How to Build a Dodger Frame

SKU: X-HT-300399



Dodgers protect you from the sun, rain, wind and other elements while on your boat. If you are adding a traditional or California dodger to your boat, you have to start with a dodger frame. A dodger frame is the support structure onto which your dodger canvas top is attached. Our how-to video will give you step-by-step instructions on constructing your own dodger frame using the Sailrite® 2-Bow Dodger Frame Kit. Let’s get started!

The first thing you’ll need to build your own 2-bow dodger frame is the all-inclusive frame kit sold right here at Sailrite. Our 2-Bow Dodger Frame Kit (#121918) includes all the tubing — made from 1-inch, marine grade 304 stainless steel — fittings, rigid support struts, handrails (also known as grab rails) and hardware pieces needed. The tubing sections can be cut down in both height and width for a perfect, custom fit to your boat. Also included in the kit are Universal Deck Hinges that pivot so you can adjust the angle of the tubing to your desired specifications.

Once you have your frame kit, follow the video instructions below to cut, assemble and mount the frame to your boat. Our comprehensive video covers the following topics: measuring your boat to determine if the frame kit will fit, mounting deck hardware and cutting down the tubing, assembling the bows, and installing the rigid support struts and handrails. Once the frame is installed on your boat, we show you how to reverse the handrails to the inside of the frame to make patterning much easier.

Now that your dodger frame is erected, it’s time to move on to sewing your dodger. Our Dodger DIY Series features comprehensive tutorial videos that walk you through the entire process of making a traditional dodger. If you're making a California-style dodger, then our California Dodger Series how-to videos will show you everything you need to do.

And we have the kits to make your dodger project even easier! Our 2-bow traditional and California dodger skin kits include all the materials and supplies (not including tools) you'll need to sew your own professional-looking dodger.

  • Will It Fit My Boat? — 1:00 min.
  • Mounting & Bedding Deck Hinge — 2:05 min.
  • Measuring & Cutting Tubing — 6:04 min.
  • Assembling the Bow — 12:12 min.
  • Forward & Aft Bow Assembly — 14:38 min.
  • Mounting Bows — 17:38 min.
  • Adding Rigid Supports — 22:41 min.
  • Adding Hand Rails — 27:55 min.
  • Prepping for Patterning of Dodger — 32:44 min.
  • Materials List — 36:26 min.
  • 2-Bow 1" Dodger Frame Kit with Rigid Supports & Hand Rails 84" x 40" x 40" (Stainless Steel) (#121918)
  • Trimmable Butyl Tape 1" (#103689)
  • Professional Rivet Tool (#103520)
  • McLube™ Sailkote 8 oz. (#120679)
  • Gingher® Scissors Right Hand Lightweight 8" (#101017)
  • Marker, Tape Measure, 5/32" Drill Bit, Drill, Countersink Drill Bit, Screwdrivers, Spring-Loaded Center Hole Punch, 1/8" Hex Wrench, Hacksaw, Electrical Tape, File, #11 or 13/64" Drill Bit, Cutting Oil, Level
  • Footnote:

    This blog was updated in February 2023 to include the California Dodger Series DIY videos and product updates.