window choices for small aluminum cabin

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by Northeaster, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Northeaster
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    Location: Eastern Canada

    Northeaster Senior Member

    Hi Folks,

    I have had my (home made) 25 ft aluminum power boat on the water for the 2nd summer, with a temporary center console and no windshield/ protection.

    I have not completed decided - I may keep the center console and add a small frame/ windshield and sides or I may move controls off center and forward and add either a small walkaround cabin or a small cabin with a walk through door or 1/2 door to access the bow.
    In either case I will not have a flush deck but rather an open bow, with a deck raised enough to make hauling the anchor and tying up easier, as the sheer rises quite a bit approaching the bow.

    I would like some recommendations on (relatively) inexpensive choices for front windows and side windows. Wondering if it is typical to use auto type safety glass, tempered glass etc up front and for side windows would something like lexan be feasible or stick with glass.
    I am in Eastern Canada with only about 4 months use per year, and sun damage not nearly the problem as in hotter climates.
    I envision forward raked (Alaska style) fixed front windows but some type of large sliding side windows to let lots of air in - it is mostly a fair weather family boat but I want the ability to keep the weather out when needed.

    Ideas for simple slider design appreciated i.e. using angle or channel of some sort with perhaps strips of teflon or fabric to allow them to slide without being too loose and rattling all the time.
    I will try to keep all windows as large as possible and have minimal aluminum sheet, with adequate framing.
    I will replace the temporary wood floors with aluminum this winter before starting the cabin...
    Any input and help would be appreciated!

    Attached Files:

  2. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    Bomon in Laval, Quebec makes custom aluminum frame sliding and fixed windows for boats. I've talked to them at several shows and they have been friendly.
  3. Barry
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Barry Senior Member

    C.R. Laurence is a major supplier to glass shops in North America. If you access their site, you will see all the different types of slider profiles, ie double channels for sliding windows, single for fixed and triple for windows with sliding screens. If you are in no-see-um or black fly country, screens are a nice touch. You will have to work with a glass shop in any case and if you want to save some money, you could perhaps persuade the glass shop to source these items for you (though they are probably available on the net, amazon) so you can do the framing etc. and use the glass supplier to supply safety glass. But barring expense, if you get someone to make a set to your specs, you will end up with something professionally made. If cost is an issue, you can call around to the suppliers of windows to the marine industry to see if they have anything that was incorrectly sized that a customer did not take etc, that might fit your needs. Diamond SeaGlaze in Vancouver makes marine windows for major boat builders throughout North America
    Marine window will often have a flange to permit face mounting of the glass assembly which makes the installation easier. Boats flex a lot, so you need to ensure that the glass is not tight in the frames or you might break a few in rough water as the boat flexes.

    An option would be a simple rubber extrusion that has a channel on one side to hold the glass and a narrow channel on the other to grip say a 1/8th inch aluminum lip for the front windows.
    This would be a low cost option
    And then use a slide on the side windows.

    A piece of advice. Our last three boats had sliders but the knob attached to the glass, was small so that if the window was a little sticky, it was hard to get a good hold to slide it back.
    If you go the professional build method, have them put larger than normal knobs to ease this issue. The slides will often have a felt type interface between the glass to keep out water
    and this is subject to mould over winter. So when you lay up the boat, spray some mildew inhibitor along the felt (I am not sure if it is felt but a soft gasket) to keep mould to a minimum
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Custom marine lights and ports are expensive. Some prefer Lexan, but I prefer laminated glass, which isn't as strong, but thickness can handle this, plus it's not going to yellow, craze, crack, scratch, etc. like the plastics do. A simple light can be set in a rubber gasket and this "let" into a cabin side. Alternatively, you can glue it into a rabbet, which is a bit more difficult on aluminum. A port is a different matter and typically is a 2 piece assembly, (unless on a track) that sandwiches the cabin side. You can make these up as well, though you might spend as much on it as a regular size marine unit, once it's all said and done. Tracks are a quick way of getting a port, but they're never going to be water tight, just water resistant, so be careful what you wish for. Lastly designing a good port, that actually seals when closed, isn't as easy as you might think.
  5. Northeaster
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    Location: Eastern Canada

    Northeaster Senior Member

    thanks forall the replies.
    yes, price is an issue.... I doubt I can justify professional marine fixed windows and sliders. I will check prices, but I doubt it.
    re: sliders or side windows, I am willing to accept something not completely watertight, if it looks good, keeps most weather out, and perhaps has some channel or way of diverting any water intruding down/out ,etc. The front fixed windows I would like to perhaps 3M tape and seal, etc into place and have weathertight, or have in proper channel or extrusions to make watertight.
    sorry, not much time tonight but will reread posts above and research more when I have time..

  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Lights, (fixed windows) are pretty easy to make, a simple rabbet, sealant goo and possibly a retainer or trim ring to hide the bead of stickum. An opening port is a different matter, assuming you'd like it water tight. If you don't, a simple double track and a couple of pieces of plastic or glass will do. Some felt or man made gaskets around the tracks, will help keep water out, but can be overwhelmed with boarding water or heavy rain.
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