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Old 07-18-2004, 12:23 PM
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windshields

Hello,
I am restoring a chevy truck. When it was purchased it came with a chopped top (4") with no windshield. I am now in the process of trying to cut and install a new glass windshield but am finding it difficult. I have tried sandblasting and scoring but the glass cracks. In the process of that I now realize that the shape of the windshield keeps coming out too short once it's cut to fit the truck. I made a temp-plate and was successful in cutting out a windshield in plexiglass so I now have the proper angles and length. My question is, now that I have my temp-plate, would I be able to find a different year of chevy windshield, since the actual 63 windshield keeps coming up a little short around the bends, that would allow me to be successful in cutting it with no cracking.
My best success with the least cracking was with sandblasting but I was unable to keep it cool enough. Does anyone have any sugestions on this.

Thanks!!
bill66di

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Old 07-18-2004, 03:22 PM
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They have to be cut with a water jet. Pontiac Industrial Glass in Pontiac Mi.
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Old 07-18-2004, 10:17 PM
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Welcome to Hotrodders. Moving this thread to a more appropriate forum to get you some better exposure and help for your question.
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Old 07-19-2004, 08:38 AM
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FIrst off, what model truck is it? That will make a BIG difference on how you continue the project. If it is flat glass, shouldn't be a problem for any glass shop. If it is curved, it will be harder to find someone. If it is really curved like a wrap around 57 Chevy truck, you may have more work than the glass. A lot of top chops are sold as you bought yours because they found out they the glass couldn't be cut to fit. When some tops are chopped the "hole" for the glass is changed. You can't "change" the shape of the glass to fit it. The top needs to be changed to fit the now cut glass.


The curved windshield is the biggest obstacle to overcome on a top chop project. This was the hardest lesson I ever learned about chopping, it was a 1956 Chevy truck and some jerk wasted $900.00 of my money trying to cut three new windshields of mine before he gave up! So, this is how you fix the problem.....

Get a new windshield. Using that glass, make a fiberglass "windshield". Go to TAP Plastics (they are all over the country, if not there may be another fiberglass/plastic specialty place near you) and get info on doing this. In a nut shell you need to turn the glass up side down, supporting it as good as you can so it doesn't flex. It is very heavy and it WILL flex. I used rolled up towels and things so it wouldn't get scratched. Now you wax the glass, and start laying fiberglass mat soaked with resin on the waxed glass. Be sure to press or "roll" out the air so you have a nice tight sheet of fiberglass when you are done. After you have covered the glass with about 1/4" of mat and it has cured thoroughly Take a card board tube and glass it in on top of this layer of fiberglass you have made.
Trim the out side to this "fiberglass windshield" to the EXACT size as the glass (well, you do realize that you don't need to go all the way up on the top of the glass with the fiberglass because you will be cutting it off anyway) then you need to cut the fiberglass down to approx. the height of the glass you will need to make your windshield. DON'T CUT TO MUCH, plan on putting it in and out of the "hole" ten or twenty times till you have it right. Now, when you have it cut down to the correct size you need to thin the edge, because you have made this "fiberglass windshield" on the INSIDE of the glass so it is not going to represent the glass but the rubber that the glass sits in. So the edge has to be about 1/8" thick, that way if you make your top fit this perfectly, your glass will go right where this "fiberglass windshield" has gone.

Do you understand where I am going with this? You make a "fiberglass windshield" to make a pattern for the glass cutter but more than that, you now need to modify the roof to fit the glass. Using this "fiberglass windshield" you can add the metal you need or remove the metal you need till the roof fits the glass, then using your "fiberglass windshield" as a pattern the glass man can cut your new glass and it will go right in.

When you just dropped the top down, you changed the shape of the "hole" the glass sets in, glass can't be modified, but the metal can. So you use this "fiberglass windshield" as a pattern to modify the metal to fit the glass. Down in the corners at the bottom of the posts will have to be extended, because when the glass is laid back (even that little bit) the corners of the glass will go inside the body now being to narrow for the opening.

The next step is to find a guy (or gal) who can cut the glass. It may need to be cut in half, then the guy can cut each half very easily and then "butt" the glass back together with silicone. Yes it will have a seam down the center, but at least it will have glass, and as much as you chopped it, you will hardly see it. Good luck
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Old 07-21-2004, 02:16 PM
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Check this site it may help on uour template and its just a cool site, good luck

http://www.ifcustom.com/projects/pro...ages/chris.htm
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Old 07-22-2004, 01:31 PM
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best advice was send it out i.e.
"dont try this at home"
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Old 07-23-2004, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by bullheimer
best advice was send it out i.e.
"dont try this at home"
Words to live by. You don't need a waterjet, you need skill. Take the truck to a good auto glass shop. If you leave it with them so they can work on it in their spare time, they may give you a better deal. I have worked in the auto glass industry for 10 years.
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Old 07-23-2004, 09:43 PM
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man, I wish I had a glass guy like you around... Everyone in my neck of the woods gave me a cross-eyed-and-retarded look when I ask them about cutting the glass for my 53 chevy (car).

I would farm it out if I could, but really, I can't... and in the hot rodding spirit of the do-it-yourselfer, I really appreciate any and all ideas, info, and good or bad experience stories...
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Old 07-24-2004, 03:40 PM
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Hey...I have a 54 Ford Pick-up that was chopped 5 inches. I got my windshield from Classic Glass Ltd. Torrington Ct. 860-489-1550. I sent him a template he cut the glass, any mistakes were on him. the glass fit perfect the service was great and the price was $450.00 delivered to my door. He's a real nice guy. good luck, A.J.
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Old 07-24-2004, 09:08 PM
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If you really want to do it yourself, here are a few tips.

