by Bob Beranek
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There are a number of skills that the modern day technician seldom uses or may have never used during his current tenure as an auto glass technician. New technology overtakes the old methods or the vehicles that use the old methods of mounting have disappeared. However, even though some skills are not used every day, a technician will have a need for them once in a while. These seldom used skills include setting gasket set glass parts and cutting laminated glass.

For the sake of those who service the trucks and farm equipment in rural areas and for those who may turn down installations because of fear of doing gasket sets or glass cutting, I decided to address these lost skills in a series of posts called “The Lost Arts.” Current auto glass technicians may go months or years without seeing a gasket set windshield or being asked to cut flat laminated but the art should not be lost. On the contrary, I think that a true auto glass professional should be well versed in all aspects of their career including gasket sets and laminated glass fabrication.

I get calls at least once a month from techs in the field who are struggling with a truck or car with a gasket (weatherstrip) mounted glass part. They are unsure of whether to rope the glass in or lip it in, whether to insert the chrome before or after the glass is in place, or to seal the gasket to the body or to the glass or both. The act of installing a glass into a gasket is an acquired skill that takes practice and proper tools. Practice with gasket sets may be hard to come by because of their rarity but I plan to give you some pointers that will help even if you don’t see them often enough to master.

Have you heard the terms rope-in, lip-in, gasket, weatherstrip, insert, locking strip or self-locking lip? If so, you will find this series of posts quite interesting. I will do my best to explain and include all of the terms that have been used to describe the process, parts and tools of the gasket set installation. If anything is confusing to you, please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. I invite all of you old-timers out there to throw in your 2¢ worth as well. It will be fun to hash out and share our experiences.

How many of you out there remember the DW819 with chrome or the DW685 with the two types of chrome and double lip gasket? Do you remember the DW831 Jeep Cherokee with that top chrome and tight corners or the foreign gaskets that were vulcanized to the glass and body? These early gasket models may be very rarely seen anymore but other parts like the DW848/813 Chevy Pickup or the DW763 GMC G-van, may be seen even today.

Next week we will start with the gasket set roped-in installation. See ya then.   

Comments (9)

  1. Bill Brodie said on 06-12-2012

    Hi Bob,
    Wow do I have a flush of memories; My first job in my grandfather’s auto glass shop was to put the patterns back into the pattern racks. As the glaziers would cut the laminated parts, they would leave the patterns in a pile so they had to be put back in numerical order. I was then taught to cut and polish laminated glass.

    I remember helping replace w/shields on some large equipment like Mack series E or L; Walters sno-fighter; Oshkosh; 24 x 48 lami w/ rounded corners for Gradall or taking a 20″ x 20″ lami & polish three sides- round one corner and that would be a door glass for International 4151T

    More thoughts- Setting a DW573 alone, replacing a DW618 leaving the interior garnish molding on to hold the gasket in-place- prying off the top outside chrome molding- pushing the top of the windshield out with my feet- installing the new windshield bottom first and carefully lacing the sides & top gasket over the glass with a metal screwdriver- then using a hammer and steel block 4″ x 4″ x 2″ as an anvil: hammering back the inner flange of the top chrome trim and sliding it back into the gasket with the corner screws hold it in;

    Or when replacing a B395 you had to replace the metal plate and screw in the chrome corner caps because the screw went through the gasket and threw a hole drilled in the pinch-weld- after the nut was attached, the exposed screw had to be removed;

    I had a small box / open end wrench that I attached a long string to because it would sometimes fall into never-never-land under the dash when getting to the nuts holding the w/s molding on DW394, 396, 512, 513;

    How about tacking out all those dozens of staples along the front of the headlining to get the top chrome molding bolts on a DW518, 516 523,525;

    Replacing the Corvette DW450 and the MG-B FW154 without loosening or removing the bottom of the windshield frame. My first MG-B took me a day and a half to do but later learned to throw away the gasket and replace it with black silicone in less than a half hour.

    Some late forties and early fifties Chrysler products had the windshields set from inside.

    We no longer do autoglass but actually that’s where me heart is.

    Bill Brodie

  2. Dell Shope said on 06-12-2012

    How timely, we just agreed to replace an FW 192 (1966 MGB GT) with a chrome locking strip, what are we in for? We do rope-in and lace-in jobs occasionally, and have frequent trouble of some sort – usually because the fit seems too tight. Any advice will be most welcome.

