness is the frame?
I found these pictures on www.gannonandbenjamin.com
which is a larger boat, but gives some good ideas.
02-08-2007, 02:34 PM
Yeah; that doesn't look too shabby. I fretted a good bit over this subject and have a variety of details on file . Show your drawing and maybe I can pull up something relevant for you .
My boats window frame is 3/4 in. thick. I don't know about the boat in the pic .
02-08-2007, 09:15 PM
If you are designing yourself I'd suggest a mock up with 1/4 luan to evaluate appearance and sight lines. Half lap joints with epoxy should be fine. A lot of the strength comes from attaching to the deck.
First generation Chris craft and Lyman sea skiffs had wood windshields - might be a good source for design and scantling ideas.
Good luck. Windshields are a real PITA to build.
02-09-2007, 11:35 AM
Thanks Bill P.,
I made a little JPEG copy of the drawing, but it doesn't read too well at this scale, so you can get a better version at http://www.siewertdesign.com/clients/temp/WINDSHIELD.pdf
I'll post some drawings of the boat this is for a little later..., she's a stitch n' glue job for a buddy that I've done on the side.
02-09-2007, 11:50 AM
Greg - both of the examples above look nice. Traditional, salty, good craftsmanship. The one thing I noticed about your sketch was that the front 3 panels were all in one plane. You'll notice in the above fotos that the fronts changed plane at each new frame. That's fairly common. That's not to say that the flat look has never been done. It has, and can look fine on some boats. Since we haven't seen the overall boat design, I couldn't comment on which route would look better (IMHO) on your boat. Generally, though, I'd be inclined toward the segmented look. There is no right and wrong, however, when it comes to aesthetic issues. If it looks good to you... it's good.
02-09-2007, 12:22 PM
Here's a windshield section drawn by Sam Rabl , a naval architect .This is his 18ft. Fish Hawk ,as shown in his book Boat Building in Your Own Back yard .A central post is shown ,with sills butted to it Port and Starboard . The two operable forward panes are placed athwartship in a single plane , as you have drawn yours. His intent was to simplify construction for the home builder , which is good . Otherwise , some kind of angled arrangement is generally considered more yachtlike ;if your friend cares ,and can do the work .
I see you've been involved with the design of fancy boats ,so I'm thinking your question is about home building a simple one . Maybe you haven't been working out wooden details ? My boat is a work boat type and I went with the simple flat front ,which suits her , but she's narrower for her length than is now typical.
You see the generous dash area in the color photo I first posted . This is generally handy,and if you have operable windows as shown I think is a safety feature . When the windows are closed ,the strut supports extend aft. If the boat stops suddenly you're more likely to come to rest against the dashboard than be impaled by the window hardware .
02-09-2007, 03:36 PM
That is a nice detail. I hadn't thought about an opening panel, but maybe I'll add one in the middle if it isn't too hard.
You're right in that the production boats I do all have prefab windshields, but I have done a few larger ones, but the details don't scale down to this boat well.
The last decision I need to make is with the corner-should I make a solid corner post or a 2 piece? The solid one takes a bit more thinking with the table saw, but would look better.
I sure do appreciate your 2 bits.
02-13-2007, 01:02 PM
Bill P., you did manage to flush me out. I don't get as much opportunity to get on the forum as I used to. Today is probably the first time I've been here in about a month.
Greg S., If you're interested in the details of the windshield on my boat, you can e-mail me and I'll be more than happy to discuss it with you or send you some pics. I've had a couple others inquire about that windshield, so somewhere in my archives I've got some good pics of it.
My e-mail should be in my user profile. If it isn't, use the contact e-mail on simmonsseaskiff.com, and it will be forwarded to me.
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