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Old 01-09-2017, 09:09 AM   #1
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Default Center Console Pilothouse Conversion Project

So Ive finally decided to take the plunge and build a doghouse for my boat. this was supposed to be last years project but I wound up buying a house and didn't have the time. well the canvas is completely shot after last season.


Ive got it down to 2 concepts, either a vertical windshield mimicking what I have now in canvas form or give it a forward rake.



Heres the original enclosure



heres the first concept. this pretty much mimics the canvas as far as asthetetics, and would be much easier to build than the next option.



Option 2, a forward raked windshield and single side window. the only benefit I can realize from this configuration is reduced glare at night.


I plan on building with Coosa Board and vinylester resin. the windows will be tempered glass and probably set in rubber gasket (i dont have the money for aluminum framed glass at the moment)

also going to use the exiting hardtop with the perimeter frame and grab rails to retain some form and rigidity.



The console has a great ledge built into it to attach the coosa board sides but corners of the console are round. Im thinking of using fiberglass tube to make the transition from the front to the sides, if I go vertical with the windshield this will be easy, but if I rake it forward it gets geometric......



I also plan to re-purpose these struts to help tie the console together and give some rigidity to it.

i will also try to add a brow to the top with a gutter system and incorporate drains in 2 1" down pipes behind the leaning post.

the rest of the house will have full length roll up canvas sides that can also snap out to the gunnels when running and a removable winter hardback.

also considering a bus heater if time permits...

Any and all help/ criticism is greatly encouraged!

Last edited by CMEBoston; Yesterday at 05:59 AM.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:10 AM   #2
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Spent last night getting heat in the shed.... need a little more reflective insulation and ill be good to go!

heres some pics of her cacoon





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Old 01-09-2017, 09:24 AM   #3
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I like the fwd lean, I think it works well with the boat and the glare benefits.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:30 AM   #4
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I like the fwd lean, I think it works well with the boat and the glare benefits.
thanks for the feedback!
Im still torn.... Ive been running her for 6 years without the forward rake. I think the straight house looks more traditional..... ill make up my mind sooner or later, still got alot of prep to do.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:06 AM   #5
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Ill be watching closely as i will be building a dog hose from scratch here in a couple months as well.

The only thing i can add from all my research is be careful with the weight of the sides and especially the hardtop
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:15 AM   #6
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Fwd rake looks meaner
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:19 AM   #7
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I like the forward rake also. As stated, watch weight. Good luck.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:44 AM   #8
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The other two big upsides to forward rake (which is super common here) are:

1) extra room. A cabin with a forward rake gives you a bunch of space up top for electronics, and makes the dash top more useful than a rear rake. Compared to a vertical windshield, you'll have more room up top but the dash won't be much different.

2) A forward raked windshield clears itself of spray faster because wind and gravity work together to clear the surface.


So there are benefits but only you can decide whether they're worth the extra work. The clearing effect is nice and the glare factor that you mentioned is also great if you run at night. That said, personally I have an aft-raked windshield and wouldn't change that on my boat for a whole different set of reasons. So it's not necessarily worth it. It really depends on the boat and the application.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:52 AM   #9
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Another vote for the forward rake on the windshield. Not that you asked but I think you can skip the use of coosa and save yourself some weight and money by using another composite material unless you really want the heavier duty core. I'd suggest using 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch divinicell for the sides and front. This stuff is light as a feather and really tough when glassed. If it were me I'd use 3/4 or 1 inch nidacore for the top. It conforms to a curve very well when the bottom of the top is layed up first then you clamp it down and glass the top in the convex position.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:20 AM   #10
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One more vote for the forward rake.

I also think the single side windows will be easier and cheaper to execute.

