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Old 07-30-2020, 02:15 PM   #1
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Mail Order Bimini Top

Given the current state of affairs in Florida, I try to stay away from crowded places to the maximum extent possible. But now I need to get a new Bimini top, since my old one, like me, is showing signs of age and coming apart.


So what I would like to do is to put the old one in a box, ship it to someone who makes Bimini tops, and have them make a new one just like the old one except newer, and send it back to me.


Can anyone recommend such a place?


Thanks,
John
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Old 07-30-2020, 02:22 PM   #2
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I can, but they are on the Left Coast.

https://www.nwcraftedinteriors.com/
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Old 07-30-2020, 02:53 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'll make a note of that, but hopefully someone will come up with a recommendation closer to home. Seems as if there should be places like that in Florida. In fact I feel sure I can find a place, but finding a place on the Internet and having someone personally recommend a place are, of course, two different things. I much prefer a personal recommendation, if possible.
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Old 07-30-2020, 04:41 PM   #4
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I had that same situation earlier this year before launch, needed to get my Bimini top replaced (Feb/Mar 20). We only have one canvas shop around here (Sioux Falls, SD) and they couldn't do it until Fall 2020. A user with a handle named Bacchus suggested Gioia Sails, with shops in New Jersey and Florida. I called Gioia, great initial contact by phone, they agreed to try it long-distance, I'd cover all shipping back and forth of course, and they gave me a decent price estimate. I called them once more when the shrink-wrap came off and I could take down the Bimini and ship it to them but they went silent -- no answer to my calls or emails. This was the Florida location, didn't try NJ.

I also tried J&S Marine Canvas in Baldwinsville, NY. They did all the original canvas on our Mainship, and about three years ago they did a great job replacing one side panel long distance. This time they refused, didn't want to do the job without having the boat there. We finally had to use the South Dakota place and I might get the bimini sometime later this year -- I hope.

This doesn't help at all I know but just FYI on a couple attempts I made trying to get canvas done long distance. Very frustrating.
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Old 07-30-2020, 04:52 PM   #5
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Try giving Boat Covers Direct in South Carolina. They specialize in boat-specific biminis but are worth contacting. Their service is excellent before and as I can attest after, the sale. I have had one of their biminis on my little Whaler for 13 years of very heavy use and abuse. If you give them the overall dimensions, I'd guess they have the ability to make one up for you. Worth calling to find out. Their knowledgeable folks are there during regular business hours.

https://www.boatcoversdirect.com/products/bimini_tops/
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:36 PM   #6
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I've had several bimini tops made while living in FL. The three shops I dealt with always came to the boat with a truck rigged for bending frame tubing and sewing. They are on and off the boat multiple times tweaking things for a perfect fit. My guess is the chance of a perfect fit is almost impossible through shipping. Shops want happy customers and know that every job is a custom job. If it's just the canvas, it stretches, shrinks and warps with age and the new one made from the old "pattern" won't fit the old frame. I understand why you want to do this but fear you're asking for a big headache. Cheers.
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:09 PM   #7
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Hi Bacchus checking in. As Karl mentioned I did some business with Gioia ... I've done some canvas jobs as a hobby / retirement business. I knew Gioia did some work for Mainship and others and I have seen their work and thought it was very good.
Many folks request a new piece be made from the old but i politely decline if I dont have the boat to pattern or check my work.
Do you have a simple bikini or side, front, aft panels that attach?
A simple bikini that doesnt attach to anything is one thing but matching panels is nearly impossible and shops would rather turn down work than have dissatisfied customers.
It's kind of similar to going to a body shop and asking them to just paint over your DIY body work... no go... everyone will ask who did your paint job??
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:28 PM   #8
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Greatlakesskipper.com might be a place to look.
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:15 PM   #9
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Hmm. Well, all that sounds a bit discouraging. No way to get the boat in to a shop, and I don't much think that getting someone to come to the boat is feasible. We are too much out in the boondocks.



Maybe I should just look into replacing the Bimini with a hard top. I'm going to do some research on that.



Thanks guys, and hey Don. Long time no talk to.


John
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:21 PM   #10
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We have hardtotop.com hardtop on our current boat and a previous boat. We like them and they use the bimini framework. Simple to install.

