How to Make a Replacement Powerboat Bimini
This is our latest DIY project: a 29-foot, 2002 Maxum 2900 SCR. We'll outfit this boat with a full boat enclosure, canvas covers and new flooring. To start the new canvas projects, we first tackled the bimini.
The bimini top on our powerboat is what’s known as an “attached bimini” because its aft end is attached to a solid surface (in this case a radar arch) as opposed to being completely supported by tubing bows. An all tubing bimini would be called an unattached bimini. The steps in this video can be used to make an attached or unattached powerboat bimini or a sailboat bimini.
Careful and precise patterning is the building block to getting a great fitting bimini top. We thoroughly cover the patterning process in our video to help you get professional looking results.
The existing bimini on our powerboat had a lot of wrinkling so we decided to make the new bimini using some different techniques to get a better fit. One of the biggest design changes we made is that instead of seaming the fabric panels forward to aft, as is typical, we seamed our fabric panels port to starboard. This method does require using more fabric, but we believe that it creates a much better fitting bimini top and one that will wrinkle less over time.
Another design decision we made was adding a pocket to the front of the bimini to better accommodate the angle of the front tubing. This extra pocket helps keep the bimini top taut. To add extra water protection at the aft, attached end, we also sewed on weather stripping to create a watertight seal against the radar arch.
We get asked a lot if the zippers for side curtains need to be installed when building your bimini top. You can install the zippers if you’re ready for that step, but if you’re not, don’t worry. They can easily be added later. We did not install zippers in this video, but we’ll show you how to do it in our Enclosure Side Curtains Video (#200661XHT).
In this video we’ll show you in-depth how to pattern, seam, create sleeves, add binding and weather stripping and how to install your new bimini.
- Determining Fabric Required – 0:26 min.
- Patterning Prep – 2:40 min.
- Making Patterns – 6:23 min.
- Transferring Patterns – 30:09 min.
- Cutting Tails, Sleeves & Facings – 32:55 min.
- Preparing Sleeves & Tails – 38:59 min.
- Joining Panels & Center Pocket(s) – 49:34 min.
- Attaching Facing Strips – 59:14 min.
- Attaching Sleeve & Tail – 01:01:23 min.
- Finishing Sleeve – 01:05:26 min.
- Reinforcement Strip for Snaps – 01:13:17 min.
- Binding Raw Edges – 01:15:51 min.
- Adding Weather Stripping – 01:18:20 min.
- Installing Bimini & Snaps – 01:19:34 min.
- Materials List – 01:24:54 min.
- Sunbrella® Marine Grade Fabric (we used 46” Tresco Birch #4696-0000)
- 3M™ Filament Strapping Tape #5643
- Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material #122460
- Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape for Canvas #129
- YKK® #10 VISLON® Finished Zippers
- V-92 Polyester or Tenara Thread
- Sunbrella® Acrylic Bias Binding
- Shelter-Rite® Vinyl (we used Black #1120121)
- Xtreme Seal Foam #102187
- SnapRite® Snap Fastener Button Silver 1/4" Barrel (Nickel) #104154
- DOT® Snap Fastener Hard Action Socket (Nickel Plated) #333058
- Fabric Marking Pencil Yellow #111002
- Tape Measure 120 Inch #102986
- McLube Sailkote #120679
- Soapstone Fabric Marking Pencil White #102766
- Fabric Marking Pencil White #101026
- Sailrite® Edge Hotknife Package (110 Volt) #103800
- Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LS-1 PLUS Walking Foot Sewing Machine #300502
- 1" Swing-Away Straight Binder #100103
- Deluxe 5 1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide #103597
- SnapRite® System (4 Dies & 100 Mandrels) #104237 or Pres-N-Snap Installation Tool #109011
- Fine tip marker
- Straight edge
What do you think of our design decisions? Would you try them on your boat? Have you ever made your own bimini? What tips would you share on the process? Share your ideas and suggestions in the comments!