Portlight glass removal

  • June 11, 2018 1:45 PM
    Message # 6304576

    Speaking of port lights..   It appears that the glass in our port lights is made up of two pieces of glass and has now begun to delaminate.  We have staining between the sheets of glass.  Our port lights are bronze, on the inside of the light  there are fine threads and a bronze retaining ring.  In the retaining ring there are two holes (I assume that they are there to assist with installing the original glass).  


    1.  Has anyone repaired this problem before?  If so how?  
    2. Is there a tool I can buy that will fit the holes to help remove the retaining ring? If so, where can I buy one OR do I need to have one made?
    3. I expect the retaining rings may be seized in place, is there anything that will help free it up for removal? 

    I've been told you have to break the glass then remove the ring and replace the glass then remove the ring and replace the glass.  If that has been your experience, please let me know.  All other suggestions appreciated.  Don

  • June 12, 2018 5:28 PM
    Reply # 6307647 on 6304576

    I ran into the exact same challenge when one of my portlights suddenly cracked.  I spent several hours and lots of acetone and paint thinner trying to get the sealing ring free.  After 40 years the sealing ring bedding was frozen in place. 

    I finally gave up and shipped it to Select Plastics/Hatch Masters.   Tony the owner told me they had a heck of a time getting the ring free and had to use solvent and bake the lenses and rings in an oven to get the bedding to soften and release.  Tony is a friend and did not charge me, but he did say it was a very difficult and time consuming repair.  I don't know what he might charge for the repair.

    I taped some clear plastic over the portlight frames temporally to keep the rain out.  It took several weeks to get the replaced lenses back.

    Select Plastics/Hatch Masters is located in Norwalk, CT   Phone 203-866-3767


  • June 13, 2018 12:05 PM
    Reply # 6309622 on 6304576
    Deleted user

    I re-did all of my portlights a few years ago. It was a bit of a bugger, but I had to break the glass with a hammer (weird smell from the material in between) then pick out the remaining bits from under the ring. With the glass out I had a friend fabricate a tool (a pin wrench) to turn the rings, one side for the small port lights, one side for the large.

    The tool wasn't very sturdy, and I loaned it to another member who (not surprisingly, because the tool was flimsy, not 'cause the other member was careless) broke off one of the pins. I have pics of the tool on here, I think. See my album, Portlight Covers for all of them.

    The pin wrench was mostly helpful to get the rings on again quickly afterwards, without messing up the silicone I used to seal it. 6 years later they are looking good.

    Last modified: June 13, 2018 12:08 PM | Deleted user
  • June 13, 2018 1:28 PM
    Reply # 6310170 on 6304576

    Stephen:  Thanks for your reply, which is exactly on the money for my question.  I figured the two holes in the retainer ring were for installation but I also thought they would/ could help with removal.  It sounds like the retainer ring might have been siliconed in with the original installation?  Or was it stuck from natural corrosion and the elements?  I only want break the glass as a last resort, so finding a way to free up the ring and spin it out would be my first choice. If it's stuck in with silicone, breaking the glass my be the only way to go.  Did you try heating the bronze casting to free up the ring?  Just another thought I've had about getting the ring to spin.

    I like the tool you made, which is similar to what I had in mind, but I need to replace the glass in all 10 of my port lights and will need a tool that can last through the entire project (I'll have to work on that design a little).

    Anyway, nice work and thanks for sharing your experience on this project.  It's still down a little ways on my priority list. I think I'll get the tool built, try it to see if any of the rings will spin and, if necessary, break the glass when I have more time to focus on the project as a whole.  Don

  • June 14, 2018 9:28 PM
    Reply # 6313895 on 6304576

    In October I replaced the glass in all 10 of my port lights. It was relatively easy. I removed the opening portion of the port light that contained the glass. I pried out the gasket material using small screwdrivers to get it started and carefully took it all the way out. There were a number of #4 machine screws. Most came right out, those that made contact with the intuding water were a bit corroded and the heads spun off of those. When I reassembled the port I had to drill and tap for replacements. Once all of the screws were out I soaked the portlight in hot water, and after a short time I was able to push the glass out. I did not need to break any of them. I cleaned off the old sealant, bedded the new glass, flipped the old seal over and reused it. I put the ports in 42 years ago. The only annoying part of the program was the $50 each for the new glass.

  • June 17, 2018 8:42 AM
    Reply # 6317065 on 6304576
    Deleted user

    Hey Stephen,

    I still have the tool and fixed it. Do you want it back?

    BTW, I was careless because I tried to remove the ring without breaking out the glass first as you advised.


  • June 18, 2018 7:55 AM
    Reply # 6318327 on 6304576

    Hey Stephen and Werner,

    If you still have the tool and are willing to let me try it on my portlights, I'll pay for shipping to California?  If not, that's cool too.


  • June 19, 2018 6:27 AM
    Reply # 6320791 on 6304576
    Deleted user

    Email me your address and I'll send it to you. Pass it on, right?



  • June 19, 2018 9:16 AM
    Reply # 6321460 on 6304576


    Thanks so much for the offer, I'll email you my address separately. Pass it along for sure.



  • June 24, 2018 12:25 PM
    Reply # 6338972 on 6304576
    Deleted user

    Sorry for the late delay, but please feel free to pass the tool along to anyone that can use it.

    Just remember it isn't really designed to force the ring to turn, that will just break the pins.



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