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Old 03-10-2017, 06:26 AM   #21
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:39 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
Are your frame tubes aluminum or SS?
Bill,

Could be either one. Stainless is a bit more.
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:37 PM   #23
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Someone asked if it included curtains... if so, it's a bargain if not....reasonable if installation included.

I moved away from canvas tops. I paid Atlantic Towers to fabricate and install both a hardtop over my rear deck and a radar arch. Cost was about $7K plus delivery/installation which was about $800 back in 2005.

Last spring I ordered another custom hardtop for the helm, again from Atlantic Towers. The cost for the hardtop/supports and stuff was $5K but I had to wait until October before I could get the top delivered and installed. That cost 1300. If you purchase a big, heavy top the installer might ask to have a crane or for installing it. I just had 3 guys plus myself along with the delivery team consisting of 2 guys.

The installers did a great job! Took about 5-6 hours to do the job. I have half of my curtains made for the new top and I have a bunch of additional ones to make. Wifey wanted the color changed so all the curtains will be new.

Bimini vs hardtop! NO COMPARISON!!!
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:06 PM   #24
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I too am in need of a Bimini, only have one quote so far, $8000, it's a 55 foot boat with a large flybridge and I need both canvas and the SS support. IMO with canvas the quality of work is more important than price, in my search I have found several people whose poorly fitted canvas lasted half the time it should have. Closely inspect their previous work before you commit to a vendor.
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:43 PM   #25
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I too am in need of a Bimini, only have one quote so far, $8000, it's a 55 foot boat with a large flybridge and I need both canvas and the SS support. IMO with canvas the quality of work is more important than price, in my search I have found several people whose poorly fitted canvas lasted half the time it should have. Closely inspect their previous work before you commit to a vendor.


Is this for just the Bimini or Bimini and curtains?
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:34 AM   #26
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There is always a great deal of variation in canvas work price. Around here, we have gotten quotes for as little as $1800, to as high as $3500 for the same thing. Bimini only with no steel work. There are differences in quality, workmanship, and attention to detail. A lot of deciding on a canvas job has to do with the reputation of the installer... or the shop. You really need to go look at past jobs. Look at how well it fits and how well it is put together. Is $3000 a good price? Well, that is impossible for any of us outside your market to answer and kinda foolish for us to try. Something is only work what someone is willing to pay for it. Your perceived value will be vastly different than mine, or anyone else's. If this was a part or piece of gear from Defender or West Marine, that is one thing, but this is mostly a service item. Materials are only a fraction of the cost of biminis. Only you can decide what it is worth to you.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:39 PM   #27
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There is great conjecture pertaining to canvas prices. I never gave it much thought until recently when I agreed to help a friend by doing his canvas work. This is the second time around for him. The first time I did his work I had little sewing experience and we agreed to barter my work for his work in our home. He is now retired being a cabinet maker and this time he only has to absorb the material cost.

As I type I have even put off doing my own canvas in order to finish his. My canvas requires patterns because of my new hard top along with major planned canvas changes to the older canvas. I am using his old canvas for pattern.

My assessment of how much work is involved (and I do NOT do canvas work professionally) is first......make patterns. This involves a trip to the boat and could take several hours for two guys to do. Next is the material inventory.......zippers, seamstick tape, vinyl,and fabric. After deciding how each panel is going to be fabricated there comes the task of laying out and cutting all the piece parts, one curtain at a time. Next is the sewing and when that curtain's fabric is done, next comes laying out the vinyl, cutting it and sticking it to the fabric using seamstick followed by sewing.

I find that sewing the vinyl to the fabric should be done using a helper unless you have a large area with spread tables at the sewing machine. Next to be sewn comes the zippers and velcro which I use to make sure the panel edges don't flap in the wind. There is also sometimes a need to add reinforcement areas for snaps. And the process is repeated panel after panel.

So the time expended so far includes the trip to the boat with a helper to make patterns, anywhere between 2-4 hours depending on circumstances. I am not a professional canvas fabricator but it takes me 6-8 hours to do each panel and if complex, longer. The final step of course is to take the product to the boat and install it along with all the necessary snaps.

My boat has the helm and rear deck enclosed using 19 curtain panels. The fabrication labor at 8 hours/panel is 152 man hours. Material cost is in the $1K range plus it takes another 4-5 hours to make the material happen----planning, ordering and so forth.

Next the installation plus snaps..... easily can take a day or more for two guys. So another 20 man hours. Total expected man hours 152 +5+20 = 177.

