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Old 16-04-2018, 07:19   #1
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Another hard bimini!

By the time we delivered Atlantis from Miami to Annapolis 2 years ago, all that was left of the original canvas were the frames. We did not want a bimini that covered the whole cockpit, just from the binnacle to the helm seat - a distance of 4 feet. After getting a quote of $7,000 for a fiberglass bimini a friend convinced me 'we' could build one.

Day 1

assembled the bits - MAS epoxy, 2x6s sheet of plywood, foam core, glass cloth, glass mat and 2 4x8 sheets of FRP panel from Home Depot to use as skins. (Jamestown Distributors said the FRP would bond to epoxy)

Took a 2x6 to the boat and clamped it to the existing frame and marked the curve. Realized that a 2x6 was not wide enough.
Cut the 2x6, screwed 'extensions' on the end so they were 2x12, clamped it to the rail. Cut the rest of the curve. Verified that the 2 bows had the same curve and repeated the process.

Them came the evil FRP. It has a bubble finish on one side that needed to be sanded. This stuff is hard as a rock and creates a fine white powder that goes everywhere. You MUST wear a mask! It also consumes sandpaper. I got frustrated with 80 grit, so tried 60. 80 was marginally better. Did the sanding on the garage floor. Spent more time on my knees than a cheap hooker at a national convention.

Set aside the FRP and screwed the sheet of plywood to the 2x6s to get the shape.


Day 2 - part 1. Trimmed the excess off to get the size to its proper size 48 by 76.
Cut G10 into squares for the attachment points as recommended by Jamestown distributors.
Cut holes in the foam core sheets for the G10 to fit in. Measured distance from the edges.

DAy 3 Did the first layer of glass cloth and foam last night. MAS medium hardener is not fast in 50 degree temps! I was short on foam core, so ran a piece of PVC about 5 inches wide to make up for it. Unlike West epoxy, MAS sticks to PVC. Hoping to get another layer or two done tonight.

Day 4 Drilled pilot holes through the G10 and FRP so I know where the U Bolts go.
Added epoxy, another layer of 6 oz cloth, more epoxy and the top sheet of FRP last night. Clamped it, let it cure. It is now hard as a rock!
Next steps are to drill holes for a couple of U Bolts, test fit.

Day 5
It FITS!! Did. A test fitting yesterday. Today rounded the corners uses a lid from a 10 quart pan to give me the right radius. Then filled the edges with 3M filler, sanded and repeated. One good sanding away from a coat of primer.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...wU?usp=sharing


Hoping to finish it this week.
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Old 16-04-2018, 07:58   #2
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Re: Another hard bimini!

Lookin good!
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Old 16-04-2018, 08:20   #3
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Re: Another hard bimini!

Anything custom made is going to be dear . The advantages of a hard Bimini are well worth the effort and time to build it yourself. If you lack both of these then opening the wallet will get you one .

Regards John
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Old 16-04-2018, 08:21   #4
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Re: Another hard bimini!

I really like what you've done here and would like to do something very similar. I hope you don't mind me taking advantage of your experience by helping me with a few questions that I have?

What do your plan to use to finish the edges with?

What kind or paint do you plan to use and how will you apply it?

Would a belt sander work for taking off those little nubs from the FRP sheet faster than a palm sander?

Why did you use the layer of foam instead of just another layer of plywood fiberglassed to the bottom layer? Solid wood would allow you to fasten directly to it rather than having to use the G10. Was lower weight the issue that led you in this direction as opposed to another layer of marine plywood? Approximately how much does it weigh? EDIT: I think I just realized that the plywood is not part of the structure and was just used to transfer the shape to the FRP/foam lamination?

Also, thanks for taking the time to post the pix! You explained it very well but the pix reinforced it.

Besides greater durability compared with canvas, I think the increased width will help ensure that water running off it will be outside the cockpit coamings which will seem very nice.
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Old 16-04-2018, 09:51   #5
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Re: Another hard bimini!

Right, no plywood. Didn't want to worry about over-drilling and filling if I add solar panels. I used scored foam so it made it easier to match the curve.

I used a 3M filler to fill the edges. They will be sanded square.

A belt sander would be faster, but is too destructive in my hands. Sanding the sheets was the most time consuming part of the job. If you are comfortable with a belt sander, go for it!

I'll use a two part epoxy primer and paint in a soft white to match the rest of the cockpit. I'd guess it weighs about 40 pounds. On a 30,000 pound boat, I don't care. I will probable add some bracing to the bimini frame.
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Old Yesterday, 15:54   #6
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Re: Another hard bimini!

Itís done! Photos are in the google drive.
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Old Yesterday, 16:53   #7
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Re: Another hard bimini!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOffice View Post
It’s done! Photos are in the google drive.
Very Nicely done sir!

How much $$$ did you end up spending?
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Old Yesterday, 18:08   #8
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Re: Another hard bimini!

About 350 including 2 part paint
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Old Yesterday, 19:16   #9
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Re: Another hard bimini!

Did the same with okume, under 300 dollars
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