Finding someone to build a dang hard top is a pita

RussGW270

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#1
So, I have two people in Texas that say they can build me a top.... three actually but one did not know what a "half-tower" was.....so scratched them off.

The other, not bad.. high priced.

The 3rd, recommended, but always too busy to give me a quote so, in my mind... will always have excuses as to why it is not ready...

Amazed that there is nothing around Austin.

Pain in the back end.

Boat is being unloaded atm...should be here soon.

R
 

RussGW270

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#2
Hey guys... how hard would you guys think a OEM hard top would be to install?

I have built a lot of things... pretty darn handy...

I am looking at the math and, the OEM top... the only hard part atm is shipping it to somewhere that can unload it.. then transfer it to my 20ft trailer.

After that, just taking the parts out and putting it together.

Thoughts?

R
 

ocnslr

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#3
Russ, I'm not an expert but I watched our hardtop get fabricated, and got to know that Norfolk, VA shop rather well.

They made custom hardtops for boats, and needed the vessel available. Preferably at the shop, or at least close by.

They also made tops for a well-known company in NC. These were made on a jig, or plug, that had been provided by the factory.

Fabricator needs boat, plug, or jig. I think it unlikely that OEM fabricator still has plug or jig for a GW model that stopped production in 2005. And no reason any other shop would ever have had such a jig or plug.

JMHO.
 

RussGW270

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#4
I hear ya... will probably let the one down south do the job.. but now I am delayed because I have to take vacation to get it down there, and will not be till next week, soonest, due to the holidays. So.. no big deal. Will take time to clean it up I guess.

The guy in Florida did not put the arch in the boat. Not sure what happened with that, but not worth arguing over since he clearly rebuilt the entire trailer. Someone on here wanted it.. was going to give it to him, so that sorta nixes that. I have the bimini though, in case someone wants that part.
 

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seasick

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#6
Atlantic Towers cab build a semi-custom hardtop and ship it to you. These packages have adjustable mounts than can adjusted in the field for different mounting angles. Tops in general are expensive and this solution will run $5,000 or more. On top of that you have to install it and that is a pretty decent project. There are videos of the tops and installation on their website. I have seen the tops at boat shows but I ave no direct experience with the products.
 

RussGW270

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#7
Oh, already set aside the money for the top. It is not as much the money, although... OEM.. 10k..non OEM 13k, but more focused on what I want.

Either way, it is a waiting game...No way around the fact that this is a holiday weekend so, cannot take it to them to start... for two weeks due to the fact I have plans the following weekend. So, if I do take it down south, looking at May 10th before I can take it to them.

OR.. I can order one today...or worst case next Monday.. from NC.

Either way, 6-8 weeks.

If I do the NC thing.. well, I can spend those weeks working on other stuff on the boat here.

R
 

RussGW270

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#9
I did the math and here is what I figured:

1 - order from wmw bare min, no enclosure, no tax - 10k-ish

2 - Order everything from wmw 11,500-ish

3 - install myself - 0

4 - pay someone else to install - 1,500-ish

5 - Have someone down south do it all, bare min ...no enclosure - 13k with tax

6 - Have them down south do it all, but only 3-sided enclosure - 15k-ish

So, I think ordering from wmw is the best choice...just have to figure out how to get it delivered as I once again have to find a way to get the delivery off the delivery truck heh.

R
 
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#10
I did the math and here is what I figured:

1 - order from wmw bare min, no enclosure, no tax - 10k-ish

2 - Order everything from wmw 11,500-ish

3 - install myself - 0

4 - pay someone else to install - 1,500-ish

5 - Have someone down south do it all, bare min ...no enclosure - 13k with tax

6 - Have them down south do it all, but only 3-sided enclosure - 15k-ish

So, I think ordering from wmw is the best choice...just have to figure out how to get it delivered as I once again have to find a way to get the delivery off the delivery truck heh.

R
Man that seems expensive, you may want to ask over at the HULL TRUTH there may be a fabrication shop that does nice work in the area you're just not finding.
 

RussGW270

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#11
I hear ya....I have asked. They told me one place that the people are super super nice.. but.. all I get is "Oh, we have been so busy... We will get that quote to you in the next day or so..." and then "We were out of town working on a hot project...".. been going on for a couple weeks.

So, if they are in Texas, I will end up paying taxes. If they are that busy, I will end up getting either a similar quote or more because they do not need more work.. and/or it will take forever because they are just too busy.. heh

So, a lot of places do t-tops, a lot do canvas.. not many do hard tops.

WMW is the lest expensive around.

The kicker is trying to find a way to unload the crate from the truck. I am not sure if my tractor will do it... so trying to find a forklift that is not another 900 for the day.

R
 
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#15
seems to me someone here mentioned what an absolute value it is to buy a used grady with a hardtop vs a bimini...hmmmm...who was that?
If you are considering the "install yourself" mode, I would look at Atlantic Towers. They have a semi custom shippable top. It has clamped pieces that allow them to ship it flat and allow adjustment.

But it will be nowhere near a Grady top. If you want a top notch, custom, fully welded top, the mfg needs to have the boat. They have to line up the drops for the enclosure.
You need to get closer to the salt water to find the right guy.

Another route is find an old grady thats being parted out, doesn't necessarily need to be exact model...just same width top. ..may need the feet re-welded to fit...or just take the top and get new pipes.
My brother had a tower from a Blackfin re-fitted to his Aquasport290 full 2nd station with a bimini over it 8k....beautiful
(just be careful cuz sometimes old aluminum just won't weld nice...)
 
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#16
I picked up an original Grady top on Craigslist for $250. I'm only using the glass parts and I'll end up updating the look. I have never been a big fan of the aluminum work on the Grady's but will use the style as a base and improve on it. The areas where the welds cracked will be completely different.