Another route is sailrite.com and get a commercial sewing machine and do your own canvas work. They have lots of DIY videos. We bought a Sailrite machine about 10 years ago. It paid for itself on the first job. Since we have done 4 different boats canvas work. We have saved literally well over $10K and probably more like $15K.
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:43 PM   #11
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Call Superior Interiors in Pensacola.

8326 Lillian Hwy
Pensacola, FL 32506
Tel: 850-912-6271
Fax: 850-912-6272

She does beautiful work for a fair price and easy to work with. Did all my cockpit cushions, I looked over some of her canvas work for future reference best I've seen on the Gulf. Close enough, yall can get together if needed. Exterior of the shop is not impressive - but inside its a whole different picture. (I always check out vendors via Google) She might send her installers to St Marks to measure and or install.


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Old 07-30-2020, 11:02 PM   #12
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The Big Bend is lovely but remote. I'm sure Panama City has canvas shops with mobile services. About a 2 hr drive. It's possible they have or would have a big job in your area. Otherwise, a good reason for a cruise. If it's just the canvas, it's possible to bring your existing frame and measurements of the anchor points. They attach it to a wooden frame to do the fitting. Not ideal but worth calling them. Or maybe a new rectangular frame with canvas laced onto it. Similar to a T top but larger. I'm trying to be creative. Cheers.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:29 PM   #13
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I remember several Gulfstar trawlers visiting my marina in Marathon in the 80s. Really ahead of their time with luxury and comforts of home like a washing machine and minimal teak. I'd love one now but not many around San Diego. As the Dockmaster, I was often invited aboard many boats that dazzled me. Hinckleys, Huckins, Trumpys, Buddy Davis, Merit, Rybovich, Broward, brand new Grand Banks 42'. The wealth that visited was mind blowing.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:42 PM   #14
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On Yachtworld there's currently a 1973 43' GS with hardtop to help with a builder visualize what it looks like.
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
We have hardtotop.com hardtop on our current boat and a previous boat. We like them and they use the bimini framework. Simple to install.

Another route is sailrite.com and get a commercial sewing machine and do your own canvas work. They have lots of DIY videos. We bought a Sailrite machine about 10 years ago. It paid for itself on the first job. Since we have done 4 different boats canvas work. We have saved literally well over $10K and probably more like $15K.
John
Hi back to you. Yes haven't connected in awhile.
I would agree with Dave. If a simple bimini (not bikini?)
I'm sure you could do a decent job DIY.
Lots of video help online.
The other approach you will find online is to use reinforced strapping tape to fix frame distances in place and then remove the frame to take to a shop to pattern and fab the bimini top.
You can do the same for hardtop to be able to work at home.
You set the hinge points from the boat on a 2x4 frame and the top stands on it's own on a floor.
If that's of interest I can probably help with a search for the instructions.
We used to hit Carrabelle Beach RV resort most years to visit friends but haven't stayed there in several yrs. We really liked the area.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:19 AM   #16
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Before you give up, have you tried talking to Boat Covers Direct? Really, go ahead, give them a call. What could it hurt?
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Old 07-31-2020, 11:08 AM   #17
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I imagine there are quite a few boats along the river. Type up a letter and take a dingy ride. Drop the letter at any boat that could use canvas work. Suggest that the buying power of multiple jobs can bring someone to you. It's COVID friendly and a good reason to take a boat ride with someone to help.
BTW, I just did a google search for marine canvas, Shields Marina, St Marks came up. Have you called them? Sometimes we don't see the obvious. You don't need to go to their shop or get within 20 feet of them when they come to measure the boat.
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:32 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the advice and comments. Actually, I do have a Sailrite, which I bought about 10 years ago thinking that I could learn to use it and do all sorts of neat things for the boat. Well, I am of the opinion that there are some people who just cannot use a sewing machine, and I am in that group. I did try, with videos and practice and a lot of time spent with my tongue in one corner of my mouth. But no go. It is just not a good match. If something could go wrong, it did. And if nothing could go wrong, it did anyway.



Anyway, the thing that is beginning to look very attractive now is the idea of a hard top Bimini, as suggested by Comodave. I've looked at the hardtotop.com website, and it looks interesting.


So I am going to start a new thread, and ask about the experiences of others with a hard top


John
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:34 PM   #19
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Good luck with the research.
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Old 07-31-2020, 02:11 PM   #20
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I have gotten best response from them by calling the number rather than email.
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