Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cutting out the Lexan Portlights

I was away for the last two and a half weeks of January, working in Florida with the Boatsmith crew on a big interior refit of a 1929 Alden schooner, the Summerwind. The job went well - as always, I learned a few new tricks from David and his guys, and earned another influx of cash that I can sink into Element II. David gets deep discounts marine supplies due to the volume he buys. I needed Lexan for my portlights and companionway drop boards so he picked it up for me at his supplier and then gave it to me for my bonus.

I cut out the portlights right away after I got back to work on my project. I had plywood templates already made from cutting the trim rings some months ago, so it was a simple matter to transfer the shapes and cut them with a jigsaw. The portlights are small and well-reinforced by the trim rings, so they are made from 1/8" Lexan, the same as David used on his Tiki 30. This thickness allows expansion room and a space for sealant on both sides, as the cabin side thickness is 1/4". Since the drop boards will be larger and are less supported, they are made from 1/4" Lexan.

Below are the finished portlights for both hulls, two of them taped for protection and the other two yet to be taped so you can see them. The protective plastic covering that comes on the Lexan was not staying in place well enough, so I removed it and used blue masking tape. This will be left in place until after installation, except for the perimeters where the Lexan comes in contact with the sealant.

The next step before installation is to get the outsides of the cabins faired and filled and sheathed in fiberglass, so they can be primed and the portlight trim rings painted. This way once the portlights are in I won't have to worry about getting epoxy on them or accidently hitting the surfaces with a sander.

No comments: