Looking for a rough price to replace all the canvase tops on my 35 commander.  Has anyone replaced their canvas tops if so what was the price? 

My current tops cover my windshield, side windows and rear (they circle the entire helm area of my commander).   The ones on the side and in the back are canvas with plastic in them and another removable canvas cover that goes over the plastic to keep the UV away. 

What have you been quoted, paid for your tops???

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here is a quote for my 42 full enclosure   

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Yikes, I could reroof my house for less than that price....  

Jim,

The PO owner spent $5k for the full enclosure on my 27. The same price I bought the boat and trailer for!

A buddy of mine recently spent $12k for a 370 Sea Ray. I got a quote to do a whole top and add a camper to my Catalina 280, was quoted $4-5k. I had my wife restitch the old top before I sold it. I was absolutely shocked how much canvas shops charge. On the other hand another buddy had a new top and back drop made for his 251 Catalina from a guy out of his garage for $1,300 and it looked every bit as good as the high dollar tops.

I'm in the process of getting quotes just for an aft camper cover on my 35, and it looks like I will end up paying about $1500.

Great so far... keep em coming.

Thank you for all the responses. 

A wide range of prices for relatively the same job.  I have been quoted anywhere from 3k to 9k.  Just wanted to see what others have paid.  We are going to go with a middle of the road quote (right at 5k) but also have them doing all new cushions (v birth, galley, cockpit) new fabric (v birth, galley, cockpit) and all new window treatments (custom high end drapes with fancy gold patterns and all) on the entire boat and we have an aft cabin (salon) commander.  So in total we are right around 9k.  Glad to see our pricing is on par for the course.  

The prices for canvas work are breath taking aren't they ? Unfortunately, they are pretty much the going rates these days. Once in a while you can find someone who is considerably under his or hers competition, but many times this involves a serious quality trade off, both in materials and construction/sewing quality. I've actually had 2 friends that decided to do it themselves. They bought industrial sewing machines similar to the ones marketed by Sailrite, then bought some instructional DVD's from Sailrite and started doing their own canvas work. The very first one done by one of these individuals was for his mid thirties Carver Express Cruiser. This boat had a folding Bimini top over the cockpit area, side curtains with Isinglass, and a drop curtain going all the way to the deck. It was his first effort and it looked really good, especially from 10 feet away. Really close inspection revealed some small amounts of uneven stitching and a small wrinkle or so, but overall it was great, plus about 25% of what local canvas slingers were quoting him. Subsequently he started doing canvas work on the side for other friends, and each job got better as he learned the tricks of the trade!

When we bought Patty Wagon in 1988, it had a flybridge, but no Bimini for the flybridge, just a canvas bridge cover. In the winter of 1990 I machined up and fitted a pair of new shafts for a really good buddy of mine who also owned a 38 at Mecca. Before we put the shafts in, I lifted one of the 427's out and replaced a leaking pan gasket and rear reduction gear seal. He wanted to pay me, but I declined. He was one of my best buds, plus he bought the beer all during the project and his wife was keeping me in Southern Indiana biscuits & gravy every morning. What else do I need ?  :-) Well, I found out a couple of weeks later on a Friday afternoon as we got to the boat for the weekend. We were about 800 feet or so down the dock, and as we were walking toward the boat I swore I could see a Bimini top over PW's flybridge ! It wasn't a mirage. My buddy Maury had gotten to the boats early that day, had taken off my bridge cover, and clamped a new Bimini into its rough final location. He wanted my approval before fastening it down into permanent location. Wow ! What a friend! Of course martini time interfered with replacing the temporary clamps with bolts & nuts until the following day, and, of course we had a really nasty thunderstorm with high winds in the middle of the night. Nothing ruins a nice martini buzz faster than standing on your bridge with friend Maury in the middle of the night in a pelting rain hanging on to your new Bimini for dear life :-) Turns out Maury had gotten up on our bridge when we were elsewhere and measured it for the Bimini top and necessary SS tubing framework and fittings, then had a canvas guy in Indianapolis who was his friend bend up all the tubing and sew up the Bimini itself. This is pretty common practice. For just a pure bridge Bimini, the measuring at the boat only take about 5 minutes to determine height, width, length, and approximate mounting points. Then the whole thing is done in the shop. A subsequent visit to the boat for installation shouldn't take more than a couple of hours for a simple, straightforward installation, as was ours. Note that the shop labor in this case didn't involve the canvas company as Maury had done the measuring and we both had installed it. My point? A goodly portion of canvas costs are onsite measuring, fitting, etc. This may involve quite a few visits and considerable travel time, all of which you are paying for.

