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Old 06-10-2015, 10:46   #1
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Finishing Options For Bottom of Bimini ??

I am ready to start my hard bimini ( with balsa core) and was wondering if anyone has suggestions for the finish of the underside? Was thinking something different that smooth white fiberglass.
  • paint light blue
  • smooth "fiberglass" panels from Lowes/HD - not much glass though
  • try to incorporate some door skins to get the "wood look" but seems would be an issue
  • fabric? - how to attach?
I already plan to put in a conduit for the solar panel wires and small lights in the bimini and a rain catcher around the outside.
thanks in advance....Ed
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:19   #2
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Re: Finishing Options For Bottom of Bimini ??

How about fabric?
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Old 06-10-2015, 13:31   #3
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Re: Finishing Options For Bottom of Bimini ??

If you do your layup on a sheet of melamine that is waxed, you can gelcoat it...

Or at least use the gelcoat as a fairing filler before painting it. Smooth white or light blue paint would be my suggestion as it is easy to clean.

Zach
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Old 06-10-2015, 14:10   #4
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Re: Finishing Options For Bottom of Bimini ??

Guy - I like the fabric idea but could not figure out how to apply it uniformly. Originally thought to lay up on the fabric but it would probably look poor infused with epoxy.

Zach - I am getting very good at laying up on thick PE film - nice smooth surface and easy to release. Not sure gelcoat offers me anything other than cracking in the future. I have been having good success with epoxy filled with 3M microballoons. White surface, easy to sand.
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Old 07-10-2015, 03:42   #5
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Re: Finishing Options For Bottom of Bimini ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailorman Ed View Post
I have been having good success with epoxy filled with 3M microballoons. White surface, easy to sand.
Not easy to keep clean, though. You will regret that on the underside of a bimini.

I prefer gelcoat - you would only be using it like a paint coat when laying up, not putting it on 1/8" thick. I don't see why it would crack any more than all other gelcoated boat parts that do not crack. Unless you are making a very thin and flexible unsupported panel and will be stomping on it (and weigh 300lbs).

As for color, that is personal. I think blue looks funky in gel/epoxy (I'm assuming you didn't mean dark blue). White looks clean and the brightness works for you most of the time - the other times the cockpit shades make it work.

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Old 07-10-2015, 08:26   #6
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Re: Finishing Options For Bottom of Bimini ??

Thanks Mark - I had not given enough thought to cleaning.

How about adding some paint to the epoxy. I understand you give up a little on strength but a final coat after all is completed? If so, what kind of paint?
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:26   #7
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Re: Finishing Options For Bottom of Bimini ??

Hello boat builder.
I built a rigid bimini for my catamaran last year.
I first built a male mold of the underside of the future bimini, out of melamine chip board screwed on frames sawn to shape: See photo.
I then waxed the mold, laid the gelcoat of my choice (I chose white) (photo), layers of mat and rowing, foam core , grooved it for futur cables (GPS antena, ockpit lights, solar pannels... ), rowing, mat , and finally gelcoat roughly painted and thus anti skid on top.
Result : Exactly the shape I wanted, Impeccable finish below in the color of my choice, antiskid on top, all cables Inside, rain water collected, helmsman hatch on ball races . (see photo)

Be ambitious, the result is well Worth the effort

SORRY? I AM STRUGGLING TO ADD THE PHOTOS
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:36   #8
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Re: Finishing Options For Bottom of Bimini ??

Photos of GALAWA's bimini under construction and finished
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Name:	Bimini Pose du gelcoat 5-6-14.jpg
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ID:	110615  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Vue du sommet du mat.jpg
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:48   #9
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Re: Finishing Options For Bottom of Bimini ??

I've a hard Bimini 10'x10'. Mildew on the underside is a constant in the PNW. An easily cleaned under side surface would be my #1 design criteria. #2... Off white or other color
That won't be too reflective. White caps most often have dark
Under bills, easier on the eyes.
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