This forum is great ! So much information from people with so much more experience than I have. Here's where I'm at with the portlights
Took them down and soaked in a vinegar bath. Got a plastic serve-n-store from the grocery store, so that I can put the lid on overnight, which prevents me from kicking it over in the dark. After a day of soaking, all the nasty corrosion
comes right off. I used a green scotch pad, but didn't have to rub hard at all. The best thing was that this loosened the crust covering the little screws.
As another poster said, you have to be careful removing the screws. Make sure to clean out the slot with a small screwdriver or utility knife before unscrewing them. Take the screws out and don't lose them !
Then I pulled the two frames (inner and outer) apart. Easy. What was weird was that a pane of glass stuck to each of them - the nasty glass is indeed laminated safety
glass, like another poster surmised. In between is the vinyl laminating sheet and all the gunk which penetrated and caused the glazing failure Blueman Sailor and myself described.
The glass is held in with some nasty black stuff, maybe 5200 ? Anyway, if you press hard, the glass will come out, and you can then go after the black stuff. Vinegar will not do it. I changed out the bath for mineral spirits. Someone else suggested acetone, but this is not my favorite chemical to have in large quantity inside my boat. The mineral spirits worked fine. I soaked for two days, then used a putty knife to scrape out the black goo, then a heavy duty mini wire toothbrush (Lincoln Electric
welding) to get the rest of the black off.
I tried contacting Select Plastics, who are supposed to be the kings of cast acrylic
replacement glazing. Tried three or four times over the course of a week, using their online contact form and email
, and never had a response. Pretty lame. Went to a local glass shop who said he could do the same laminated glass as I had - $200 for 12 pieces. But I wonder if laminated glass is prone to separating in that use. There's nothing to seal the edges where the joint is, except the silicone you bed
it in. Called the woodshop at the nearest boatyard and they said they do cast acrylic (plexiglass) pieces all the time. Brought in the old glass, which they used for a template. One day later I had all 12 portlights
done in 1/4 inch cast acrylic for $100. Fantastic !
They don't have Sika and Dow sealers here, but the woodshop guys recommended Boat Life silicone caulk, which is available at the marine
supply store in small tubes or in the gun tubes.
Once I get the rubber seals
, I will proceed. I bought some cheap
seal material at Home Depot to check the size, and 3/8 inch seems right. This is 9.5 mm, and one poster said he used 10 mm for a tighter fit. I think this sounds right, but McMaster Carr only carries Imperial sizes. I am looking at a few different kinds of material - oddly, McM Carr will not recommend a product for a use, or say anything about their products other than what is posted on the website. What a world. Stay tuned.