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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Boat Canopy

I am so tired of buying $200 boat covers that pool water no matter how tight I tie them, rip at the corners and only last 2 years anyway! So, I got it in my mind to simply build a tentlike cover of standard black plastic sheet on a PVC pipe frame that could just be slid over the boat like a movable carport. I have spent 4 days learning all sorts of things about PVC fittings and is is very complicated. I found sites that had designs for structures, I found sites that sold connectors, and I found sites that sold kits.

Nowhere did I find a site that actually explained what all the fitting choices meant! There are "slip fittings", "hub fittings", "fipt fittings", "sanitary fittings", "street fittings", "furniture grade", "utility grade", "gray", "white", schedule 40", schedule 80", etc, etc, etc.

But I did figure it all out eventually. Indeed, I now know more about PVC pipe fittings than I ever wanted to! Add in the fact that the manufacturers don't want to sell to individuals and the local retailers carry limited selections, and it gets really hard to design what you want.

Just as examples (as best I have figured it out): "Slip" means the end fits inside a hub. "Hub" means there is a larger flange for a slip. "fipt" means that the pipe fitting screws on. "Sanitary fitting" means that the angles go out in a curve. "Schedule" means the amount of pressure the pipes can withstand. "Gray" is more UV resistant than "white". "Street" means that one end has a hub and the other end is a slip. Arggh!

Building a box frame from PVC pipe is not tricky or expensive. Its the FITTINGS and COUPLINGS of any form that deviates from that that are. I designed a first one easily. All I needed were some "4 way 60 degree angles". But no one makes those.

And even when I figured out a design that used standard manufacturer fittings, I discovered that no local stores sold all of them (individually or collectively). Some manufacturers will sell individual fittings "by the box" to individuals. Great, I need 3 on something, and the box holds 20!

As long as I am ranting on this, I will complain about local "big box" retailer websites. They are totally unorganized. You would think they would list their PVC fittings either by pipe size (1 inch, 2 inch) or by type (90 degree elbows, tee fittings, etc). No, they are totally random. You have to search through hundreds of items to find the one you want. And they don't list half the fittings that I know are in the store! That's BAD website organization...

The "kit" sellers are the worst. They offer plans for various constructions, but mention that you have to buy all the pipe separately. In other words, all they are selling are the connectors. And they get 3 times the price for those. LOL! Its like finding a shed "kit" and discovering that all they are selling you is a design and nails...

I'll work the design out tomorrow with what is available locally retail...


Anonymous said...

I have built a square, then used 1/2 inch pvc to make hoops that went over the square. This made a place to put flowers in the winter when I covered it with plastic. When I raised it four feet of the ground, it was a nice temporary greenhouse.

The square I made of 1x4 and the hoops were 1/2 in pvc, and viola, a very light weight frame.

The hoops were kept from collapsing by a cross piece, also of pvc.

Use canvas or plastic tarp, not clear sheeting, and it would work for a boat.

da bear

Cavebear said...

da bear, thanks for the comment. I ike the idea of combining sturdy uprights with a curved top. I decided against a hoop structure because the front can't be connected at the bottom (I need to slide the whole structure over the boat).

Can you give me more information about the structure you built? Is the bottom part wood and the top pvc? I hadn't thought of that.

And actually, I found a perfect plastic tarp (12" x 24') online for $42. But anything you can add would help.

Anonymous said...

Yes. The bottom is a three sided rectangle of wood, and the pvc is simply screwed to it.

Its very light and i can easily see you parking your boat, and simply dragging it over the boat where it sits,

I you are good at backing up a trailer, back straight into it.

I have built a chicken pen like this that gets moved to a different spot in my garden periodically. I can drag it easily, but two frighten the chickens less.

No weeds, self fertilizing.

BTW, I am starting a new project to build a TV stand a little fancier than I usually try, and am going to open a thread at EC.


da bear