29
Jun
09

Feather Craft Vagabond Part Ten: A Boat Under Glass…

I had some difficulty with the windshield on the Vagabond.  I was never terribly wild about the original design as ordered from the factory.  However, a member of our Feather Craft “Rivet-heads” sent me a template he used that was sent to him from another “Rivert-heads” in Canada.

This template was made of old newspaper.  I took it to the local glass company.  No one said “Hey this paper template will never work.  It’s too flimsy!”.  The thought had occurred to me, but I assumed if this was a problem, they would mention it.

A week passed by, and the call came that my smoked Plexiglas, custom cut windshield parts were ready for pickup.  I immediately went to the shop and picked them up and upon placing them on the boat found there were no straight edges to be found.

I’m sorry, but common sense would dictate that any reasonable person would want smooth edges, not edges that have an uneven contour.  These parts were unacceptable.  I called the company who asked me to bring everything in, and while they offered to re-cut them, they asked me to make a cardboard template.

My feeling was that if I was going to make a wooden template, I might as well just cut my own plexi with a router.  I asked if the vendor would be okay with meeting me half way by cutting 1/4 inch Plexiglas slightly larger than I needed, then I could make the template and cut the windshield to my desire.

They were thrilled!  And off the hook. 

Tonight I set about making a template using 1/4 inch luan plywood for a pattern.  Using the tattered old newspaper pattern, and eyeballing for nice curved edges, a drum sander was used to fix all the imperfections as needed.  Double sided carpet tape was used to hold the wood pattern to the Plexiglas.  My trusty Bosch router and a pattern bit was used to make the cuts.

This is the shape of the original Feather Craft windshield.  The roll of carpet tap is in front of the pattern.

This is the shape of the original Feather Craft windshield. The roll of carpet tap is in front of the pattern.

our windshield is a variation on the original pattern.  The top and bottom curvature is the same, but the surface area has be increased in height.

Our windshield is a variation on the original pattern. The top and bottom curvature is the same, but the surface area has be increased in height.

 

The problem with routers are they create a mess.  Routing Plexiglas is the worst mess ever, as every little shaving is charged with static…and it clings to everything.

It's beginning to look like winter in the shop...ehh?

It's beginning to look like winter in the shop...ehh?

 

Using rubber gasket for this application that was purchased on that auction site, the finished windshield is mounted in place.

Using rubber gasket for this application that was purchased on that auction site, the finished windshield is mounted in place.

 

Our Helmsman's position is beginning to look like it is ready for duty.

Our Helmsman's position is beginning to look like it is ready for duty.

 

I still need to work on the back flooring/decking. since the weather is calling for rain, that work can be done in the shop over the next few days.  Then the electrical should be ready for install, and some fine tuning…we’ll be ready for a shake-down run.

Stay tuned…

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3 Responses to “Feather Craft Vagabond Part Ten: A Boat Under Glass…”


  1. August 19, 2009 at 5:42 am

    thanks for your great work! looks beautiful…
    sentimental journey alright!
    when is the boat going in the water?

    was “cruising” thru chris craft picts
    on-line… found your site!

    look up my blog…
    ain’t about boats
    english/ french language on it. . .

    but was messing around
    on boats like chris-craft
    when a kid.

    keep up the good work!

  2. 2 Nick P
    May 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I have recently acquired a ’54 Vagabond, that I am in the process of restoring. I really like the windshield design you have used for your boat….the only problem is, I can’t seem to find the paper template you spoke of anywhere on the net. I was hoping you could point me in the right direction. Also, where did you come up with those nice windshield mounts? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.


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