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Replacing your dodger windows, and making clears

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I just thought I'd write a little post about this. After being quoted over $700 to replace the windscreen in my dodger, I thought I'd give it a go. I read a bit about this and is seemed that the main issue is making sure the new clear does not stretch when you sew it in, causing wrinkles in the window - especially for those of us without a flash walking foot sewing machine. So, there are two ways to do this. Sew the new window over the old one, then cut out the old one, OR cut out the old one and use it as a pattern. I elected to do the 2nd option as the other one had already been done on my dodger, and I wanted to get rid of the excess old windows. Here is how it went;


I bought 5mx1.37m of clear (0.75mm), for $95.00. I intended to do the Dodger window, and then the cockpit clears as a 2nd priority. I have an industrial Sewing machine, but it is not a walking foot model. (courtesy of Black Panther!).

As the sewing machine had not been used or serviced for some time, first I did the needle timing and cleaned it and changed the oil (it's an oil bath machine built in to it's own table.) This is a very old machine, but I found a manual online for a similar model. I also bought some needles from the local sewing machine repair guy, $20.00 for 10.


I took off the Dodger, and, where the old clear was sewn in to the canvas, I used a permanent marker to put marks across the seam, at 90 degrees to the seam, every 10 cm or so, on the plastic window and on the canvas. I then cut the stitching holding the old (knackerd, brittle, and yellow strataglass window) to the canvas. The old window was then used as a pattern to cut out the new window. The permanent marker lines were copied from the old window to the new by simply making over them with the new window on the top of the old.


Then it was a matter of making sure the marks on the new window stayed aligned with the marks on the canvas (not entirely straightforward - the pressure of the foot of the sewing machine stretches the plastic). After playing with tensions and foot pressure, I got better at it, and the last of the seams were better than the first! It took me pretty much a day to do this, but much of this time was getting to grips with the sewing machine. I reckon I could do it again in 1/2 a day!


Here is a pic of the finished job;



With the remaining clear I made new cockpit clears with the same method, but I modified them a bit to be more waterproof around the zips;




So, the end result is not professional quality (stitching is a bit uneven!!) but next time will be better! You could do this on any good home sewing machine - it's not really heavy sewing like sails. For less than $150 I have all new clears and a new windscreen.


Maybe that will inspire someone else to have a go!

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Looks good Matt, not always easy because of the stretching issues you mentioned. The walking foot does make it easier. Really liked your clear directions regarding lining up the new with the old. Thanks. Hope you are not getting too battered by the weather. It's calm and clear here in Wellie!

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What an incredibly-timely report! I have been planning a re-stitch and re-glass of my dodger for months, and I have actually just finished renovating an industrial walking-foot sewing machine.blogger-image-988714084.jpg


The reason I haven't started is simple, I can't find anyone who will sell me some clear vinyl! When I call the marine upholstery places they offer to do the job for me (as you say..$$$), and fair enough, but then the vinyl supply house want to sell me 150m.


Can you please tell me where you managed to find the vinyl? What a great forum...seriously chuffed. :D

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No problem Island Moose. I got mine from www.shann.co.nz. They are in Westgate. They have a pretty good range, and were happy to cut whatever length I wanted. Tell them you hear about them here on Crew.org.nz, and that they should take out an Advert. We could use some more advertisers at this time!


Oh yeah, BP is right. Double sided tape. Use it to stick the new window to the canvas before you sew it - it helps to reduce the plastic stretch issue, AND to waterproof where the needle goes through.... :)

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Quoted $700, you went to the wrong place.. :)

A window replacement on a boat like our Davidson 35 with just a plain window (no zip) would take me 30-40 minutes. I only ever did the stick on new window, sew, cut out old window method.

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Tip for leaking dodger stitching.

Mask both sides of stitching (on the outside) and and apply sikaflex ms clear sealant. Works a treat and looks fine. Also the dodger often leaks where the st st frame touches it - sealant there works also.

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