Bimini top fitting basics

July 1, 2023  |  Exterior and Cover, Projects

When I was asked to write about making a bimini top in 1,000 words or less, I knew this would be a challenge, considering that I probably speak 1,000 words during each step of the process when I am teaching this in our workshops. So, I will provide an outline of steps with some tips to hopefully mak…
Center Console Enclosures

May 1, 2023  |  Exterior and Cover, Projects

Center console boats are a popular style of boat in my area, Yorktown, Va., along with sportfish, cruisers, trawlers and sailboats. In my opinion, center console enclosures are some of the most complicated enclosures to design. This style of boat usually has many challenges to overcome in order to g…
Elegant rigid solar panel installation made easy

March 1, 2023  |  Exterior and Cover, Projects

An increasing number of jobs at Gemini Marine Canvas & Marine Products (GMP) in Rockland, Maine, begin with clients bringing in rigid solar panels. Rigid panels remain a firm favorite among boaters looking to augment their onboard electricity supply due to their higher efficiency, longer life sp…
Horizontal and cantilever frames

January 1, 2023  |  Exterior and Cover, Projects

Following the typical 10-to-20-year delay that “new ideas” seem to take to catch on in the canvas industry, the popularity and demand for horizontal frame systems and cantilever support systems has finally arrived everywhere. Sea Ray actually offered a horizontal aft frame option in 1999 on its …
Thinking outside the box

September 1, 2022  |  Exterior and Cover, Projects

Our company, Northcoast Marine Specialties LLC, has had two decades of great success due to our unfamiliarity with the outdated and unimaginative techniques many canvas shops fall into the habit of re-creating endlessly.
Award-winning travel covers

July 1, 2022  |  Exterior and Cover

Fabricating travel covers presents a unique set of challenges for the marine fabricator. The cover needs to withstand highway traveling speeds, crosswinds and road debris without rubbing or otherwise damaging the boat. The correct fabric choice, close tailoring and proper reinforcing all play a part…
Pattern darting

May 1, 2022  |  Exterior and Cover, Projects

Pattern darting is a useful technique to have in any marine fabricator’s toolbox. This article will provide an example of this technique using a series of forward enclosure panels that tuck under the windshield to a line of fasteners.
Tools to make things easier

March 1, 2022  |  Exterior and Cover, Projects

The Boatswain’s Locker in Jacksonville, Fla., was founded in 1961 by my father, Charles W. Bransford, as a shop specializing in custom boat canvas and sails. At that time, there was a lot of handwork that required many hours to complete a job. Since then, many time-saving and more productive metho…