Poor mans hardtop project

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maxicrom
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Poor mans hardtop project

Post by maxicrom »

After multiple quotes to replace our Bimini at and over $2,500 (and those quotes are for only adding zippers to the new top to use our existing curtains and windshield) I've opted for Plan B. It took about an hour to design a simple aluminum square tube frame that will mount on the existing Bimini bows. The frame is very light and will support a 1/8" FRP panel top. our Bimini is already braced to the deck aft, with an added brace forward it should support the lightweight top without any problem. The FRP has a bubble finish that will be mounted down - my only question is how the back side of the FRP will hold up to weather. I'm thinking of putting coat of paint on it after it's completed. We used FRP panels to line the wet head in our last boat and the stuff is not hard to work with and basically bullet proof (they use it on the walls of restaurants and commercial bathrooms) - it could be lighter but we're on a budget and $30 per 4x8 sheet hits the spot.

My long term goal is to lay up a nice hard top and move the traveler off the deck - the FRP project should take about a day and if we get a few years out of it I'll be very happy. I'm figuring the entire project should come in under $250 and take about two days to complete (plus sweat equity of course). I'll get some pix posted when there is something to show.
Mike & Linda
S/V II the Max

Marc Gershel
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Re: Poor mans hardtop project

Post by Marc Gershel »

Hi, I'm presently building a hardtop also. Originally I wanted to use FG sheets, but couldn't locate any, so I'm using 6mm marine plywood. Where did you find your sheets? I have a welded aluminum frame that's covered with stamoid that needs replacing. That's why I'm making the hardtop.
Marc
This is a pic of my present setup. Hope it comes out, I'm not good with pictures.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/79224956@N ... otostream/

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SecondWind
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Re: Poor mans hardtop project

Post by SecondWind »

Take a look at Polycarbonate panels and accessories. We're thinking of building a hardtop from them (there is a company that does just that).
http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/cate ... ate-panels
Terry Green
s/v Second Wind
36040

Marc Gershel
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Re: Poor mans hardtop project

Post by Marc Gershel »

Hi, I looked into "Hardtotop" also, but I wanted something that I could stand on. I was also concerned about sealing the openings of all the hollow channels to keep out water and bugs. I finally reverted to the material that I'm best with...Wood.
I have the top finished, but because of recent heart surgery, it may be a month before I can install it. I'll try to get some pics then.
Marc

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maxicrom
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Re: Poor mans hardtop project

Post by maxicrom »

Well, we all have our projects... Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) is available in the paneling section of Home Depot or Lowes, about $35 per sheet. I really like the look of the poly carbonate and may look into that at a later date. For now our Bimini is ragged and needs immediate replacement.

Mark, that's a serious frame youhave there, our are just basic SS Bimini bows. We'll all need to post pix when we're done. I'm hoping to get a start next weekend...

Glad I could get a good topic going...
Mike & Linda
S/V II the Max

Marc Gershel
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Re: Poor mans hardtop project

Post by Marc Gershel »

Hi, I know, it's been a while, but I was recovering from surgery. The new hardtop was finished last winter, but didn't get installed until May. This is the only good picture I have of it so far.
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2837
Marc

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