  3. David LaFon said on 06-12-2012

    It surprised me 20 years ago how many techs didn’t know how to cut glass so today I bet it’s less than 5 percent that know how. I remember the time before Redi cut mirrors were even thought of. I cut a lot of SS mirror and stood at a wet grinder making it perfect. Any idea what a full set of S and T patterns would cost today? Could you even find a set? I miss cutting and polishing. Nothing like a 400 grit belt on wet grinder to get a pencil polish. I don’t miss 685 or 831. Of course I wasn’t a fan of DW980 when they first came out. The only power tool at that time was the “Vibra Knife” I think. The good old days.

  4. Glasseye said on 07-12-2012

    Ah! the good old days. Yes, like Bill, I learnt my skills fitting string ins, claytonrites, cutting glass to fit, etc. Glass fixing nowadays, if done correctly, is a great dealer safer but glass fixing is less of an acquired skill compared to earlier times. By the way Bill, throwing away MGB gaskets? Never!

  5. Daniel said on 07-12-2012

    Well, some of us still deal with gasket mounted windshields.
    Not far ago, say 3-4 weeks, I had to replace an old Mercedes W-123´windshield who´s owner insisted to have the rubber replaced with a new one, too.
    As the vehicle is out of the production decades away, the new rubber might have been produced by the same time and/or by who-knows-what obscure Eastern company.
    I struggled half a day to insert the chromes (as a matter of fact aluminium strips, so easy to disform) and success remained far, far away. Generally, rubber gaskets are kept as circles and most of the vehicles display sharp corners which are hard to cover from the very first try by the relaxed gasket. Not to mention that rubber trends to shrink when getting old, loosing its elasticity and demanding extreme care when inserting the laminated glass into.
    As I examined carefully the old gasket, I realized it was in a very decent condition and decided to use it further. Chromes fitted perfectly, so did the new glass, and I secured the assembly by sealing the contour with a continous worm of butyl. The operation itself took no more than 30 minutes, after fighting with the dragon (new gasket) for hours.

    For all you good old pals I send my best wishes and full respect !.

    Daniel,
    Berlin, Germany (Or … Galati, Romania)

  6. Tim Sanchez said on 07-12-2012

    Times have changed. On the average I install 2-3 rubber set winshields a week. Some of these I even have to cut. Being in the glass business would require a person to know how to cut glass. Cutting DL parts is one thing, cutting down a DW part is another. My shop is the only one within a 100 mile radius that will do CHOPPED Top vehicles. This is where the skill comes into play. Ask the mobile tech that works out of his pickup to do a DL part. If the part needs fine tuning,cause it fits to tight, what does he do. Oh that right, you get what got. The fact of the matter is, the TRUE glass shops, that can cut and install flat glass are a dying breed. The BIGS don’t want much to do with the older vehicles, most of their techs have little knowledge, nor do they want to learn. Not every DL part can be bought, some we have to cut, thats FACT and I feel if you call yourself a Technician, then you should be able to cut glass. As far a installing gasket sets, anyone can stuble their way through them, mat not make much money, but that come with the territory.
    To all my fellow technicians, Good Luck out there. Not every job can be done in under an hour. Take pride in every aspect of the glass industry. I’ve been lucky, I grew up cutting glass and working on old vehicles, so when one or the other arrives at my shop, I look forward to challenge. Remember, vehicles made before the 60′s didnt use specialty tools like todays vehicles. The difference is the amount of time you take while doing the job. Take your time and have PRIDE in the job you do.

  7. Glasseye said on 07-12-2012

    Dell, 1966 MGBBT has chrome outer trims then a rubber locking strip underneath. If you’re re-using the rubber and trims use plenty of soap on the outer trim before starting. As they come out they will start to curl, LET THEM. DO NOT try and straighten them. Remove the corner pieces DONT mix them up. Take out the locking strip ( claytonrite) remove the old screen. Leave the gasket on the body, clean out rubber, fit new glass into gasket. Seal with a mastic sealant ( Arbomast) refit rubber insert. Again with plenty of soap refit chrome corner pieces first then refit outer chromes starting from the same place you took them out, avoid pinching the rubber as you go. Use gentle pressure as you go on the trim that is back in the rubber this will uncurl the trim as you go leaving it as good as new when you finish

  8. Frank Fountas said on 08-12-2012

    It’s Great to see you write this series! 2 weeks we replaced a windshield in a 1928 Bentley, custom cut with notched areas for the wiper posts. We cut and install glass for antique and custom street rods every day. We do not compete with the “big boys” in our area, they send us referrals every day. They do not want to deal with anything older than 1979. The hard part is finding and training techs who are skilled and patient enough. It seems the “got to have it now” mentality is rampant in the younger people.
    I say, “Remember, patience grasshopper!” and I get a goofy look and a reply,” Why are you calling me grasshopper?”

  9. Diane Mcgary said on 11-12-2012

    This is a very nice article. Looking back on the past gives me a good memory of my brothers glass shop. :)

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