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Old 08-01-2017, 01:20 AM   #1
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Default Replacing Clear Vinyl of Isinglass

For 1.5 days of labor and $150 in materials, my side panels are replaced and clear again. This is versus $1,100 for new side panels from Leta's Top Shop. Not as perfect, but quite an improvement to get a few more years of service!
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:22 AM   #2
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Not bad at all for the money, who did the work?
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:35 AM   #3
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I did it myself. Laid out the side panels and trimmed down new clear 40 gauge vinyl to match. Used HH-66 vinyl cement on the margins and then trimmed out the old vinyl below the canvas line. I will probably take to someone this off-season to run a Teflon stitch around the perimeters. All materials available through Amazon and I have never done a project like this before.
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:44 AM   #4
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Looks great. Did you cut out the old before putting in the new? What material did you use for the windows?

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Old 08-01-2017, 01:52 AM   #5
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*Do Not* cut out the old before cementing the new material in place. This keeps the shape of your panels intact. The cement (HH-66) tries in minutes (actual cure is 24 hours, but you don't need to wait for that), so trim out can occur once you finish each panel. I used two seam and screen rollers from Lowes to make sure I had good compression/contact on the cementing margins which made the work go easily.

The material is 40 gauge clear vinyl from Fabric.com purchased via Amazon.com. It took approximately 9 yards at $14/yard to do a four panels with room to spare. As long as you take your time and have a large table (I used the dining room table) to lay out your pieces it is straight-forward.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:04 AM   #6
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Does this clear vinyl have UV protectant? If not may hold up more than a few years at best but doesn't sound like you're expecting more than that.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:11 PM   #7
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Yes - the seller confirmed it was outdoor and UVA rated. BTW, the vinyl cement has done exceedingly well in the almost 100 degree days (not to mention what the interior temp must have reached). I am planning on adding the perimeter stitch simply because I tend to over-engineer things. This project past muster with a very picky first mate. I will try to submit a few close-up picks this weekend of the cement joints to show how good a solution this is for getting one more lifecycle out of panels. While we bought this boat in May 2015, the side panels are the original equipment. We only replaced the bimini through Leta's.
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Old 08-03-2017, 02:24 AM   #8
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Did you cement the new vinyl to the old vinyl or to the canvas material?
Looks great by the way.
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Old 08-03-2017, 11:30 AM   #9
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Thanks - and good question. The cement works on vinyl to vinyl contact since it creates a chemical bond. I hope to submit some close-up pics this weekend with a little more detail on the process I used.
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Old 08-03-2017, 05:24 PM   #10
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I would love to see those pics as well I'm contemplating doing the same thing...

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Old 08-03-2017, 09:48 PM   #11
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Did you have to adjust the sizing for age shrinkage? I've been thinking about doing this too.
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:05 PM   #12
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Isinglass Clear Vinyl Replacement
Materials and Tools:
• Clear Vinyl (don’t cut it too close)
• HH-66 Vinyl Cement
• Small amount of mineral spirits
• Sharp Scissors
• Utility Knife
• Spline Roller Tool (highly recommended)
• Carpet Seam Roller (highly recommended)
• Sheet or clean drop cloth and large working surface
• Drill with a 3/16th or so drill bit
• Vice Grips or Channel Locks
• Leather Punch (makes holes for snaps or you can use a knife)
• Snap Tool/Pliers
• Snap sets
Process:
1. Use the Vice Grips to hold the snap head of any snaps that go through your existing clear vinyl, then use the drill to drill-out the inside of the snap so you can remove them.
2. Clean the inside of the existing clear vinyl since this is what you will attach to and you don’t want to scratch your new vinyl
3. Lay out the isinglass piece with the interior side up. Roll out the clear vinyl (I left the separation paper between the old and new to make it easier to move the new vinyl into place) and do a rough cut. I left 1-2” of excess on all sides to allow for stretching during installation. You will trim this off later. You do not want to cut an exact fit at this stage!
4. Position the new vinyl and remove the separation paper. Smooth out the new vinyl into its final position.
5. Start with the longest edge and begin to put a thin layer of vinyl cement on the old vinyl edge working about 8” at a time. Pausing to let the cement dry a little before pressing the new vinyl. Use the spline roller for tight seam areas and go over all seams with the smooth carpet seam roller.
6. Be patient and sparing with the cement! It is strong stuff and will chemically react with the vinyl, so you do not want to have excess squeeze into your viewing area. Mineral spirits can be used sparingly for clean-up.
7. Work the largest end next and in the same fashion. When the two sides are complete, re-smooth the new vinyl before going to the other end. Do the “top” edge last.
8. Lay the completed panel aside in a flat area so you can work on the next panel.
9. When all panels are completed, return to the first panel and trim off the excess new vinyl. This will also allow you to see if some edges were missed or need cement touch-up. Next, you need to find an air pocket between the new and old vinyl, preferably in a corner. You may need to twist the panel or flip it in order to find or make one. You need just enough to carefully insert your utility or X-acto knife so you can get about an inch of cut. Once you have that, the scissors are the best tool to trim out the old vinyl. They are least likely to accidentally cut your new vinyl in the trimming process. If necessary, use the utility or X-acto knife for detailed trimming.
10. Use a fabric punch to put holes through the new vinyl in preparation for compressing your new snaps back into place with the snap tool. Optional: For some of the snap surfaces, you may want to add weather stripping to help reduce any water leaks you may have had before. I used weather stripping from Lowes and have had great results as long as I did not rely on the adhesive backing and ran these where snaps would hold them into place.
11. I have found that the cement is generally ready to go at this point. I put my panels on my boat the same day and they were rained on in 24 hours. I did notice that during this time it was 90+ degrees for a while, so there was some cement that got on sections due to the heat since the cement had not fully cured. If this happens, mineral spirits used sparingly worked great to get this goo off. You should not have this problem if the pieces are allowed to cure, especially in more reasonable temperatures.
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:11 PM   #13
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Default Close-ups

Here are some close-ups of the cemented edges. Note that some tight areas like the front zipper panels required that I take out one of the two stitch hems to provide enough contact area under the zipper with the old vinyl. This is one reason I am considering strengthening the edges with a hem (over the winter). The edges and seams have held up fine and without issue for two months, extreme heat (almost 100 degrees for two plus weeks), several weekend trips, and rain/hail storms.
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:16 PM   #14
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Default Close-ups and Weather Stripping

These show where I added weather stripping to improve water protection for the cockpit. This also shows an enhancement I made by wrapping the new vinyl to create an external channel that has significantly reduced water intrusion.
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Old 08-05-2017, 11:25 AM   #15
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To ertyqway: Unfortunately, if the panels have shrunk over time, then this vinyl replacement is not likely to fix or help much. My isinglass is the original (20 years old now) and had some shrinkage. I have adjusted the bimini supports and I replaced 4 of the set screws with thumb screws so that I can adjust these supports when the panels are in place or not so the bimini doesn't flap in the breeze. Since you need to take the snaps off in the process of replacing the vinyl, it did give me the opportunity to reposition a few snaps to fix some of the issues. Here are the thumb screws I used.
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