Rebuilding the Butterfly Hatch

Downeaster’s come with a neat little butterfly hatch over the main cabin.  The “doors” or flaps or whatever they are called have some glass in them to give the cabin some light.  Unfortunately, my hatch leaked pretty badly as the sealant in the glass had faded away over time.  Like everything else on Windsong, that means a rebuild is in order!  This was no way near as painful of a rebuild as the companionway hatch.  The most difficult part of this was separating the glass from the wood, as it was all held together by sealant/adhesive and I had to be very careful taking it apart to preserve the wood.  The pictures and captions below can tell the story.


The hatch before taking apart. Weathered wood, crappy glass that leaks, the usual..


Another view pre-disassembly


Completely disassembled, cleaned and sanded. Notice how the flaps come apart into a few different pieces of wood. There are grooves that the glass rests in on the pieces, filled up with sealant to adhere it all together and seal up.


The wood got the Cetol treatment, same as the other hatches – 3 coats of Cetol Natural Teak, 2 coats of Cetol gloss using a 3M scrub pad to “sand” it down between coats.. It seems that in this picture, I was getting the Sierra Nevada treatment.


All put back together. I used Sikaflex 295UV for the sealant, testing it and it’s primer out before I use it on the large cabin windows. I replaced the glass with tinted acrylic.


Hardware installed, weather stripping as well


Interior view.

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9 Responses to Rebuilding the Butterfly Hatch

  1. Mid-Life Cruising! says:

    Been catching up on your last few posts … the butterfly hatch, companionway hatch, cap rails, Kiwi deck … it’s all looking great! You’ve been a busy man.

  2. ryan says:

    Wow amazing how good that old teak comes up. Did you need use anything special to clean the teak? Did you just sand it or use use a cabinet scraper or something?

    • Erick says:

      Hi Ryan, thanks for checking it out. I just used Barkeepers Friend to clean the teak. It has Oxalic Acid which is the main ingredient in most 1-part teak cleaners….but it is a fraction of the price. Some of the cleaner and a scotch-brite pad does wonders to the teak.

      After a cleaning and drying, it got 2 rounds of sanding – 120 and 220 grit before finishing.

      • Ryan says:

        Thanks Erick,
        I just bought an old Laurinkoster 28 in Sydney from a guy who sailed from Sweden. Just needs a bit of tidying up and some Kiwigrip :-)

  3. Stan says:

    I see you left the glass clear. Have you given any thought to tinting them like you would for a car window? That might make a real temperature difference down the road.

    • Erick says:

      Hi Stan,

      I did use tinted acrylic for the hatches. Check out the last couple of pictures, you can see that the lenses are darker. I will be using a heavily tinted acrylic for the big windows as well.

  4. Hilary says:

    The hatches look amazing! I’ve perused your blog…it’s a source of inspiration! Windsong is going to be a beauty and a brand new boat when you’re done. We’re in the final survey phase on a DE 38. Hope all is well and the work is coming along! Looking forward to more updates.

    • Erick says:

      Thanks a bunch Hilary! Hope all goes well with your DE38 purchase. Feel free to contact me directly with any questions you may have about the boat.


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