Hard Top for Pontoon Boat

Discussion in 'Boat Modification Journal' started by tennessee blues, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. tennessee blues

    tennessee blues New Member

    Messages:
    35
    State:
    Fort Bragg, North Carolina
    I'm looking at building a hard top for my cat boat. Its a 25ft Crest pontoon(8 1/2ft wide). It seems that at Santee you always have your bimini top up to block the sun or the rain so I figured I would build a hard top. With the hard top I can hang my sides to make winter fishing a little more bearable. Do any of you have any experience building a hard top? I know I will need to use aluminum to frame it out but am wide open to advice after that.

    Thanks,
    Shayne
     

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  2. catfish kenny

    catfish kenny New Member

    Messages:
    6,064
    State:
    Iowa
    I have not did any of this but awhile back I looked at one and they used aluminum porch rails and that fibrglass sheeting that looks like tin roof on a barn.....we was gonna buy her but it was just sold
     

  3. tennessee blues

    tennessee blues New Member

    Messages:
    35
    State:
    Fort Bragg, North Carolina
    I had planned to use 1" - 1 1/4" square aluminum tubing and corregated tin if I can figure out how to build it so that it is self supporting and sturdy.




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  4. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    Shayne if I get the time in the am I'll take some pixs of mine. Its a hard top on post that mount on top of the rails and I can raise it up and down. Makes for easier transport. It has alum post and bows with what looks like mobil home siding on the top.
    Great for hanging the rod s there to. The wife and I can let ours up or down in about 5 or 6 min.
     
  5. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    Something along the lines of the materials used on pickup toppers should work, and keep the weight down.

    It can be hotter than hell's hinges under a metal roof on the summer. I would have to think about a layer of that foil coated bubble wrap. Again, very low weight.
     
  6. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    Dave I thought the same thing about mine when I got it but I painted it with a good bright white paint and it stays rather cool unde it. I also installed a 12 volt fan under it also.
     
  7. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    Messages:
    1,374
    State:
    South Carolina
    I bought one for my toon but after a few trips by myself it started getting heavy raising and lowering it, also it seemed to sway alot in the wind so I took it off and sold it. it was all alum. and it was still heavy.
     
  8. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    A hard top is a great thing for the family. Not so great for fishing. I found that the only place I could really fish was from the very front of the toon. Once I was under the hard top, I couldn't cast, and when I got a bite, I couldn't set the hook without banging my rod against the top. If I still had my toon and if I were going to fish from it, I would make the hard top removable, and take it off before each fishing trip.
     
  9. CNTRYBOY

    CNTRYBOY New Member

    Messages:
    1,573
    State:
    Benton, Ar
    I am with Jerry on this one....make it removable or make something that can be installed in a matter of minutes, then stow it away when you are fishing. If your looking for shade, then just a thought, but how about a umbrella type or tarp type that can be folded away when not in use!
     
  10. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Newt's got a point about the umbrellas. I've got a boat seat that has an umbrella holder built onto it. Simple enough. Take a 4" long piece of pipe with a diameter just large enough to fit around the pedistal of your seat. Weld on a piece of 3/8" thick by 3" wide piece of metal; make it long enough to get your umbrella out away from your seat as far as comfortable. Last, take a 6" piece of pipe just large enough that the umbrella post will fit inside it, weld a rod across the bottom of it as a stop for the umbrella handle, then weld it to the 3/8" by 3" piece of metal. Set your umbrella in the holder, swing it around to any side of your seat to give you shade, kick back and relax in the shade. Incidentally, I saw 6' patio umbrellas on sale at Wally World this past fall for $5.00 each.
     
  11. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Shayne while your down at Santee next time check out some of the toons used by the guides.They have all different kinds but Jerry is right about limiting what you can do from under the top.The guides of course fish year round and are primarily interested in the comfort of their parties as they should be.They fish mainly out of the front although I have fished from under the tops with some.Not easy.The guides also dont trailer their boats very far for the most part and some keep them on the water all the time.Those sides with a heater sure make thse Dec and Jan trips bearable :big_smile::crazy::smile2::wink:
     
  12. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    My pontoon came with a metal top, later I got some experience in designing some beefed up bracing for the top. It was in the water for 10 full years. The wave action from all the boat traffic took it's toll on the poorly designed roof supports. I was thinking the top was going to fall on me. I drew up some simple plans and had a welder build them, I installed.... no more problems.
    Metal roofs are great but I wouldn't want to trailer one.
     
  13. tennessee blues

    tennessee blues New Member

    Messages:
    35
    State:
    Fort Bragg, North Carolina
    Hey everyone, thanks for the input and advice. I see the pros and cons with the hard top. The driving force behind having the hard top was to hang my sides during heavy rain and in the winter as well as to give me some vertical storage for gear. After all is said and done I think I'll just stick with my bimini top. I have sides made to fit it already and they work well, they are just cumbersome and a pain in the ass to put on (especially in the rain). For vertical storage I have resigned myself to making the best use of the storage space I have and leaving those "nice to have" items in the truck and only taking what I need on board with me. I appreciate all the input.

    Shayne



    If you can read this post, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a vet!
     
  14. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    My toon had a metal top that I could let down so it sat on the railings on the sides. Then I'd tie it down with a couple of ropes across it. All I would have had to do to make it removable would have been to put quick disconnects on the bottoms of the 4 support poles, and a plug-in connector for the electrical. I could have rigged up a hoist on one of the big oak trees in my yard.
     
  15. boogie

    boogie New Member

    Messages:
    160
    State:
    east tennessee,maryville
    http://www.dowco-inc.com/Seg_Marine.asp?seg=6 i have been looking at this site,tossing around a few ideas on my toon in my head .....i figure i will either do something like that or just trade up for one with a cabin...i got the web site from bp parts man...
     
  16. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Something like that might be just the ticket. I had full canvas for my 20' Robalo; I could flip up a 'hut' covering the front of the boat, add canvas panels back to the center console, then add more canvas to the back of the boat. The more canvas, the less use I had for it.
    I've been thinking that if I ever get out to do some winter catfishing, I just may make a little cabin for my jonboat. All it would take would be a wood or pvc frame and some heavy plastic that I can buy by the roll.