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I am about to make some Teak companionway doors to replace my boards. And I would like to make them so that I can exchange the lexan panels for screens since I don't have a/c. I was wondering if anyone had made their own set of them and had any pointers in general, but most specifically on how to make the windows interchangeable while not able to leak?
Thanks
Andy
 

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The problem I see with that, is that most of the ways to make the lexan windows leak proof require installing them from the outside... and that means that a bad buy can uninstall them too...

The simplest way would be to have a rabbeted opening that the Lexan or Screen fits into, that has a groove and rubber seal in it... When the Lexan is in, the rabbet and rubber seal keep water out—but this works best if the lexan is installed from the exterior side...
 

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We have an acrylic dropboard for normal security, but I made a simple plywood facsimile, made some substantial cutouts in it and applied screening to it.

We simply choose which one to use based on the conditions we're in. If you have multiple drop boards you might choose to make one of them with screens and another with a lens and use them interchangeably as required.
 

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I've contemplated this upgrade too. I haven't got around to it yet, but have pretty much decided that when I do, I will not have the doors "replace" the boards.

Instead, I will mount the new doors just aft of the track for the boards. That way, we would use the doors for the most part while aboard, but still be able to drop the boards in place for more security (against weather, theft, etc).

I plan to build the doors with the screens permanently affixed, but have them somewhat recessed in a rabbet (as SD described) so that the acrylic windows (with gasket) can be set in place over them as needed. They'll be held in place by little wooden twisty toggle thingies. :)

Here is one vendor of companionway screens, etc, that might give you some ideas:

Glebe Creek Screenworks
 

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We have an acrylic dropboard for normal security, but I made a simple plywood facsimile, made some substantial cutouts in it and applied screening to it.

We simply choose which one to use based on the conditions we're in. If you have multiple drop boards you might choose to make one of them with screens and another with a lens and use them interchangeably as required.
My usual upper board is smoked acrylic also. We wanted some additional ventilation for overnights and this winter I made exactly what you're describing using 1/2" birch plywood ($10), some Pet-Safe screening (~$4) and scrap moulding. I sealed the edges with epoxy and finished with Cetol. Didn't go for teak to keep the cost down, especially since I'm not going to be using it all the time. I'm pleased with the results and the price was right :)



*When* (not if...) the screen gets $#&@'d, I can just pop off the trim moulding and staple in another panel.
 

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Same as ours only I used reg plywood and painted it instead. Works great, doesn't take a lot of space (but I have a single smallish drop board similar to yours shown)
 

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My boat has three drop boards and a lock to secure the boat when vacant. When we are aboard the three boards are stowed and we have a single piece (similar to Faster's) which is a frame with screen. This frame has quarter-round trim on the inside into which a smoke colored Lexan panel fits, secured with four butterfly toggles. For privacy I have had a white panel made as well.

Works great, keeps out insects, and provides shelter or privacy when needed.
 

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I have some great pictures on my laptop, which is at home I’ll try to upload them and post a link. In the mean time I’ll try to describe a set up I saw at the Seattle boat show.

They had companionway doors (barn style) that had glass on the outside and screens inside. There was trim all the way around but when you’d look at the top end of the door, there was a handle that when pulled up was attached to the glass. This looked like just a piece of trim. It sat in a channel, just like your hatch boards would.

Another description is they built the frames of each door out is say ½ stock. Then they placed screens on the inside of that and then finished the inside with trim. The outside had finish trim placed over the face frames but then overlapped the open area for the glass a ½” or so. There would be a small groove routed into the frame for the glass to slide in from the top.

Like they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

There was also a thin groove on the inside of the overhead slider rails that had a screen too. This retracted into the cabin top. You can open the slider, but then close a screen.

It was a really nice looking set up.
 

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We're all thinking of the same stuff - that's interesting.

I'm busy with mine as well. We also have three boards that get stowed when we're aboard. In our storm experience, they leaked like a holed bucket and made down below as dark as heck.

So I have decided to have a single piece toughened glass panel made in one piece to slot in when we need waterproof weather protection. Then the second set will be a stainless steel grate that is the same shape that goes in when we're on board and need security with ventilation.

The original boards will be used when we leave the boat and need just security.

The other thing that I have been thinking of is a central locking mechanism (automotive) that activates with a remote control. Then the locking is done from inside by remote control on the outside and no locks exist to be forced. The locking system can actually be made really strong without being unsightly.

"What happens when the batteries die and your central locking system fails?" you say. Well I'll put a pull cable from the locking mechanism to a locker on deck that is secured with a padlock. I reckon a thief who gets on board and sees a companionway with no locks at all on it will go off to find an easier target. I'm reasonably confident that he won't break open every locker on deck in the hope of finding a release. Maybe that's naive. :(
 

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I made a set of companionway doors from Red Oak that have replaceable panels. I rabbeted the sills and inserted an aluminum channel. The channel is .25" deep, and at the bottom I drilled some weep holes to allow any water to drain. The opening has a 1.5" batten that covers it and also is a mounting place for the hasp. It has been weather tight in some pretty good rain storms. The bottom has a bolt to lock it in place and the top is braced by a 1" channel so the doors can not be easily forced. The sliding cabin roof has a piece of oak attached to prevent the channel and panels from being raised when it is closed and locked.

I have pictures and a short article at ODAYOWNERS . COM under OWNER MODS / ODAY 23
 

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I built a set of hinged (lift off) doors years ago on our Viking 28, solid teak with louvres but not 'shutters' in the sense that they moved. It was a lot of work but looked great.. no pictures, unfortunately, long before digital ;)

I sawed the louvre slats out of lumber, planed/sanded, notched the side pieces to accept them.. as far as I know they are still OK nearly 25 years on.
 

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Louvres can be more easily made by dadoing the sides. cut a strip to tight fit the rabbit and cut into spacer bits. Rabit the ends of the plank to be slats and rip strips at same angle as spacer bits.Needs fou bits cut at 90 to start and finish filling the opening. Plan the number and size of bits and assemble with a dab of slow glue. Clamp mortice /tenons to finish. After 35 years, I still have x students come aboard and say"Wow, I helped make those."
 

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I'm considering converting my companionway boards to doors. Has anyone done this?
That's what my post above (#15) was about.. drop boards to hinged louvred doors.
 

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I have both plus some plexi ones. The best addition was a snap on Sunbrella cover that drapes down from the sliding companion way hatch cover. For the poster who was concerned about the UV degrading his newly varnished doors, this may be the ticket.
 
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My thoughts about companionway doors made from drop boards is very straightforward. Glue up the boards, seperate by cutting down the center, attach hinges and mound. Since the drop boards already fit the opening, no other cuts need to be made.
Bill
 
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