The 3/4" EMT is available from HD for about $5.50/10 ft. I used 20 lengths total, since I attached one bent 10 ft rib/per stanchion to each side of the continuous ridge pole. Cut-off scraps were used for the three vertical posts. The ridge consists of three sections with 2 in-line conduit connectors @ .80 ea. The total cost for the tubing materials was about $112.00.
The framing connectors are from www.framemakerclamps.com
- great quality and designs - bolts/nuts included. It was actually fun to design and build this - took me back to my childhood Erector Set days. I don't have the invoice here at the office, but believe I paid just over $100.00 for three different types of connectors. Cut strips of bicycle inner tubing was used to protect the SS rail stanchions from abrasion and I utilizied stand-off connectors to hold the vertical EMT away from my teak cap rails and toe rails. The only tool needed for fabrication I didn't have was a conduit pipe bender - which I borrowed from a friend. You'll also need a 7/8" OD pipe cutter, socket set, box wrenches, measuring tape and screwdriver(s).
Crutch tips are used for the post bases to protect the deck and tape/markers for labeling. I used permanent marker over red (port) and green (starboard) electrical tape to identify each piece - simplifying assembly each winter. The total cost of the entire frame was under $225.00 - but could have been less if I reduced the number of ribs. I could probably walk accross this frame without deflection, it's so strong. I considered using PVC pipe, but would need at least 1-1/2" - 2" ID to be strong enough. Still, it wouldn't be as strong as galv EMT, would be too bulky to store each season and would cost more. Additionally, the galvanized metal can be clamped tighter and shouldn't rust within 10 years - if so, simply spray paint. I checked out my frame last weekend (stored in my garage rafters) and couldn't find any corrosion or rust.
I drew up the design before ordering materials and knew ahead of time exactly how I was to build it. Once all materials were assembled at the boat, I measured, cut and bent the frame, then assembled everything within one weekend day. I paid $330.00 to "The Boat Guys" last season to shrinkwrap the boat. The cost should be about the same this year - re-using the zippered door. I don't anticipate reassembling the frame will take more than a couple hours.
Hopefully, I've given you enough information to decide if this is right for your boat - but I'd be happy to answer any other questions, if needed.