Cool project.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:22 AM   #11
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Is that propane heater as close to the plastic as it looks?
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:39 AM   #12
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I was mistaken, A friend of mine is giving me some Nida-core panels, not Coosa Board. ill be re-using the existing top and leaving the perimeter aluminum frame and cross supports. I dont think ill have time to finish if I try and make a whole new top (that i dont really need anyway)
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:41 AM   #13
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Is that propane heater as close to the plastic as it looks?
no its about 6 ft from the back wall and 3 ft from the ceiling.. I made a stand to hold the bottle behind the boat instead of it sitting on the transom like that.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:45 AM   #14
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I missed that you already have a good hard top. That makes everything easier. lol. You'll like working with the nidacore if you haven't already. Just make sure that after you cut the window openings that you dig out some of the plastic core then fill with resin thickened with fumed silica. fumed silica is hard as shit to sand but a grinder will knock down the sharp stuff and is perfect for finishing off the nida openings. After that you can use fairing putty to get it smooth as you would want it.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:46 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by HarvestTime View Post
Ill be watching closely as i will be building a dog hose from scratch here in a couple months as well.

The only thing i can add from all my research is be careful with the weight of the sides and especially the hardtop
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I like the forward rake also. As stated, watch weight. Good luck.
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Originally Posted by 85diver View Post
Another vote for the forward rake on the windshield. Not that you asked but I think you can skip the use of coosa and save yourself some weight and money by using another composite material unless you really want the heavier duty core. I'd suggest using 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch divinicell for the sides and front. This stuff is light as a feather and really tough when glassed. If it were me I'd use 3/4 or 1 inch nidacore for the top. It conforms to a curve very well when the bottom of the top is layed up first then you clamp it down and glass the top in the convex position.
ill look into the dyvinicell, but like I said im getting a bunch of Nida-core honeycomb material as a gift so Id really like to utilize it.... not sure why I said Coosa... brain fart i guess
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:49 AM   #16
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I missed that you already have a good hard top. That makes everything easier. lol. You'll like working with the nidacore if you haven't already. Just make sure that after you cut the window openings that you dig out some of the plastic core then fill with resin thickened with fumed silica. fumed silica is hard as shit to sand but a grinder will knock down the sharp stuff and is perfect for finishing off the nida openings. After that you can use fairing putty to get it smooth as you would want it.
Never worked with it, Im a poor boy thats always used A-B plywood. I think i can get the weight down quite a bit maybe less than the existing tube frame. It needs to be strong enough to hold a 65lb open array radar and possibly a liferaft should the regulations change and force me to have a hard pack instead of a valise. thats the main reason for the rear support legs
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:54 AM   #17
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The other two big upsides to forward rake (which is super common here) are:

1) extra room. A cabin with a forward rake gives you a bunch of space up top for electronics, and makes the dash top more useful than a rear rake. Compared to a vertical windshield, you'll have more room up top but the dash won't be much different.

2) A forward raked windshield clears itself of spray faster because wind and gravity work together to clear the surface.


So there are benefits but only you can decide whether they're worth the extra work. The clearing effect is nice and the glare factor that you mentioned is also great if you run at night. That said, personally I have an aft-raked windshield and wouldn't change that on my boat for a whole different set of reasons. So it's not necessarily worth it. It really depends on the boat and the application.
all my electronics are flush mounted, Ill be ditching the existing overhead box as Im trying to drop the top 4-5" the only thing overhead will be 2 VHF radios and a stereo.
I think the forward rake will be worth the effort, my main concern is nighttime glare. I do alot of night fishing and at 18kts, alot of steaming in the dark lol
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:15 PM   #18
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I like the fwd lean, I think it works well with the boat and the glare benefits.
+2. Big help in reducing glare from sun, but especially internal glare when running after dark, too.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:25 AM   #19
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Productive evening last night. Got the top off, now I've got to figure out how to get it out of the shed!

I think I'm going to change the plan and skip using the inside aluminum frame for support. I'm going to have to re-enforce the roof with core material but in the end I think it's the better choice, I wanna do this right.


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Old 01-11-2017, 02:43 PM   #20
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I found making a mock up out of luan or something similar really helped me get things dialed in before I stared cutting my more expensive core materials. It actually saved a lot of time in the end. Sight lines, electronic placement and just general logistics were made so much easier.

Look forward to following your progress.......
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