Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 43 Old 01-23-2016 Thread Starter
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Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas...

I plan to upgrade our aging dodger to a hardtop this spring. At this point the plan is to laminate it out of a couple of layers of thin Baltic Birch ply that we can get locally.

Obviously it'll need to be sealed/waterproofed, I plan to layer the edges up to give it some more visual bulk and herein lies a dilemma.

Small edges and roundovers are notoriously difficult to get cloth to stay down on. In addition I'll be adding ledges underneath for the remaining canvas sections to snap to, so more problematic tight corners.

Anyone have thoughts about simply epoxy sealing the resulting top, as opposed to a couple of layers of cloth before fairing and painting. I don't plan to be standing on this, don't need a great deal of strength, just a waterproof rigid top. Current handrails will go through the top and hold it to the existing frame. A small flexible solar panel will be used on this as well.

Here's the dodger when it was new.. the canvas is getting on and it's been restitched a number of times/areas so it's time to do something. I like the look and don't plan to change the basic shape other than the rigid top overhangs that will result. Side/front canvas sections will remain essentially the same (but renewed) at this point of planning.



Thanks in advance for your input...

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)

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post #2 of 43 Old 01-23-2016
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Re: Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas...

I have been planning a hard bimini for a while. I plan on using the thin veneer ply as you describe. I think I'll soak it with a thin penetrating epoxy and then paint it. No glass cloth. I plan on trimming the edges with an edge trimming product from Tacco Metals. They have U shaped PVC channels with an aluminum band for extra durability. Comes in several widths. It is a type of PVC that is OK outdoors. Comes in white. Perfect for this application.
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post #3 of 43 Old 01-23-2016
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Re: Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas...

Ron, do I understand that your intent is to just do a rigid piece over the top with existing see through sections canvas ? Sounds doable but I think the best part of a hard dodger is the solid windscreen. Otoh I acknowledge that solid windscreen, particularly if window is opening, would be much more work and expense that what I think you are proposing.

Good luck with the glassing. I'm hopeless at that kind of stuff. It always ends up something of a dog's breakfast. Then again my klutz levels are fairly high and I remember the job you did on FF's bilge which turned out looking pretty ship shape.

Andrew B (Malö 39 Classic)

“Life is a trick, and you get one chance to learn it.”
― Terry Pratchett.
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Re: Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas...

Quote:
Originally Posted by xort View Post
I have been planning a hard bimini for a while. I plan on using the thin veneer ply as you describe. I think I'll soak it with a thin penetrating epoxy and then paint it. No glass cloth. I plan on trimming the edges with an edge trimming product from Tacco Metals. They have U shaped PVC channels with an aluminum band for extra durability. Comes in several widths. It is a type of PVC that is OK outdoors. Comes in white. Perfect for this application.
Thanks.. have you tried to bend that product? I wonder what the minimum radius would be. Certainly would be a labour saving finishing touch. EDIT.. looked it up.. could be just the ticket!

Quote:
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Ron, do I understand that your intent is to just do a rigid piece over the top with existing see through sections canvas ? Sounds doable but I think the best part of a hard dodger is the solid windscreen. Otoh I acknowledge that solid windscreen, particularly if window is opening, would be much more work and expense that what I think you are proposing.
Yes, I am proposing as you understood. Our center window panel opens now, and we'd plan to keep that feature. Yes, a hard windscreen would make sense but as you say, more complicated (though possibly not more expensive than having the canvas/windows redone) The scariest part of that idea is how to bond it all to the existing (complicated) deckhouse profile in a way that doesn't scream amateur.

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)

Last edited by Faster; 01-23-2016 at 07:08 PM.
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Re: Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas...

The PVC? Yes, pretty tight radius, about the inside radius of a roll of painters tape. I have a pic on my phone I'll try to post. I made flip out solar panels with semiflex solar and made a backer out of celtec PVC. Trimmed with this stuff.

