Grady 208 - bimini poles on outside of enclosure?

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#1
I am attempting use an old bimini (no zippers) off a 80's overnighter as template to have a new bimini for my 1996 adventure (with zippers). The old bimini looks almost dead on to use as a template, but not sure how the zippers on the inside go over/around the support bars.
If anyone has any pictures of full enclosure from inside would help tremendously.


Background - have factory enclosure but not the factory bimini to match. Trying to find oem bimini with zippers or have a custom one made (not that easy with no template).
 

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DennisG01

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#2
I'm not quite sure what you are asking... are you questioning whether the bimini poles will be on the inside or outside of the enclosure? Canvas/enclosure will always be on the outside of the bimini poles. You'll need a zipper sewn into the perimeter edge of the bimini fabric to match the zipper size on the enclosures. I'm sure if you google for pictures you can easily find them - the brand of boat won't matter, so don't worry about if it's not a Grady.

FYI, a good custom shop will not need any template - they can make the whole thing from scratch.
 
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#3
I'm not quite sure what you are asking... are you questioning whether the bimini poles will be on the inside or outside of the enclosure? Canvas/enclosure will always be on the outside of the bimini poles. You'll need a zipper sewn into the perimeter edge of the bimini fabric to match the zipper size on the enclosures. I'm sure if you google for pictures you can easily find them - the brand of boat won't matter, so don't worry about if it's not a Grady.

FYI, a good custom shop will not need any template - they can make the whole thing from scratch.
The pictures I have seen (on the adventire) have bars on outside which is why I confused - see pic below.
My factory enclosure does not have space (or cutout/knotch) to go around the main support of canvas if on outside. If canvas is on inside have similar issue but with top supports (see my previous picture).

I am in NY and put of 10 or so shops I called I only got two willing to try but no guarantee (they say without template very hard to build bimini with zippers, as usually start with bimini and work down. Side/fromt/back panels are easier to replace -so they say), price quoted was 600 to 1k just for top, not the frame.
 

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#4
On mine, the bimini frame is on the outside of the enclosure. The frame gets threaded between the canvas and the zipper. Hopefully these pictures help.

IMAG0197.JPG
IMG_0710.JPG
 
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#5
Found 1 more photo that shows a closer view of the bimini zipper and frame. You can kind of see the stitching holding the zipper to the canvas. There's about a 3 or 4 inch gap with no stitching to pass the frame pole between the zipper and the canvas. Ignore the dolphins in the background. ;) Image001.jpg
 

DennisG01

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#6
Well I'll be darned. You're right. Now I see/understand better (probably should have thought more before posting!). On this style/year boat, that's about the only way to do it. The windshield frame isn't strong enough to suppport the bimini, which if it was would allow the enclosure to go on the outside of the frame, like most boats. And, if you mounted the frame on the inside of the cockpit, being as the cockpit isn't very wide, the frame would be in your way.

No question - the panels are easier. But it absolutely can be done - it all comes down to their experience. But, yeah, it's definitely easier to start by building the bimini and then measure for the curtains. It will likely be less expensive to have them make new curtains to match a bimini than it will be to modify the existing curtains. You might be best to add zippers to the bimini you have and then have them make new curtains.
 
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#9
Have you called the company who made the original enclosure. That would be my first step. They made the bimini, too. I never heard of just the canvas replacement costing anywhere near $1000.
But, to do it from scratch is not as easy as just sewing zippers around the edge. Not only is placement key, I would also match up zipper teeth count, starting on the opposite side, to make sure it lays flat.
The two shops were right, you are going about it backwards, and that makes it much harder.
 
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#10
I tried tracking down water bonnet (bought out by someone else) and there are no templates to be found, tried aj and all the others with no luck.
Good advice regarding laying out. I plan to bring to a canvas shop with a warehouse, will mock up enclosure to bimini and let them take it from there. Just want a solid end product, loose canvas is like a loose...
 
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#11
Taylor Made bought out Water Bonnet in 2005. Does TM offer a bimini for your boat? Since it is the off-season, maybe someone near you has a top that needs restitching, and would let a reputable shop use it as a template, in return for restitching. (I don't mean take it apart and restitch it, just top stitch over the old seams.)
If you look in the photos Seasick attached, the zips are sewn into at least double layers of material, and probably don't show on the top surface. Using the tan bimini you pictured, the side zips would be sewn directly to the single layer of the top cover, which promotes leaks and tears. If you use that cover as a template, you would want to extend the reinforced edges in far enough to have at least two layers under the zips.
There are several vendors on ebay, who sell replacement bimini tops and frames for your boat, from $350 to $450 range. Ask them if they build to original specs, and will they sell you just the canvas. That would be a good start.
BUT! Do you have the correct frame, and an 80's canvas, or is the frame also incorrect?
Someone posted here recently, looking for a hardtop for a '97. You should be in line for his bimini, if he is successful.
https://www.greatgrady.com/threads/wtb-hard-top-for-1997-208-adventure.26806/
 
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#13
Found 1 more photo that shows a closer view of the bimini zipper and frame. You can kind of see the stitching holding the zipper to the canvas. There's about a 3 or 4 inch gap with no stitching to pass the frame pole between the zipper and the canvas. Ignore the dolphins in the background. ;) View attachment 6476
Thanks oneeric these pictures help a lot (and the dolphins are just cool)
 
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#14
Taylor Made bought out Water Bonnet in 2005. Does TM offer a bimini for your boat? Since it is the off-season, maybe someone near you has a top that needs restitching, and would let a reputable shop use it as a template, in return for restitching. (I don't mean take it apart and restitch it, just top stitch over the old seams.)
If you look in the photos Seasick attached, the zips are sewn into at least double layers of material, and probably don't show on the top surface. Using the tan bimini you pictured, the side zips would be sewn directly to the single layer of the top cover, which promotes leaks and tears. If you use that cover as a template, you would want to extend the reinforced edges in far enough to have at least two layers under the zips.
There are several vendors on ebay, who sell replacement bimini tops and frames for your boat, from $350 to $450 range. Ask them if they build to original specs, and will they sell you just the canvas. That would be a good start.
BUT! Do you have the correct frame, and an 80's canvas, or is the frame also incorrect?
Someone posted here recently, looking for a hardtop for a '97. You should be in line for his bimini, if he is successful.
https://www.greatgrady.com/threads/wtb-hard-top-for-1997-208-adventure.26806/
I tried Taylor made a while back and they dont have template either.
Good point on the I forced seams - I have no intention of using the tan top on the end product, just the frame (not worth having zippers installed on such old canvas).
All the replacements i have looked at are generic tops and not made with the correct support bars (grady has a tight 90 degree turn which is hard to find).
Frame is close but not exact (all angles seem right and seems like it should fit tight) but based off measurement I received here frame is about 50" front to back and should be 54"
Issue with the 1997 and newer (mine is a 1996 with the straighter windows) is the rounded windows. Apparently my enclsoire would not work for the 1997 (guy I purchased from originally bought thinking it would work on his 1997). That, and AJ only makes 1997 and newer tells me there is a different between the two.
If anyone is in the Long Island/NY area with a top and wants to work something out let me know, happy to restitch or figure out other arrangmen (would leave deposit on the top so no concerns).
I have been finding people selling se boat as mine who have factory top but no enclosure but most want to keep it with the boat (to me a brand new non factory bimini would look much better for resale then some of these old tops, and with no enclosure oem is somewhat useless - unless they find someone like me with the enclosure and no top lol)
Ultimately, I think I may just have to wait for the perfect bimini to come along or cough up the $$ (dreaming of being dry on a rainy day under the enclosure lol)
Thanks everyone, really appreciate the input and picutres!!