Life was good. I had a new Bimini, Maury wouldn't take any money and I thought that was it. Not so. Maury had larger plans. He said "We're gonna do a complete enclosure up here ! Let's get going". I had noticed that he had the canvas maker put zippers along all 4 edges of the top. He had brought some cheap sheets and he started pinning one edge of a sheet to the zipper on the forward edge of the Bimini, taking care to keep it tight along the top. Next we sort of stretched it down to where it would ultimately snap to the bridge and cut it along this line. Next we taped it down to the bridge, keeping it fairly tight. Now we marked the 2 vertical edges at the port & stbd corners, and cut it along these lines. Now we marked where we wanted roll up window panels. The front panel is mostly Isinglass, with just about a 4" strip on the edges for sewing to the zippers and attaching snaps. Once the sheet pattern was done to our satisfaction, Maury took it home with him, then took it to his friend for construction using real materials. Next weekend he had this panel with only the top zipper sewn on. We zipped it to the top and proceeded to install snaps and fasten to the bridge in appropriate places. You guessed it --- the next step was to mock up the 2 side panels with sheets, just like we had done with the front panel. These 2 panels were much larger, and were only about 50% Isinglass. Again, a week later they were returned from the canvas shop and we spent one day mounting all the required snaps, and then finally mocking up the rear panel that not only had 2 roll-up windows but also an entrance door. The following weekend we were done and I had a nice new full bridge enclosure we quickly named "The men's smoking & drinking lounge" :-) Maury never told me how much he had in the whole thing, but I would guess around $600 for materials (remember, this was 25 years ago) and I think his buddy owed Maury a couple of favors and did not charge him for sewing labor, just materials. See attachments for pictures of this enclosure, and remember ---- except for the cutting & sewing, this was amateur hour ! Looks pretty good, doesn't it? I think somewhere in the bowels of Sam Carter's excess boat stuff you could still find this home brew enclosure. Moral of the story --- we have members that "do-it-yourself"  to just about everything related to boats. Canvas fabrication is just another skill that can be acquired and save you a whole batch of green ! A whole bunch of industrial sewing machines are on eBay just awaiting your bid :-)

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That is a great story Dick.   I really enjoyed reading it and also seeing what you and may others have had in boating, great friends.  While I have never done a job this large, we do have a fully restored 1966 O'day Mariner saliboat and I made my own mainsail cover, jib stuff bag, cockpit cover and all new V-bunk cushions my self from materials from SailRite.  I got by until the end of the project with a home sewing machine.  End result was my wife got a fancy new one as a result of the project.  Moral of the sotry, if you go the self route, only use a good quality commercial machine.   One last thing, it is not hard and be willing to practice or waste some material.   This was my first sewing ever and yes the seams are not as neat as professionals, but it is now seven years old and holding up well.   P.S.  The Mariner is a stop gap to the next Commander while I stay a caregiver to a now four year cancer patient spouse.  

Though you and I do not have Commanders under our feet at present, we will always be Commander lovers with great memories for great boats with even better friends. 

Nice to see that helping a friend didn't go unappreciated but rather was repaid in a thoughtful helpful gesture that I'm sure pleased you for many seasons. I'm sure you see that top and enclosure and smile thinking about the good times working on his boat and the true friendship you share.

Good for both of you!

Dick Morland said:

The prices for canvas work are breath taking aren't they ? Unfortunately, they are pretty much the going rates these days. Once in a while you can find someone who is considerably under his or hers competition, but many times this involves a serious quality trade off, both in materials and construction/sewing quality. I've actually had 2 friends that decided to do it themselves. They bought industrial sewing machines similar to the ones marketed by Sailrite, then bought some instructional DVD's from Sailrite and started doing their own canvas work. The very first one done by one of these individuals was for his mid thirties Carver Express Cruiser. This boat had a folding Bimini top over the cockpit area, side curtains with Isinglass, and a drop curtain going all the way to the deck. It was his first effort and it looked really good, especially from 10 feet away. Really close inspection revealed some small amounts of uneven stitching and a small wrinkle or so, but overall it was great, plus about 25% of what local canvas slingers were quoting him. Subsequently he started doing canvas work on the side for other friends, and each job got better as he learned the tricks of the trade!

