December 9, 2016 Hours spent building to date: 3,148
Ray and I put in all the windows yesterday, and I did the finish work today.
These are really, really good windows. They are heavily constructed, fit and finish is Mercedes quality and they look great. They are called Motion Windows from Peninsula Glass in Vancouver Washington.
Since the are heavy, we did the big, sliding windows first, with Ray holding from the outside and me in the deckhouse clamping on the rings that trim the windows out inside and pull them down into butyl tape outside for a tight seal. They fit in the openings perfectly. Out of 12 windows, I think we only put small shims in three. We had all five of the big windows installed in under two hours.
The technology behind all this easy fitting is pretty interesting. You take exact measurements of all the openings and provide a lot of detail on the corner radius, location of the window, purpose, etc., and also provide pictures. Peninsula puts all this into a computer with their window specs, and shrinks everything a tiny bit. Then they pump that information out to the machines and people that make the windows. So you stick the window up into the hole, and in she goes!
Actually, the big windows were the easiest. We only ran into difficulty with the small, fixed windows that form the “windshield.” These were made from patterns that I provided and were a perfect fit. But they were a challenge to install for two reasons, neither one of which had anything to do with the windows themselves:
— To account for the curvature of the deck, these windows have angles all over the place. Trying to line up the clamp ring with my hands extended all the way over the dashboard and head sink, hold things steady and then drive a screw was tough. The ones where Ray could get a hand or wedge in were a lot easier, but on one window we just gave up and started over.
— Motion apparently doesn’t provide the butyl tape, and my supply ran short. So we used butyl tape from West Marine, which was actually good stuff and just the right width, but about 1/8 inch thick, compared to what I’d been using which was 1/16+. There was no way to shove these windows in from outside or clamp them, so it was sometimes tough to get the screws to “catch” and pull the clamp ring, thick tape and window together. We finally used a very small set of vice grips to pull the frame and window just close enough, and in two extreme cases, we used a longer screw to start pulling things together, then finished with the Motion-provided screw.
I tightened everything up one more time today, climbed all over the boat for a look and these babies are really tight into the butyl. Altogether, this process was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, and the windows look better than I had ever imagined they would.