Anyone tried to make a bimini top? - SailNet Community

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Old 03-03-2008
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Anyone tried to make a bimini top?

I am thinking about attempting to construct a bimini top this season. I currently have a dodger and would like to tie in to that to make a partial enclosure. I was wondering if anyone had attempted such a project. I cant seem to find a lot of places to buy the supplies for making the frame. Plus, I need to learn how to sew (working on that). Any info, suggestions, links, etc would be greatly appreciated.. In return, I will document and photograph the project to post here.......if I am not too embarrassed of the results =)
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Old 03-03-2008
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Go to www sailrite com

Good luck, I'd rather have a professional do it, it will cost you less for just a Bimini.
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Old 03-03-2008
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Great link.... Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2008
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Sailrite is a very good source for plans, materials, advice. Not the best prices, but not the most expensive either.
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Old 03-03-2008
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I made

a replacement bimini top for a 22' bay liner power boat..Just the replacement fabric not the frame...It turned out so so...definitely not pro quality...

What I found out to be the hardest was the pattern cuts..they have it down to a science like bending metal and know how each shape needs cut to get a tight, fared outcome... mine ended up a little baggy and wrinkly...

I used sunbrella and sewed up to 6 layers with a regular high quality sewing machine...it took two people to rassel it through the machine..I did not mess around and try any clear side panels or any fancy stuff like that though...

Good luck..
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Old 03-04-2008
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thanks for the input... any pics of the project/finished product?
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Old 03-04-2008
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Had a 45 mph wind rip mine off. The wife used the old one as a pattern. After materials and time we decided never again.
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Old 03-05-2008
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I'm working on a project like yours right now. Sunbrella recomends that you use a size 22 needle with a polyester bonded thread for the stitching. I don't think that you'll fit a size 22 needle in a home machine, and if you do, it won't do a good job or it won't do it long... I'm speaking from experience, you need a size 22 needle and the heavy thread that they recomend. You also need a machine strong enough to push that needle and then pull the stitch tight enough when its done. Most home machines will NOT do this well if at all.

Sailrite sells a machine that does a nice job, one is red and the other is blue. The red is staight stitch only. The blue will do zig-zag or straight. Both have the walking foot feature. This helps. They buy these machines from some Chineese company that makes them and paints their name on them. Look on E-bay for a "Family Sew" commercial sewing machine. Its the same exact thing as the blue "Deluxe" Sailright machine, its just sold direct from the Chineese factory and its painted white. I bought one and it is great. I've seen them on E-bay for anywhere from $300 for a used one to $600 for a new one. It is a little work horse. I wouldn't recomend it if you want to start a canvas business (although it is nice and portable), but it is plenty sturdy for the DIY guy.

Another problem for me was cutting the fabric to the right size. I would cut everything oversize and the grab a pal or two and have them help you lay the fabric over the frame or whatever you are covering. Pull it tight and make your marks. Measure twice and cut once... Go slow and think things through. Its not tough.

Good luck!
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Last edited by Captsomer; 03-05-2008 at 12:29 AM. Reason: type O's
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Old 03-05-2008
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Ill try and dig up some pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by rireefguy View Post
thanks for the input... any pics of the project/finished product?

As mentioned by someone..It is not correct to do it the way I did it...I am selling the boat and just wanted a nice clean new look...not a 20 year old faded..worn out Bimini...

I did really use just a high quality home machine with the biggest needle it would take.. My 81 year old quilting mother and I did it in a couple 2 hour sewing sessions..she and I had fun doing something meaningful and productive togather...

I could not use the proper thread though so I dont know the lonjevity of it...
best to use the proper machine for a project you want to keep...BTW we didnt break even one needle going thru 6 layers in some places...Her machine brand is a Juno...
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Old 03-05-2008
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I think it would be easier and cheaper to buy one pre-made.
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