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Old 24-01-2014, 17:24   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Ventura CA
Boat: Wylie 45' Custom
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Hard Dodger Window Replacments

I need to replace the Lexan windows in the hard dodger that I built about 6 years ago for my Wylie 45'. Yes I knew they would craze and get cloudy when I originally installed them, but that was then.
My first choice would be 1/4" tempered glass, this would be around $1000.00 for the 5 panes.
Other options include: 1/4" Safety glass at around $400+, Lexan around $250, Plexi under $150, I can cut the plastics myself.
A couple of points, the dodger is removable, epoxy/ply/fiber glass construction. I didn't built it to be bullet proof, but it is very solid (I can stand on it 180#) but I'm certain a solid green wave could take it away, or at the least carry away the windows.
I know if I use one of the glass options I probably won't have to revisit this again, however I can replace the plastic options several times before I reach the cost of glass. Opinions Please!
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Old 24-01-2014, 17:32   #2
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Re: Hard Dodger Window Replacments

Maybe depends on how difficult the replacement is. I like both the safety and cost of the plastics, but you would have to replace them again as they scratch, so if the installation isn't to difficult, I would use plastic again, and keep a set of templates for the windows so banging out a set is quite easy.
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Old 24-01-2014, 17:39   #3
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Re: Hard Dodger Window Replacments

Plan to use 2 piece self sealing weather proofing. It is a "rubber" bead with a spline. I haven't used this before. First installation was with S/S fasteners. If I do glass, drilling is not an option, I never really liked the fasteners.
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Old 24-01-2014, 19:41   #4
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Re: Hard Dodger Window Replacments

I would suggest an acrylic (plexi) over polycarbonates like lexan, simply because the acrylics tend to be strong enough and more scratch resistant.

But have you spent any time looking at the totally different grades of plastic that are available? In both acrylic and poly, there are literally dozens of different grades. Some are highly UV and scratch resistant. Others, which are commonly stocked, ARE NOT.

If your local supplier just sells "plexi" and "lexan" and doesn't mention they can order in many different plastics, you need a better supplier.

I'd confirm the strength of the rest of the hard dodger, then ask a reputable supplier what they have (what thickness) in what material with a similar strength but high resistance to UV and scratching.

A lot of scratching can be avoided by simply spraying down with fresh water to get any salt crystals off before wiping. And a lot of UV crazing is actually caused by petrochemicals in polishes and waxes.

A regular washing and buffing with Nexus series polishes will also keep them looking new for years.
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Old 26-01-2014, 20:51   #5
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Re: Hard Dodger Window Replacments

Safety glass is pretty strong and has better clarity than most plastics, a good glass shop should be able to cut it for you for a fair price if you have templates.
There should be a few shops in most inhabited areas to choose from. One plus is you could also choose from a number of tints if you so choose.
Doesn't scratch, cleans easily and if need be, can be replaced.
You can find it in most commercial glass shops.
I'm considering building a hard dodger for my current cruising boat so I've been thinking about the options for the windows as well. Tempered glass is nice but will break if hit hard enough or gets tweaked hard enough or hit on an edge, safety glass tends to break in less jagged pieces and presents less of a cut hazard after a failure. It has no issues with UV.
Lexan has a fixed life when exposed to UV.
Tested several grades of safety glass with my noggin as a youth in cars, it's tough stuff.
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Old 26-01-2014, 20:58   #6
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Re: Hard Dodger Window Replacments

One thing, if you go with safety glass or leaxn you need rubber seals to fit it to your frame, the beauty of that is that the glass will tend to push out of the rubber mounting seal under extreme pressure rather than break. Most times it can be put back in if it didn't fracture. I still like dedicated storm covers over large windows, something I ask about on all the super fancy deck saloon models I see at shows, you wouldn't believe the amount of rude answers I get from sales weasels at boat shows. One boat I was supposed to crew back from Bermuda suffered catastrophic failures due to stoved in deck saloon windows, the captain died in that incident.
Stuff happens.
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