1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The New Windshield Frames

While trying to recover from the theft loss in May 2014, I discovered that the foundry that made the windshield frame extrusions can still make new ones. Unfortunately, they make extrusions in 600 lbs runs, and there were five different extrusions stolen. I’d need 3,000lbs worth of new extrusions run to replace the 3~9 feet worth of stolen extrusions. To say this was cost prohibitive would be an understatement. I also had already bought new 1/4″ tinted safety glass for the windshield, and 1,000 of those funky #6 undercut head Philips screws that held the OE windshield together. If anybody with a sister ship needs new glass or screws, drop me a line.

The benefit of having to start nearly from scratch is that you can take advantage of all of the technical advancements that have happened since 1969 when our Roamer 46 was made. So, instead of having a complex structure made of hundreds of components (i.e. all of those screws and connectors holding the old frames together), I decided to go with the same basic four-pane design, with a large center upper windshield that opens, but I’ll use a welded frame and the same modern solution that worked well for the clamp-in bow seat windows. But first, the fabricator’s got to get the new frames fitted and welded together.

Prepping for welding over a brand new Awlgrip paint job

Prepping for welding over a brand new Awlgrip paint job

First, I bought a gross of virgin moving blankets to protect the paint from scratches. Then we taped the tough, diamond-pattern floor plastic over the top of the blankets. On the flat parts of the helm dashboard, I cut 1/4″ ply to fit. Finally, we taped corrugated paper over everything else in the vicinity of where the tack welding would be done, since welding dingleberries will burn through plastic and moving blankets, but plywood and cardboard can take the heat. The fabricator’s time is expensive, so I didn’t have time to snap off a pic when all of the fun work was going on, but the results are looking promising.

Fit on the bottom looks good, but there's that little gap on the leading edge

The OE frames had joints between each extrusion, and the glass was inset

New frames are a simpler, welded design

Windshield frame upright extrusions are open-ended

OE frame uprights were open-ended, making it difficult to seal out the elements

New frames are closed on the ends, giving lots of contact area for the bedding compound

New frames are closed on the ends, giving lots of contact area for the bedding compound

It isn't long enough to reach the cabin top!

The OE frames no longer fit well to the cabin top

The new frames fit well

The frames will fit better after they’ve gone to the paint shop and had a wee bit of fairing done to them.

Looks OK at the top

The old frame fit OK at the top corners

But the new frames look lots better.

But the new frames look lots better

The weld in the corners was getting in the way of the frame seating properly at the hardtop. Once that’s cleaned up, we’ll have a nice, tight fit.

Off the boat and back to the fabricator's shop

Off the boat and back to the fabricator’s shop

Hopefully, the fabricator will finish the windshield frame so I can get it to the painter and back by Christmas or sooner.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: (previously) Hateful Portlights and Bow Hatch Back from the Paint Shop

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2 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The New Windshield Frames

  1. John Casteeel says:

    Can’t wait to see the finished project. This will be a beautiful boat in spite of all of the setbacks.

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