When we bought Patty Wagon in 1988, it had a flybridge, but no Bimini for the flybridge, just a canvas bridge cover. In the winter of 1990 I machined up and fitted a pair of new shafts for a really good buddy of mine who also owned a 38 at Mecca. Before we put the shafts in, I lifted one of the 427's out and replaced a leaking pan gasket and rear reduction gear seal. He wanted to pay me, but I declined. He was one of my best buds, plus he bought the beer all during the project and his wife was keeping me in Southern Indiana biscuits & gravy every morning. What else do I need ?  :-) Well, I found out a couple of weeks later on a Friday afternoon as we got to the boat for the weekend. We were about 800 feet or so down the dock, and as we were walking toward the boat I swore I could see a Bimini top over PW's flybridge ! It wasn't a mirage. My buddy Maury had gotten to the boats early that day, had taken off my bridge cover, and clamped a new Bimini into its rough final location. He wanted my approval before fastening it down into permanent location. Wow ! What a friend! Of course martini time interfered with replacing the temporary clamps with bolts & nuts until the following day, and, of course we had a really nasty thunderstorm with high winds in the middle of the night. Nothing ruins a nice martini buzz faster than standing on your bridge with friend Maury in the middle of the night in a pelting rain hanging on to your new Bimini for dear life :-) Turns out Maury had gotten up on our bridge when we were elsewhere and measured it for the Bimini top and necessary SS tubing framework and fittings, then had a canvas guy in Indianapolis who was his friend bend up all the tubing and sew up the Bimini itself. This is pretty common practice. For just a pure bridge Bimini, the measuring at the boat only take about 5 minutes to determine height, width, length, and approximate mounting points. Then the whole thing is done in the shop. A subsequent visit to the boat for installation shouldn't take more than a couple of hours for a simple, straightforward installation, as was ours. Note that the shop labor in this case didn't involve the canvas company as Maury had done the measuring and we both had installed it. My point? A goodly portion of canvas costs are onsite measuring, fitting, etc. This may involve quite a few visits and considerable travel time, all of which you are paying for.

Life was good. I had a new Bimini, Maury wouldn't take any money and I thought that was it. Not so. Maury had larger plans. He said "We're gonna do a complete enclosure up here ! Let's get going". I had noticed that he had the canvas maker put zippers along all 4 edges of the top. He had brought some cheap sheets and he started pinning one edge of a sheet to the zipper on the forward edge of the Bimini, taking care to keep it tight along the top. Next we sort of stretched it down to where it would ultimately snap to the bridge and cut it along this line. Next we taped it down to the bridge, keeping it fairly tight. Now we marked the 2 vertical edges at the port & stbd corners, and cut it along these lines. Now we marked where we wanted roll up window panels. The front panel is mostly Isinglass, with just about a 4" strip on the edges for sewing to the zippers and attaching snaps. Once the sheet pattern was done to our satisfaction, Maury took it home with him, then took it to his friend for construction using real materials. Next weekend he had this panel with only the top zipper sewn on. We zipped it to the top and proceeded to install snaps and fasten to the bridge in appropriate places. You guessed it --- the next step was to mock up the 2 side panels with sheets, just like we had done with the front panel. These 2 panels were much larger, and were only about 50% Isinglass. Again, a week later they were returned from the canvas shop and we spent one day mounting all the required snaps, and then finally mocking up the rear panel that not only had 2 roll-up windows but also an entrance door. The following weekend we were done and I had a nice new full bridge enclosure we quickly named "The men's smoking & drinking lounge" :-) Maury never told me how much he had in the whole thing, but I would guess around $600 for materials (remember, this was 25 years ago) and I think his buddy owed Maury a couple of favors and did not charge him for sewing labor, just materials. See attachments for pictures of this enclosure, and remember ---- except for the cutting & sewing, this was amateur hour ! Looks pretty good, doesn't it? I think somewhere in the bowels of Sam Carter's excess boat stuff you could still find this home brew enclosure. Moral of the story --- we have members that "do-it-yourself"  to just about everything related to boats. Canvas fabrication is just another skill that can be acquired and save you a whole batch of green ! A whole bunch of industrial sewing machines are on eBay just awaiting your bid :

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