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Old 01-24-2011, 12:12 PM   #1
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Need some feedback on crazy canvas top idea

Hi all,

I have just dyed my top black and while that is a great solution to extend the life of my top for another year or two, it's not a permanent solution. So what options do I have:

1. buy the GAHH top and install it
2. think of a creative low-cost solution

That's where I need your help. One of my friends has a sail boat and is right now repairing a canvas top that covers the cockpit area and he looked at my top and said: Why don't you just cover it with Marine grade canvas? So we shared a beer (just one) and came up with the following approach:

- Buy some marine grade canvas that is UV treated and pre-shrunk. Based on his supplier it runs in 60" widths and costs around $20 per linear yard. Sunbrella has some canvas materials that my friend has used on his boat.

- Buy some marine rated adhesive like Marine Goop (water resistant and weather proof)

- Cut the new canvas roughly to size

- With the top in the locked/stretched/closed position, apply some adhesive in a thin layer all over the top and start glueing and stretching the new canvas layer on top of the old one. We would start from the middle and make sure to get rid of all air bubbles etc.

- Once you get to the edges of the top, we would cut the canvas to size and make sure that the edges are glued properly and as close to the edges of the old canvas as possible. We also thought about leaving the top stretched until it dries and then not cut the edges before it all dries. We would then take the top off and sew the edges to make the edges stronger.

Cost in materials would probably be around $100 and it would probably be a week-end project if we need to sew.

I honestly have no idea if this will work - and this is where I could really use some input from you guys. Any thoughts or comments - both positive and negative. Is there something that we haven't thought about? Do you think that could work?

Thanks,
Lars

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Old 01-24-2011, 12:56 PM   #2
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With all due respect to you and your friend and both of your abilities, but unless you have done a similar project with good results, my guess is that you might want to reconsider this DIY project...

If you are intent on this, the first thing to do is to make sure that the glue will hold the new material to the old top by testing a small piece. Heat it, freeze it, wet it, dry it, fold it. Still holding? Does the glue hold the fold set after being folded down for a week? The glue needs to be strong, flexible, and pliable, yet hold continuously. If the glue fails, then the whole project is sunk.

Second, will the top open/close/bend with the extra layer of glue and material? Might be too stiff. Will the top fold flat enough in the down position so it lies flat? The extra layer of thick material might make the top too thick.

Third, I'd suggest creating a template for the new material so it will glue to the existing top without creating unplanned folds or creases. You may need more than one section to do this right - if so, figure out how you're going to handle the seams between the sections.

Fourth, determine how you're going to sew the new material to the existing top without damaging anything, keep the seals intact, and so it stays put. Might be very difficult around the window seals.

Last, there are replacement tops available on ebay for around $250. That might be a cheaper and better solution than a DIY glue-on cover.
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Last edited by thstone; 01-24-2011 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:00 PM   #3
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Just a thought, IMHO, my 2 cents.....
I have used Sunbrella to make a sail cover for our boat. It seems to me that it is a thicker material and is coarser in texture than the material that the convertible top is made from. Laminating it on the old top may make the whole thing too thick to fold up and store correctly. With out experimenting some, I would be hesitant to try it.
An idea for a lower cost replacement, maybe look around at some dismantlers for a good used top. Can't imagine that used tops are in high demand, since most people will install a new top when the time comes. You've got lots of time to research and locate one, since your old top is still useable.

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