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Old 02-06-2011, 11:17   #1
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Making a Reflective Bimini

Today is a beautiful day on the Chesapeake Bay. However, the previous three days were brutal. 95 degree temperatures with high humidity making it feel like 105 Deg F. Our 4 hour trip home Monday from the weekend was miserably HOT. There was no breeze, and I could not manufacture enough wind from the Iron Ginny. The bimini top was absorbing and radiating heat into the cockpit. You could feel the heat coming through the fabric. I didn’t stop sweating until I was home in the AC.


I was thinking of modifying my bimini, connector and dodger by adding a layer of mylar (shiny side up) then a layer of fabric and stitch it all together. In that way, I would reflect the heat back. It seems like it would help a lot. Has anyone tried this or something similar?
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:27   #2
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Re: Making a reflective Bimini

Interesting.
I'm now in the process of designing my Bimini and although the rest of my "canvas" work is dark blue, I was figuring on white.
Seems like a reflective surface on the top would be the cats ass.
I wonder what materials are available for such an application.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:38   #3
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Re: Making a reflective Bimini

Those thin plastic emergency heat-reflective blankets that we all keep in our ditch bags would work just fine. They claim to reflect 90% of the heat. I used one on top of the contents of my reefer to reduce the load on the refrigeration unit when it was acting up on me.

Emergency blanket, 52"x84", 5 per dispenser box
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:04   #4
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Re: Making a reflective Bimini

What we have now.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:25   #5
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Re: Making a reflective Bimini

In my fire service days, I regularly trained, and attended a number of incidents where we used the Aluminized Proximity suits. One could be right up on the fire front and be quite comfortable. Only being hit with a water spray was uncomfortable, because the surface heat, 300*+ F, created steam instantly, and if it got into the suit, could be painful.
The survival blankets would do IMO.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:50   #6
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Re: Making a reflective Bimini

When I bought Imagine she had dark green canvas. You could just feel the heat on top your head. The next year I put on cadet gray, and it made a huge difference. The lighter the better except for showing dirt. Isn't it always some kind of compromise?........i2f
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Old 02-06-2011, 19:04   #7
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Re: Making a reflective Bimini

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Originally Posted by James S View Post
my "canvas" work is dark blue
I have the same blue canvas. I was thinking like 'imagine2frolic' that I could put a lighter color on top. Perhaps a cream color with the same huge to compiliment the blue; except, in between, I would put a reflective layer.

In research, I found that mylar is the film material BoPET or "PET" for short. Mylar is a dupont branded name. other people make it. The film needs to be "metallized" to make it reflective. It looks like the hydroponic growers like this stuff and advertise rolls pretty cheap enough where I can get 2 mil rolls. The bags I think are 0.5 mil thickness.
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Old 02-06-2011, 19:10   #8
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Re: Making a reflective Bimini

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except for showing dirt.
That's the other concern. White is out of the question. Few people can see the top of your Bimini. That is why I'm thinking of a double fabric layer with a middle reflective layer.

If nobody has done it, Ill try it and post results here. I'd rather learn from your mistakes if you have made them (and vice versa).
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Old 02-06-2011, 21:25   #9
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Re: Making a reflective Bimini

Looks like your gonna have to be the lead on this one Windseeker.....don't forget the pictures mate!
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:49   #10
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Re: Making a reflective Bimini

Last summer I was guinea pigging (on deck) with a couple of folding car windscreen heat reflectors:-



Deck underneath was cool to the touch Made a big difference inside the cabin as well.......obviously not wind / weather proof, but something (else ) for me to work on..........
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:16   #11
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Re: Making a Reflective Bimini

So if we could just find that in a weather proof material of reasonable size.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:31   #12
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Re: Making a Reflective Bimini

Anyone know a forest-fire-fighter. They carry a tough fabric reflective blanket. Get a trade name.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:37   #13
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Re: Making a Reflective Bimini

It will be very interesting to see what the results are from your tests and experiments. Several years ago , I built a rigid bimini using 1/2" urethane construction foam, bent over a curved jig to conform with the bimini bow tubes, and fiberglassed both sides. I mounted this on the old bimini tube bows, and the results was strong enough to climb up and walk on the top, and the heat transfer from the sun is nil. 'Course, thats a bigger job than sewing a reflective film over the canvas bimini.
I'm be watching to see what you learn from your experiments.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:52   #14
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Re: Making a Reflective Bimini

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Originally Posted by Southern Drawl View Post
It will be very interesting to see what the results are from your tests and experiments. Several years ago , I built a rigid bimini using 1/2" urethane construction foam, bent over a curved jig to conform with the bimini bow tubes, and fiberglassed both sides. I mounted this on the old bimini tube bows, and the results was strong enough to climb up and walk on the top, and the heat transfer from the sun is nil. 'Course, thats a bigger job than sewing a reflective film over the canvas bimini.
I'm be watching to see what you learn from your experiments.
Just curious, did you build in a water catchment system by adding edges to the bimini?........i2f
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:04   #15
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Re: Making a Reflective Bimini

I switched off-white (sunbrella oyster white) bimini's and dodgers two boats ago and have never looked back. Here's why:

Noticeably cooler
Cockpit feels lighter, airier and much less "cave" like
Good color match to most types of bird poop
Boat looks better since the canvas visually "disappears"
Doesn't look old and faded after two years

My old navy dodger always had white splotches of bird poop that were very visible. Some types of poop seemed to become a permanent white in the sunbrella weave resisting all miracle cleaners.

Over time air pollution will make the off-white a little more grey but it's still attractive and not splotchy. Twice a year I give it a good cleaning right on the frames to freshen it up. Unlike a dark color you can use a really strong cleaner on a stubborn spot without the risk of a permanent white splotch on a dark color.

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