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Chop Top Glass???
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AndrewM
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Location: Monroe, NC
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2002 8:08 pm    Post subject: Chop Top Glass??? Reply with quote

This is not just a vw question, but a "hot rod" question that maybe somebody out there might know. I look in hot rod mags and VW mags and I see chop top cars and I wonder...where do they get the glass for a chop top car? I know that you can go to a local glass shop for any flat glass(like for a bus, or front and side bug windows, ect) But where in the hell do you find a curved piece of cut glass, like the back window of a bug? Anybody old hotrodder out there know?
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Kosmicride
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2002 9:18 pm    Post subject: Chop Top Glass??? Reply with quote

you gotta have it cut down and a good shop to do it.
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AndrewM
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2002 1:19 am    Post subject: Chop Top Glass??? Reply with quote

Can they actually take, say, the original front windshield and and cut it to fit in a chopped top? I've always wondered how they do it. I've also seen some chop tops where they take glass that is a close but no cigar fit (like a 1953 studebaker starliner coupe, with a 70's camaro rear windshield in the back). Some look good and others look like crapola. Thanks for the info kosmicride
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Kosmicride
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2002 2:45 pm    Post subject: Chop Top Glass??? Reply with quote

they major problem you will have is the tempered glass is not as easy to cut. I am referring to the side glass that is not the laminate like the windshield and some back windows
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xrakmare@hotmail.com is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:38 pm    Post subject: Chop Top Glass??? Reply with quote

I think when people do a chop top they stick with flat glass cars and usually only chop the front and lean it down. That way the rear glass is still stock size and the front flat windshield can easily be cut.
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fshelton@earthlink.net is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 11:55 am    Post subject: Chop Top Glass??? Reply with quote

Laminated glass is the only automotive glass that can be cut. Tempered glass cannot be cut--period. End of story. It'll shatter due to its highly-stressed nature. Even if it doesn't shatter when cut, it'll sure as hell end up in a pile of rubble by the next day as the temperature changes.

Laminate glass isn't tempered. It has a plastic sheet between the two sheets of glass. You can cut it with a glass cutter (remember, cut both sides in the same place), and pop it the same way you pop plate glass. The plastic laminate will hold them together, tho. To cut the plastic laminate, bend the two panes of glass so the gap opens up slightly. Then pour lighter fluid over the crack and light it. Only let it burn until the plastic melts and the two pieces of glass separate. Have a friend handy with water. Also, if you've got the resources, tape the cut line with several sheets of duct tape. Then sandblast the edge (remember to point away from the good glass) until the two pieces separate. That method works well, but it requires dressing the cut edges with a low-speed sander (belt sander with 120 grit works great). Third way: glass can be cut with large belt sander, but only glass shops have such sanders. They'll prefer the first method, too, as the third takes about an hour an inch for a standard windshield. Any of those methods will work for any windshield or laminate side glass.

I've also heard of two people cutting laminate glass with a high-speed pneumatic die grinder with a cutoff wheel. The key, they say, is plenty of water to cool the area. They used a hose with a constant light flow over the cut area.

Side glass like on VWs is tempered, and cannot be cut. No problem, tho, since VW side glass is flat. Make a template of the glass to the size you want and take it to an automotive glass shop. They'll cut a piece of laminate glass to fit--right to your specs.

Back glass in almost every case is tempered, and cannot be cut. Then comes ingenuity. Some people tilt the whole rear window area forward when they chop the car (remember, with an angled windshield a top will move forward as well as down when chopped). Some others cut a trough in the package tray and shove the glass down, sealing the glass with flat rubber and silicone on the bottom. Hokey? Yes. Works? Yes.

On '40s and '50s american cars, some people will use other similar-era glass with the frame and all from another car. Like a '49 or '50 plymouth window will fit a chopped '49-52 Chevy with some work. It's smaller, too, so it works well with a chopped car. Glass from different eras will look like ass, though: reference the Stude with the Camaro glass. Don't do it. Dumb. On a volksie, you're saved from that; nothing else will really fit it at all.

Now, here's a big secret from the pros (I cannot take credit for this bitchin' idea; it's been around for years). CHOP THE TOP TO FIT THE GLASS. That's right, as weird as it sounds, it's the best way to do it. Look at the shape of the glass opening, then sketch out a way it should change when you chop the top. It's far easier to make metal move to fit glass than it is to make glass move to fit metal.

Also, remember to keep all pieces of glass on the same plane. For example, if the window shape changes on the plane it fits in, the glass will not bend to fit the new uneven surface.

If you've got illusions of having a shop make curved glass for an application, the $5,000 or so cost should keep you away. It's time and labor intensive.

Now that I've given you the very abbreviated basics, go cut up a rust-free oval.

Cheers,

Chris
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