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Old 20-09-2016, 00:26   #1
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Looking for reputable AND inexpensive canvas/enclosure maker

Not sure if I'm posting in the correct section and not sure if the title's reqs are mutually exclusive but will give it a try anyway.

Looking for someone to make a straightforward full 4 side mostly plastic enclosure for a self installed hard top on a 36 ft sailboat over the winter. Not a rush job just looking for it to be decently made for not too much $$. The boat will be on the hard in Boston area from late October to early May. Any leads, advice or comments as well as ball park figure estimates to be expected are appreciated.
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Old 20-09-2016, 03:50   #2
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Re: Looking for reputable AND inexpensive canvas/enclosure maker

My advice which is worth squat, is the words enclosures and cheap and good don't go together. We paid 5k for a full enclosure 5 years ago 8 panels and a softtop. Since then my wife has become an excellent canvas girl and made our enclosure and a few others. They are time consuming, good materials are expensive. You'd save the most money but not time buying a sailright and doing it yourself. Most canvas workers are $50-$80hr, and the avg enclosure panel is 300-400++ each depending on size.

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Old 20-09-2016, 14:26   #3
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Re: Looking for reputable AND inexpensive canvas/enclosure maker

Thanks. I was affraid of that. ))

At close to $5K or more I would definitely consider investing in Sailrite and learning to DIY. A friend had a similar enclosure made twice in the last 5-7 years. First one around 2008-9 with actually more expensive plastic was around $2,000-2,500 and barely lasted 5 years. Second one about 2 years ago using thinner plastic (he liked it better for ease of rolling it up, less cracking in the cold, etc) was about the same price. Unfortunately neither guy is available (I know both of them and was kinda hoping to hire one of them for this) so that's why I am looking. I can probably stretch my budget to $3,000 tops. Anything above that I might as well DIY as I have time in the off season to tinker with it.

PS $50-80/hr is probably the yard rate. AFAIK the going rate of pay to the people who actually do the measuring, stitching and what not is $15-20/hr, at least in FL. My hope is to find such a person to split the difference and cut out the middleman.
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Old 20-09-2016, 16:40   #4
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Re: Looking for reputable AND inexpensive canvas/enclosure maker

The companies I have dealt in the last 7+ years with were all in Fl 2 in the Pasco area 2 in the keys. With only 4 panels it shouldn't be that bad unless they are huge panels? Get the better material for sure

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Old 20-09-2016, 22:02   #5
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Re: Looking for reputable AND inexpensive canvas/enclosure maker

This was being discussed in an earlier thread within the last week. The consensus seemed to be that stratoglass is best for not getting blue in humid weather and for clear seeing through; but it cannot be rolled. So, you'd want somewhere to store each panel, probably in an enveloope you make from old sheets, store them under a double berth, if they're really big.

If you want your panels to roll, you need something more flexible.

Since you're wanting to enclose around an existing hard dodger, you might consider having the panels made with a bolt rope that slides into bolt rope channel, which you can mount on the dodger.

You can buy any used decent commercial grade sewing machine for this job and canvas work. it doesn't have to be brand new. I bought a used SailRite here in Oz, and Jim and I recently finished a boom bag with lazy jacks, and a bunch of other canvas work..

Money-wise, we're a long way ahead, if that's all you look at... But, we needed to go into a marina for a couple of weeks, and compared to living on the hook, let's just say it wasn't the bargain I expected it to be. However, it's all done, now, and I used Tenara thread, so it'll last as long as the fabric. Here, you're paying about $100/hr. for tradespeople.

I must say, tradespeople might work faster and make less mistakes than amateurs, but there is often a lot of waiting involved.

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Old 21-09-2016, 00:08   #6
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Re: Looking for reputable AND inexpensive canvas/enclosure maker

Thanks to all who replied.

Yes, I'm thinking of the slide-in system. And definitely would want/need the glass portion to roll up as I would not want to deal with removing/installing the whole panels each time it rained, gotten chilly or what have you. Like I said the friend who used the more pricey type of plastic the first time (also the roll up type) said it was too stiff and too brittle for his likes. But his main complaint was that it was losing its transparency a few years into install.
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