Sunday, December 30, 2012

Window framing

Life and boat building have collided a bit as of late and, life won out. Now that the holidays have passed, boat building work can resume. As you can see from this picture, Winter has also settled in to our piece of the world, so the pace of life has slowed.

The foam is all trimmed, but the window openings still need some work. The work required by the openings is as much about the finished look as it is still prepping the rough openings. The rough opening in the metal is correct, but I still need to finish the opening so that the clamp ring for the window  has something to grab against. Typically, windows can either be bolted to a metal hull, or the style I have which utilizes a clamp ring to attach the window.

The wall thickness required for the windows is different than the wall thickness created by the frames on the design. The two wall thickness's add some work, and design challenge regarding  how the finish work will look.  Fitting the clamp ring  surface now vs at the launch site will shave mega hours off of this job and keep frustration at bay.

Since all the window openings in the Salon are the same, I decided to start there. I decided to build all the frames on the work bench vs framing each opening in pieces. The first order of the build was deciding how I was going to join the styles and rails of the frames. I'm partial to using pocket screws, but given the 1/2" thick plywood I was using, my prototype pocket screw frame turned out not near rigid enough. So given the pocket screw frame failure, I decided  to use biscuits. While biscuits take more time than pocket screws, they turned out to be the right method for this particular job.

Because I have radius window's, I had to make these frame with a radius inside corners. To make things easier, I cut the whole radius on the style pieces ( vertical piece). I made the style wide enough to accept a cleat later so I can trim the finish wall material neat to the clamp ring.  I don't need a cleat along the rail as the window will have some sort of sill on the bottom, and wall material on the header will have plenty to screw to above the window. Once I figured out the width of the style, I made a pattern, then transferred that to my work and cut it on the band saw.



I have enough clamps to do three window frames at a time. After an hour in the clamp, the  glue was set enough to un clamp the frames and clamp three more. I gave the frames a day for the glue to cure before I fit them in the openings. Fitting the frames required no more than pinning them in place using my brad nail er and some 1 1/4" brads. While doing the metal work to the super structure,  I had carefully bolted blocks the the metal so that when the 1/2" plywood was nailed to the blocking, the wall thickness would be exactly 2 1/4". Once the window clamping frames were installed,  I had to see how easily the windows installed, and how they looked against the cherry plywood. I love how the clamp rings pull the windows tight to the metal, and I love how well the radius looks. I also very happy  how fast the clamp ring is to work with. In terms of long term maintenance, the clamp ring should be more user friendly vs drilling 20 holes per window in the metal.  Once the windows are bedded in with the recommended sealant, I have zero concerns about these leaking. For the re fit of my previous boat,  I used the same windows ( Motion Windows Inc.)  and they gave me nothing but trouble free service. I'm happy to see the window  manufacturer has changed some things around and for sure improved on their design and manufacturing process.

I used Cherry plywood to build the frames, so if I want to stop at this layer of finish work, the clamp ring/frame joint will look good. I think I might add another piece to the finish work regarding window trim, so the cherry might get buried. Either way, I have it beat now. As soon as I finish the wheel house frames,  I'll go ahead and put three coats of Urethane on the frames, and then they'll be ready for the final install of the windows once we get to the launch site. There's three or four days worth of work ( in the warm shop ) prepping the openings to accept the windows, but once  I have it completed, it should only take two of us a couple of hours to get all the windows  installed once I land the super structure to the hull. It's important to me to be able to quickly have the boat  weather tight once she leaves the barn.

Temperatures are going to drop in to the teens tonight, so I have the wood boiler running  hard and the radiant floor heat has the shop floor up to about 90 degrees. The rest of the building is about 65 degrees and all is good in Conall-ville.




  1. Looking good Conall - and man I envy your warm, well equipped shop next to your house.

  2. I know you can relate Norm. It sure is nice walking around on a heated slab and makes this type of work enjoyable. While I'm itching to get her moved to the launch site, I might as well wait on the weather and make use of the asset I've built.

  3. Hi,

    The aluminum around the window frames dulls and flakes away. Part of the pleasure of owning a boat is having it look new and clean. Go over the framing with a rag to take off dust and residue. Thanks a lot......