Constructing a Curved Windshield (Cont'd)

by Stephen K. Yokubaitis

O nce the bottom of the windshield has been traced onto the deck, holes are then drilled through the deck and from these locations matching holes can be drilled through the Lexan for the hold-downs. The hold-downs can be easily bent to match the angle of the windshield at each point.

With the windshield and vinyl channel held in place with the hold-downs you can start fitting and cutting the front half of the top windshield trim (gunwale molding). Holes are drilled through this molding and countersunk, then the molding is clamped onto the windshield along with the back side molding (rub rail molding); securely hold in place with as many clamps (and hands) as will fit.

You want the two moldings tight against the Lexan surfaces; the front molding (gunwale) tight against the top edge of the Lexan and the rear molding (rub rail) tight against the overhang of the front molding. The front molding is then used as a guide to locate the holes to be drilled "in place" through the existing holes in the front molding continuing through both the Lexan and the back molding. The holes in the Lexan are later redrilled to 1/4" to accommodate the vacuum hose grommets.

The vinyl channel also needs to be trimmed to suit. It is best to trim the upper part of the channel around the aluminum windshield trim but to leave the bottom of the vinyl channel under the ends of the aluminum trim to protect the deck.

My windshield measures approximately 15" at the centerline of the boat by 92 1/2" along the top edge of the windshield. It slopes approximately 37 degrees from vertical at the boat's centerline to nearly vertical at the outside ends of the windshield. At its base my windshield is offset approximately 11" forward of the cockpit edge at the boat's centerline.

Photos of Process

Cardboard template taped in-place. A light weight solid cardboard would have been better suited for this application but, a large corrugated box is what I happened to have. The steering wheel is in place in this photo because it was at this stage of construction that I was experimenting with various seat heights relative to the steering wheel and also working to determine the appropriate windshield height to give an unobstructed view.

Cardboard template taped in-place. I used a scribe to mark a fair line along the deck edge of the windshield template.

Template clamped and weighted down ready to mark and cut Lexan. I never did use my barbell set for its intended purpose but have used the weights many times in applications similar to this.

Windshield with protective film still attached. Hold downs and deck channel are in place.

Note: Deck channel ends are not trimmed at this stage.

Windshield with protective film still attached. Hold downs and deck channel are in place.

Fore trim (gunwale) clamped in place. Note: ¾" aft trim (rub rail) has been bent to shape but is not in place and is lying across deck in this photo. You can never have too many clamps.

Side view of finished windshield with deck channel ends trimmed. White protective film has fallen from the Lexan but clear film is still trying to hold on. I left the protective films on as long as possible.

Final view from front.

The finished boat, "Mistress."

Another view.

Materials List and Sources