If I did this work professionally, I would need to budget the facility cost including utilities, liability insurance, workmans comp, SS, taxes, LLC cost and then finally profit...if any. All costs quickly drive up the labor rate to somewhere in the $100/man hour. So labor for doing my boat would amount to about $18K and with material the job cost approaches $20K. Add profit for final cost so the job could price out over $25K.

Each fabricator has his own set of guidelines and if he cannot make a profit.....he will soon be out of business.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:46 PM   #28
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But what you are not taking into account is that pros are way more efficient than you are at fabricating the panels. It does not take them anywhere near 4 to 5 hours per panel. It used to take me that kind of time also, but with experience you become much faster. I am still no way as quick as a pro, but my time is down to about half of what it used to be. Pros also have huge tables to work on and that makes a big difference. When I work in my garage on my large tables it is a lot easier and faster that whem I work on the boat with a small table. Also as I have accumulated the tools it goes faster. I used to use basting tape all the time, now I use it sporadically if I think it will make it easier. It all adds up to time savings and a better product.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:51 PM   #29
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Foggy,

That is a real eye opener and well stated for those not in the trades. Thanks for sharing the breakdown.

You get what you pay for and less expensive usually means corners cut somewhere.
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:23 PM   #30
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This question is similar to "How much does a car, boat, bicycle or house cost?"

Foggy's numbers are surprisingly close to what the really good canvas shops cost in the PNW. The good ones are booked about 6 to 8 months in advance for the bigger jobs that will take up to two - three weeks. The labor for my current job will easily be in the 130 hour range done by real pros.

A simple bimini top is a different story requiring lesser skills. Once you get into +100 square foot areas, radar arches, side windows, wipers, tough and weather resistant etc the Scope changes.

Tom B in his above post sums it up quite nicely.
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:26 PM   #31
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Foggysail
Agree with your summary.
I've done some of this as barter / hobby business.
I don't have to worry about profit as my time is dort of free?
I've used what ever extra $ I do clear to add tools and caoabilities.
I now have 3 great mechanics that will gladly help or work on my boat w/ o charge....priceless!
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:44 PM   #32
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For us, I did not feel that the labor charges to make a cockpit enclosure were unfounded. I know that shops have to bill a fair rate, in order to survive, and that rate here in Alaska is around $100 per hour.

I just felt that the value received did not equal the dollars necessary to have canvas professionally made. I decided that it would be better to invest in the proper tools, and to take the time to learn how to sew myself.

The thought was and is that the cockpit enclosure is the first big project. After that I'll do the flying bridge enclosure. Plus there's drapes to sew, and all kinds of smaller useful things that can be tackled with this new found or new learned skill.
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Old 03-11-2017, 03:04 PM   #33
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Just got quoted $850 for a new Flybridge cover and new rear Lace-on cockpit cover from a highly respected local guy (Kent's canvas). After 13 years, they're both at the end of their life. I was pretty pleased with that quote...

I tried to get a quote from Hard-to-top for a hard rear cover. but they were totally non-responsive to both their on line quote form and a directed email. They lost a potential sale with me..

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Old 03-11-2017, 05:36 PM   #34
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I have put a Hard to Top hardtop on 2 boats now. I have not had trouble getting them to respond to a phone call. They are in a suburb of Detroit so I just picked them up when they were ready. They have been very responsive for support questions when I call. It is a small operation and I always call not go on the web site.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:16 PM   #35
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Well, you may or may not get what you pay for. The hourly rate doesn't mean much for the most part, it's what is accomplished and the quality.

I could argue strongly that the two most important things desirable in a top is experience and quality. And that's true in a lot of specialized work you hire out. From electronics to installing engines, etc.

The guy with experience should be able to tell you about your project before even seeing it and probably give you a price and time frame, unless you have something really odd ball. Often the experience guy will give you better quality, faster work and do it cheaper that the guy who is new at it.
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:28 AM   #36
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I payed $5,000
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:28 AM   #37
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:29 AM   #38
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:55 AM   #39
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hard top

How big is the area you are trying to cover and do you have an existing bimini frame?
I have a hard top from hardtotop.com. It is made of poly-carbonate and anodized aluminum mounted right on top of my bimini frame, actually it made it sturdier. Comes with 10 year warranty and I have had it for 4 years. It is a great product and they will ship anywhere in the US. I put it on with a friend of mine on a Sat. 7hrs. The cost was $2000
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:42 AM   #40
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Echo sentiments on the hardtotop.
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