Homemade T-Top???

Discussion in 'Boat Modification Journal' started by GMC FishHauler, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. GMC FishHauler

    GMC FishHauler New Member

    Messages:
    1,335
    State:
    Waco, Texas, Un
    anyone on here ever tried to make a homemade T-Top?
    I was looking at the price of a comercially made one and it seems like it would be a heck of alot cheaper to make ur own and they dont look that difficult to make.
     
  2. Big Dav

    Big Dav New Member

    Messages:
    1,016
    State:
    Southwest
    I have thought about it. My brother has a exhaust pipe hydraulic bender and I was considering giving it a try later down the road. There is a guy selling parts list and design plans on Ebay for about $20 bucks. Might be something to look at. $1,500 - $2,500 for a top is a little more than I want to spend but I still believe i would like to have a t-top. I was looking at a fold down model by Fishmaster. That would allow me to park the boat in the garage with out any height issues.:big_smile:

    Thanks
    David
     

  3. Koon

    Koon New Member

    Messages:
    167
    State:
    Oklahoma
    I'm almost at the stage of building one for my boat... I can't weld so thinking of going with this product to put one together.

    http://www.eztube.com/
     
  4. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    The biggest problem with building one is trailering the boat.
    Its got to be able to withstand highway speeds and jolts.
    Hard to with Home Depot as your supplier.

    We have a new tubing bender at work. It bends round up to 4" and square up to 2" without leaving any bend marks and crimps. Its not a conduit bender.
    Its a cold bender. Little bitty not much of anything bender. 36,000 dollars worth though and its repeatable.

    The T-top makers for the most part heat the tube before bending.
    The tubing is expensive to begin with.
    Hard to find a seasoned tig welder that knows his stuff that will work for 12 bucks an hour either.

    You can cobble something with EMT but for a top I have no faith in EMT.
    EMT is not rigid enough. Its got alot of flex and give. Its heavy and corrodes easy. Most often from the inside out.
    If you go up to a 2" EMT to mimic a real live T-top you've already proven the weight issue of EMT.
    That stuff belongs in steel girders with wire running through it.
     
  5. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,525
    State:
    Winfield, MO
    Name:
    Darryl
    So, whose got plans or pics! I have access to the right equipment. Sure would be nice to have something fairly easy to install for those blistering hot summer days. Or rainy days. My only concern is something getting in the way when I am trying to cast.
     
  6. katcatchingfool

    katcatchingfool New Member

    Messages:
    2,032
    State:
    illinois

    i had the same worries i dont want anything in the way when i cast my line out!!
     
  7. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    To me the benefits outweigh the negatives by a far margin.
    That T-Top will get ALOT of stuff up and off the floor and the dash.
    Antennaes rod holders, you name it.

    With a T-top you could run double rigs off the back.
    Your up high rods and down low rods.

    Keep your rods up in the rocket launchers. No more stumbling and tripping , falling into tackle breaking it or sticking 10/0 hooks in your arms.
    A T-Top is a tool.

    If we were bass fishing it might be a little different.
     
  8. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,525
    State:
    Winfield, MO
    Name:
    Darryl
    Define T-top for us illiterate! Are we talking bout the tops that mount to a center console? I have a side console, so guess I'd have to span the whole boat side to side. That could create probs with mobility. But, hey I am always looking for cool mods but the end result has to look professional.
     
  9. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Gotta love a center console. You can do cool things with them.:smile2:
    Not much can be done that would look too cool for a side steer.
    Umbrella?
    Bimini top?

    The thing that really makes a T-top is its permanancy which makes it an excellent platform to mount things to.

    I've thought about a folding T-Top before but even folding would be limiting.
    I think when it comes down to a T-Top you need to build a taller shelter.:smile2: It boils down to class.

    When those boys on the 60 footers start building collapsible tuna towers and flying bridges I'll have to start thinking about folding a T-Top.

    That mirror finish on a T-Top is the bling bling of boats, the gold around a rapper's neck. What's 1500 bucks to go first class?:smile2:
    Hang a few Polks off it for the tunes. Maybe even one of those too cool flourescent T-Top lights underneath.
    I'd rather buy the T-Top then everything that bolts to it.:smile2:
     
  10. Big Dav

    Big Dav New Member

    Messages:
    1,016
    State:
    Southwest
    Mark,
    I just sent you a PM but your last post may have answered my question.:smile2:
    i have looked at a couple different brands of the "folding" T-Tops. Some of the are a cheap looking at the price would indicate. The FishMaster brand looks good from what I can find out but I have not talked to anyone that owns one or has even seen them.
    Do you know of a source to have one built of to buy a quality top from?

    Thanks
    David
     
  11. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Numerous places from Maine to Florida.
    None of them are cheap but all of them I know of will build to your boat.
    Just about anybody in the T-Top business is also in the Tuna Tower business.
    They build where the demand is and where the money is. Saltwater.

    A see them tops going 40 west all the time to boat dealers here and yonder.
    They are building them along the coast.
     
  12. justwannano

    justwannano Active Member

    Messages:
    1,003
    State:
    SE Iowa
    ????T top ????
    Somebody post a pix please.
     
  13. special liberty

    special liberty New Member

    Messages:
    295
    State:
    Maryland
    Attached is a picture of my 21' CC Carolina Skiff with a heavy duty T-Top. 6 Rod holders across the back for storage when running down the river, A bag for PFD's, VHF Antenna, an electronics box for AM/FM/CD Player - VHF Radio and all the asorted junk that you need plus a rod rolder on the front for the dip net. I will never again own a boat without one.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,168
    State:
    NC
    Special Liberty is that custom built t-top or the one that the Carolina Skiff dealers sell? I have a 198 DLV and go back and forth on whether or not to get one.

    If I get one, I know I will save the money up for one and not try to build it myself. There is a lot more to making one than welding some exhaust pipe together. $1500 seems like a lot of money, but like all things, once you figure in the cost of the time it takes to do it and all the screw ups it is worth it!!! :wink:

    My rule of thumb is; build stuff yourself they don't make, for anything they do make buy the best you can afford and you will not regret it.
     
  15. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,271
    State:
    North Caro
    WylieCat, that T Top would dress your boat out all the way. Man you would be cool. You say $1,500 is a bunch of money, remember what Capt. Gus says "it is just a figure in the check book". :wink: Just don't let Tina know!
     
  16. GMC FishHauler

    GMC FishHauler New Member

    Messages:
    1,335
    State:
    Waco, Texas, Un
    that is like the one i want to build for my boat. I do not want mine quite as long and i want to paint it white, i do not like the glare from the sun all around me as i drive the boat.
    I am able to weld alum and steel, i have never welded stainless and really do not know how. my uncle has and is always willing to help with something like this.
    I have old buddies from HS that build custom rollbars inside of dirt track racing cars so they will help with the bending i just need to find some measurements and plans.
    Thanks alot guys for all the input on this subject.
     
  17. willcat

    willcat New Member

    Messages:
    2,463
    State:
    texas
    go to fishmasters website, they have a cool looking folding t top on there that looks like it is pretty sturdy, but what do i know i fish from a toon w/ a bimini????
     
  18. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    I gotta have one on the toon. No two ways about it.
     
  19. willcat

    willcat New Member

    Messages:
    2,463
    State:
    texas
    I think i would rather build the boat shelter taller to accomodate a nice t-top!!!