First, you need a GOOD glass cutter, a self oiling cutter like this.
Glass cutter link
Then, you need to teach yourself how to break glass...
Since you probably already have one messed up winshield, practice on that. Use the cutter to score a line where you want to make a run(crack) in the glass. Then apply pressure to the glass on both sides of the score from the under side, bending the score upward. When it starts to run, tap the underside of the glass with the cap end of the cutter along the score line.

Windshields are made of what we call "Lami" or "Laminated glass"
It is made of two sheets of annealed glass that have a layer of plastic resin sandwiched between them. You have to score, and run, both sides of the glass. Then, spray alchohol along the run, and light it. Then take a razor knife and cut the melting resin. It is most difficult to trim small peices off the edge of glass, you will want to sand the edges with a very coarse disc to shape it. Practice alot on your sacrificial windshields, and where gloves and eye protection.
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Old 07-25-2004, 08:37 AM
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that sounds pretty cool, but I am a little unclear about the alcohol that is lit on fire... Is this just to soften the laminate? Can this not be cut without being all melted? Is the idea to melt it enough to pull the glass apart at the fissure enough to permit the thickness of the razor blade? After the run has been made, how long should you soak it for the alcohol to actually absorb into the crack?

What is the best tool for finishing out the freshly cut edge? I was thinking maybe a 4-1/2" grinder with a flapper sanding disc...

oh yeah, and I once heard some old codger somewhere say that as glass ages, it gets more brittle, and harder to make a clean run without cracking it... So even though my 53 has a perfect original windshield, I will more than likely be buying a new one anyway....

Does anyone know this to be true?

Last edited by Hot Rod Hellion; 07-25-2004 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 07-25-2004, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hot Rod Hellion
that sounds pretty cool, but I am a little unclear about the alcohol that is lit on fire... Is this just to soften the laminate? Can this not be cut without being all melted? Is the idea to melt it enough to pull the glass apart at the fissure enough to permit the thickness of the razor blade? After the run has been made, how long should you soak it for the alcohol to actually absorb into the crack?

What is the best tool for finishing out the freshly cut edge? I was thinking maybe a 4-1/2" grinder with a flapper sanding disc...

oh yeah, and I once heard some old codger somewhere say that as glass ages, it gets more brittle, and harder to make a clean run without cracking it... So even though my 53 has a perfect original windshield, I will more than likely be buying a new one anyway....

Does anyone know this to be true?
The alcohol is ignited right after aplication, it softens the resin so you can pull the peices apart enough to fit the blade in there. It won't burn for very long. Let it burn about 15-20 seconds, then cut.

For finishing the egde you need about 36 grit paper, if you can get flappers in that grit, it will work great.

Quality of glass changes everyday. It depends on which manufacturer, which location it was made, which operater. Typically, older glass will have several impurities in the surface, that is why a good oiling cutter is a must. The deeper and colder the score, the cleaner the run will be. Don't use those cheap fletcher cutters, they are nasty. The cutting head and glass will both heat up quickly when you run a score, that's why you need the oil.

FYI, this will not work on Tempered glass. Some older vehicles used lami glass for side windows, but most vehicles now have tempered side and rear glass. You cannot cut tempered glass.

When tempered breaks, it breaks into a gazillion tiny peices.(side windows for example) when Annealed breaks, it will break in much larger, more jagged peices. The reason a winsheild doesn't fall in your lap when you get a rock chip, is the lamination. Lamination also keeps your body inside the car when an accident occurs.

Last edited by hickey; 07-25-2004 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 07-29-2004, 04:19 PM
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Chopped top

I'm a retired Glass man with 20plus years. After read some of your messages I thought I would put in my 2-bits.
Take it to a good quality glass shop. They will have a wet belt grinder that is necessary to fine-tune the glass to the opening.
If you are set on doing it yourself I would rethink that. I did a couple jobs for friends that are still friends. One was a 55" Nomad which was curved. We had 2 windshields to work with but only needed 1. I lived in Redfield, AR. at the time. Moved to S Coffeyville,OK now.
A good cutter (gold-tip Fletcher with a pattern cutting wheel) and oil/kerosene mix for the cut and cutter wheel. Mix should be approx.1 part oil (30w) with 4 -parts Kero. The alcohol is Denatured Alcohol. Use caution because this burns clear, blue flame.
If you want to talk to me, you can e-mail me.
usnkricket@yahoo.com
By the way the other chop job was flat glass so it was a easy to cut and install.
I still have my glass shop equipment that I would sale if anyone is interested.
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Old 07-30-2004, 06:16 PM
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well, it seems that when you moved to Ok, Arkansas lost it's last good glass guy. I live in N. Little Rock, and I sure can't seem to find one.
The last guy I used couldn't put a stock glass in the back of my 66 Buick without scratching the paint with his rodeo belt buckle. (it HAD flawless paint) When I asked him about cutting down the windshield for my 53 he looked at me like I was crazy.... "Why would you want to cut the roof off of a perfectly good car and lower it?!"

This goober thought chopping the car meant making it a convertable...

...So, about the tooling; I don't figure a large wet belt sander is in my budget, so are there any other alternatives? I'm thinking an old 36 grit flapper wheel mounted on a pneumatic grinder and a slow trickling garden hose, that is, if water is vitally important. (I assume it would be to prevent cracking from heat? or is it more to keep the dust down?)

Let me know what you think
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Old 07-30-2004, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hot Rod Hellion

...So, about the tooling; I don't figure a large wet belt sander is in my budget, so are there any other alternatives? I'm thinking an old 36 grit flapper wheel mounted on a pneumatic grinder and a slow trickling garden hose, that is, if water is vitally important. (I assume it would be to prevent cracking from heat? or is it more to keep the dust down?)
The water is for both. A belt sander will do the trick also, try spraying some penetrating oil right on the sand paper.
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