By the way, semiflex solar are very unreliable. My 2 renogy 100s died in 3 months. They wouldnt sell me replacements, took them off the market because of too many failures.
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post #6 of 43 Old 01-23-2016
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Re: Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
I plan to upgrade our aging dodger to a hardtop this spring. At this point the plan is to laminate it out of a couple of layers of thin Baltic Birch ply that we can get locally.

Obviously it'll need to be sealed/waterproofed, I plan to layer the edges up to give it some more visual bulk and herein lies a dilemma.

Small edges and roundovers are notoriously difficult to get cloth to stay down on. In addition I'll be adding ledges underneath for the remaining canvas sections to snap to, so more problematic tight corners.

Anyone have thoughts about simply epoxy sealing the resulting top, as opposed to a couple of layers of cloth before fairing and painting. I don't plan to be standing on this, don't need a great deal of strength, just a waterproof rigid top. Current handrails will go through the top and hold it to the existing frame. A small flexible solar panel will be used on this as well....
Faster,

I've been researching how I'm going to replace our dodger and bimini with hard tops as well.

I'll share the finalists in my order of preference by method and then approach. Your needs may lead you to re-order or do something different.

And the winner is...?

Using Starboard:

Rodger Dodger

Using prefab FRP Panels:

DIY Hard Dodger

DIY Hardtop Dodger

Homemade Hardtop

Fabrication from scratch:

How to build a hard dodger in only 14 days

New Hard Bimini

FYI in case this helps narrow your focus or gives you some ideas.

Cheers!

Bill
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Last edited by wrwakefield; 01-23-2016 at 07:47 PM. Reason: minor clarification
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post #7 of 43 Old 01-23-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas...

Thanks for that, Bill.. some good things to consider there. Thankfully I'm not looking at a 200 sq ft catamaran cover!!

I'd really like to avoid any visible fasteners on the top surface, and given the relatively small size I'm hoping the side handles (already through bolted onto the frame) will do the job of holding the top down, esp if it's precurved and not under stress. May still require some sort of centerline clip though. The other challenge is a lip/rim/channel that can accept the side curtains and front panel. A luff tape type extrusion could be the ticket there.

Ron

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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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Re: Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Thanks for that, Bill.. some good things to consider there. Thankfully I'm not looking at a 200 sq ft catamaran cover!!

I'd really like to avoid any visible fasteners on the top surface, and given the relatively small size I'm hoping the side handles (already through bolted onto the frame) will do the job of holding the top down, esp if it's precurved and not under stress. May still require some sort of centerline clip though. The other challenge is a lip/rim/channel that can accept the side curtains and front panel. A luff tape type extrusion could be the ticket there.
Hi Faster,

I agree, I'm glad mine isn't that large too...

A reduced number of through fasteners would be great. I haven't given that much thought yet, but I will need it well fastened as we occasionally get 70-90+ knots either briefly from intermittent williwas, or continuous with passing storms.

The 1/2" Starboard approach is supportive of both of these considerations.

I, too, plan to use the bolt rope track for curtains. Sailrite has a good selection, as others likely do as well.

I also intend to make a hard windshield something similar to what Andy described in his Rodger Dodger article.

Please keep us informed as your plans gel... I'll do the same but I am likely farther out than you from a start date...

Cheers!

Bill


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Re: Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas...

My friends Jeanneau has such a dodger reported to have been fabricated by the original owner, it appears to be mounted to the original frame (I can't picture how right now) the windows do unzip. It seems to be fiberdlass with a plywood insert of teak and black chaulk which matches the seat inserts and cockpit decks. This is one of the better pictures I have of it, I'll take a closer look when I'm back at the boat next week.
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Re: Looking for hard dodger top DIY ideas...

1/2" starboard is expensive, heavy, and may not bend. If you dont need to stand on it, then go much thinner. The good thing is that you wont have to paint it. The bad thing is you CANT paint it!
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