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  1. #1
    Petty Officer 2nd Class jburn25's Avatar
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    Default Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    Hi, I recently purchased a 17' aluminum flat boat with a center console. Boat is in great shape etc but the original owner never had a windshield on the console. I have found a few places that sell (cabelas) plexiglass boat windshields that should fit my 24" wide aluminum console just fine. However, I have not been able to find any one that sells the grab bars that you typically see going over the top of center console boat windshields.

    I'm looking for a metal grab rail that will attach the the console on both sides and travel over the windshield.

    If you know of anyone that sells these, please let me know. Worse case scenario, I guess I could try and get someone to fabricate one for me.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    The only time I have seen them sold is with a brand new console, so the bar is custom made for that console. I think you might be better off having a local shop or person fab one up for you. That way you don't have to try to make something fit, and you can have it just like you want it. Of course this option will cost a little more green. If you're really on a budget, you could just try waiting for one that would work to pop up on craigslist, I have only ever seen very few though. You have a few options but the dilemma is, as it always is for us boat owners, how much do you want to spend?
    15.5 fiberglass CC, 1973 65 hp E'rude "the beast"

  3. #3
    Lieutenant Commander arks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    Good luck. I had the same problem with my home-made console. I ended up fabricating my own lexan windshield and bending some 3/4" EMT conduit for a grab bar. Works OK but I'd prefer the bar to be a little bigger in diameter. No rust yet, but it's only been a year and I boat in brackish water.
    "Winter Dream"
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  4. #4
    Petty Officer 2nd Class jburn25's Avatar
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    Arks, that grab bar looks great to me. My boat is a green flat bottom so I'll probably end up painting the grab bar black with some spray on bedliner so I'm not particular worried about rusting anyway. How did you attach it to the console? I'm guessing you had to make a 90 degree bend and then weld on a plate of some sort with bolt holes? Also, can you give me an estimate of how long of a piece of EMT you used? I'm going to try and find somewhere locally (shreveport, LA) to pick some up and just wondering approx how much material you used.

    thanks!

  5. #5
    Moderator Bob_VT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    This is probably not going to be cheap but it will work.

    Get some 1" or larger stainless steel tubing and have a muffler shop install the bends in it. The hydraulic machine will do a fine job. They can even expand or collase and end for making a slip fit.
    This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
    Please, shop iboats first!!


  6. #6
    Lieutenant Commander arks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by jburn25 View Post
    How did you attach it to the console? I'm guessing you had to make a 90 degree bend and then weld on a plate of some sort with bolt holes?
    I just drilled holes right thru the pipe and sides of the console. Used 1/4" bolts with washers and nuts. No big deal.

    Quote Originally Posted by jburn25 View Post
    Also, can you give me an estimate of how long of a piece of EMT you used? I'm going to try and find somewhere locally (shreveport, LA) to pick some up and just wondering approx how much material you used.
    Well, if I was better at bending pipe I would've used less than 1-10' piece. I wasted probably 30 or 40 feet.
    I finally figured out to make a pattern on plywood and bend it to match. DUH
    "Winter Dream"
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  7. #7
    Petty Officer 2nd Class jburn25's Avatar
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    Ok, well I guess I'll give that EMT a try. If it doesn't seem like its going to be solid enough in 1" pipe I might try stainless, but I don't even know where to by a stainless pipe like that.

    thanks

  8. #8
    DJ
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar


  9. #9
    Petty Officer 2nd Class txmntman's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    ok, guys. Based on Arks work, I tried fabricating a grab rail today (actually 2). I used 3/4 inch EMT (10 ft for $7.00) and I bought a mechanical bender ($26.00). I drilled holes directly thought the tube and used small bolts to mount. Therefore, total cost for both rails was about $34!!!

    The bending of the tubing was easy and came out looking very professional. I'll get pictures up soon. This was a problem that turned out to be a very easy and good looking solution.....Thanks ARK!!!!

  10. #10
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    congrats.
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  11. #11
    Lieutenant Commander arks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    Your welcome.
    It's always nice to help a fellow iboater.


    "Winter Dream"
    Silverton 34C
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    Wellcraft 23 Nova XL

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  12. #12
    Petty Officer 2nd Class jburn25's Avatar
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    Wanted to update about the windshield and grab bar situation in case others are wondering about how to do it on their own boats.

    I ended up buying a plexiglass windshield from cabelas and I'm really impressed with it. It's very sturdy and was the exact size I needed. From my research with other companies, I'd say the cabelas windshield is the best for the money. Only thing is if you are mounting it on aluminum make sure you have some sort of padding underneath it to absorb some vibrations so that the screws don't rattle loose and/or shear because I had that problem. My console isn't completely even so I ended up putting hydroturf on the whole surface which helps even out the load on the windshield when I tighten it down.

    As far as the grab bar, I took Arks advice and went with 3/4" EMT and bought a mechanical bender. I did waste a couple poles trying to get the thing perfect, but I think the finished product came out pretty good. I put two 90 degree bends in the pole to get it up and around the windshield and experimented with bending the poles at the top so they would be parallel with the windshield but it didn't give enough room for your hands so I just left it straight. I also made some spacers out of marine plywood that keep the EMT off the side of the console so there's space to grab the bar and/or attach things. I used 1/4" stainless steel bolts through the bar, through the spacers, and into the aluminum console with large fender washers on the inside.

    I'll try and post some pictures later once I get it all painted and everything in case anyone else is working on a similar project.

    -Jordan
    Last edited by jburn25; February 19th, 2009 at 10:01 PM.

  13. #13
    Petty Officer 2nd Class jburn25's Avatar
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    Here's the pictures of the semi-final product in case anyone else is interested in doing this the same way. Made the spacers out of 3/4" plywood using a skil saw and cut the semi-circles for the rail to sit in with a drill. Very simple process. 1/4" stainless carriage bolts through the console. Rail is spray painted with bedliner in a can from auto zone.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Lieutenant Commander arks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Center Console Windshield and Grab Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by jburn25 View Post
    Here's the pictures of the semi-final product in case anyone else is interested in doing this the same way. Made the spacers out of 3/4" plywood using a skil saw and cut the semi-circles for the rail to sit in with a drill. Very simple process. 1/4" stainless carriage bolts through the console. Rail is spray painted with bedliner in a can from auto zone.
    Nice job! I like the look with spacers- might have to retrofit my rig.
    "Winter Dream"
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    Wellcraft 23 Nova XL

    Lowe 1448 BigJon
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