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Old 17-08-2016, 16:52   #16
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

We used two thicknesses of 3/8" marine ply. Offset them by 1 foot, and screwed and glued them together. When done it was resined, glassed (2 layers), then Interlux Brightside in white.
You can read the latest blog article here: All Quiet on the Southern Front

And I'll try and add the photo...

Yea, it worked!
The photo was taken before the solar panels went on. The ugly blue tarp is because we're sitting in a marina in Florida and it's hot here. We will be getting new deck shades shortly now that the hardtop is completed.
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Old 17-08-2016, 16:56   #17
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

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Originally Posted by John Holbrook View Post
Just a suggestion... King Starboard or similar. Comes in different thicknesses and sheets up to 54" X 96". Will flex slightly and doesn't fade.
The hardtop we took off was made of Starboard. It sagged under the weight of 330 watts of solar and when you walked on it to get at the boom it sagged majorly and was scary (we expected to land in the cockpit at any moment.

If it's ONLY shade you want, the Starboard would be fine, but it's got (in my opinion) very little strength and not good for structural stuff.
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Old 17-08-2016, 17:31   #18
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

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you asked for ideas / most expensive multi hull owners roll around laughing when they see our dodger, but after a while some start asking what's it made of / is it aluminium etc and there have been a few gigantic pups made / not exactly the same lines of course /

the material is epoxy laminated hard wood veneer that includes all ribs , hand rails and push pit , solar panel brackets / it catches water (very important) / the hand rails are positioned for use under sail and the shape spoils the drag behind the boat / 5kts hull speed in 5kts of wind ( smooth water with very little current)

excuse the junk on the boat in the photo we are painting inside at the moment
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Old 17-08-2016, 21:11   #19
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

I used Decolite for the solid part of my bimini. It is a fiberglass (thin) skinned end grain balsa sheet. Other thicknesses are made, but I used 1/2 inch. Half the weight of 1/2" plywood, and they claim the same strength as 1/2"plywood. The 1/2" thickness does bend, at least plenty enough for my design.

This solid portion (I glued plastic bolt rope tract to the side edges for attaching Sunbrella extensions, or wings) is about 8 feet long and about 5 1/2 feet wide, and I have stood on it along with someone weighing about 200 lb. So I had to splice 2 panels together.

I believe the original manufacturer, Baltek, has sold the process to another company. When I bought it about a dozen years ago, it was about $200 for a 4'X8' sheet, which seems expensive, but for what it is, I figure it is a an easy way to get a strong, light solid top.
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Old 17-08-2016, 23:11   #20
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

I just did up an aluminum frame the appropriate size and filled it with solar panels. They ARE the bimini top. No wood, no fibreglas, no nothing. It also has lips (I used 2" aluminum T-bar around the perimeter) that catch the water and direct it to two drains at the back which, with a little plumbing and a filter or two will capture rainwater and direct it to the water tanks.

There are six solar panels up there totaling 420 watts. It works like a hot damn!
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Old 18-08-2016, 09:09   #21
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

I have often thought that aluminium sheet might be a good option if the frame is already there. Very quick to get a lot of area and will conform to the curve of the frame. You could walk on it if it has support underneath. At .452 lbs/sq.ft. it is light. Also it seems to that it comes in anodized sheet. http://www.sfsupplies.com/productfil...eightchart.pdf
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Old 18-08-2016, 09:59   #22
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

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I just did up an aluminum frame the appropriate size and filled it with solar panels. They ARE the bimini top. No wood, no fibreglas, no nothing. It also has lips (I used 2" aluminum T-bar around the perimeter) that catch the water and direct it to two drains at the back which, with a little plumbing and a filter or two will capture rainwater and direct it to the water tanks.

There are six solar panels up there totaling 420 watts. It works like a hot damn!
Brilliant!

a picture is worth 1000 words....
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Old 18-08-2016, 11:45   #23
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

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We just completed our new hardtop ----- It's 11' wide and 10' long, so 110 sq ft. Two layers of 3/8" marine ply, covered in two layers of fiberglass. -----
David -
How much does that weigh?
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Old 18-08-2016, 20:38   #24
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

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David -
How much does that weigh?
About 250 lbs. It's a little on the heavy side but only slightly more than the one we took off.

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Old 18-08-2016, 22:50   #25
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

[QUOTE=Hunky Dory;2191562]I really like some of the ideas presented. I am not as ambitious as most. I have just finished a 10' wide top. I found two fiberglas tonneau covers from wrecked trucks. I cut one in half and took 38" out of the centre of the second top.

I'd really like some pictures of your finished project if possible. I've purchased an old camer topper and a tonneau already and will be constructing it this winter in my garage here in Alaska. Forward pics to alphaclay@mac.com if possible. Thanks much.
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Old 19-08-2016, 09:50   #26
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

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Here's a few post I did on making a hard top out of sheets of Azek.

Very easy to work with using wood working tools.

No finish work or painting is required as the sheets are white throughout.

Warranty is for 25 years.

Sheets come in different thickness and 4x8 or 4x11 foot sheets.

Bimini

Bimini
.
.
How much does the Azek weight? Could not find data on their site
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Old 19-08-2016, 10:00   #27
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

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How much does the Azek weight? Could not find data on their site
Azek weighs less than the same thickness 4' x 8' sheet of plywood.
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Old 19-08-2016, 10:16   #28
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

Some solid ideas! I currently have a bunch of decrepit 3/8 ply sheets painted with what now looks like aged bird s***. Looking forward to some improvement.

Few questions for the masses:

- I'd love to be able to have finished wood (varnish, cetol) on the underside of the bimini (not exposed to direct sunlight). Feasible? Including being able to keep it looking good in the tropics.

- For laminating foam to ply - just normal polyurethane resin?

- I'm keen to hear more about how folks are finishing the edges of the their masterpieces. I feel this is is what makes the difference between something that looks DIY and looks pro.

- AZEK - Does anyone have any photos of what it looks like after being baked in the sun for a few years?

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Old 19-08-2016, 16:03   #29
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

To finish the edge of mine I used a router with a 3/4" rounding bit along the top and along the bottom so it has a 1.5" radius rounded edge. This also helped with the glassing as it wouldn't have taken to a sharp corner as well as it did to the rounded one.

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Old 19-08-2016, 16:04   #30
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Re: Best Hardtop Bimini Ideas

Could have also attached a 1/2 round but I preferred the router than having to glue and screw another piece on.

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