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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 02-19-2007
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Cushions for interior

We have an Island Packet 31, hull # 191 built in 1987 and the cabin fabric on the cushions are showing their age. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to go to get new cushions fabricated? Locally (Oriental, NC) it is going to cost about $4K.

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Old 02-19-2007
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I will be facing the same problem soon enough. The cost appears exaggerated.

One option I was considering is to find a furniture upholsterer that will do it (after all, upholstery should be upholstery), and either send them just the old cushion covers so they have the dimensions and have them sew it up. If they are close enough, just bring in all the cushions.

Again I have not done it yet so I cannot speak from experience....
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Old 02-19-2007
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Waymar...that is exactly what we did. Went to a foam/custom guy...picked out fabric...sat on different densities of foam...brought the old cushions in so he could use them as patterns. Saved a bunch of money over marine services.


Tim- A lot of times there are flea market foam rubber guys that do this type of work or supply foam to those that do. Our guy did a lot of CAR INTERIOR customizing which is how we found him. If Richmond VA is not too far for you here is the contact:
Corky's Upholstery Service
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 276-2410


...but my guess is you can find someone closer to Oriental.
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Old 02-19-2007
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Tim,
In a previous incarnation I had a small furniture factory. My upholstery crew re-did all the cushions in my old boat using standard upholstery materials (zips etc). This was in the early eighties. When we sold the boat various loose cushions ended up at home and we are still using them. I also saw a photo of my old boat the other day (she's up for sale again) and the cushions that we made way back then are not only still on board but look in good shape. Ergo, their is no need to use a marine upholsterer. All they are going to do is charge like the light brigade. Previous owner of Raven had a new dodger made up just before we bought her. The price was obscene and the workmanship complete crap.
Choice of cloth is the main consideration. Piping, while it looks nice will wear faster than double stitching unless made from a stout material but piped seams are stronger than double stitched. For instance the old scatter cushions were made from Batik and it is on the piping that it is wearing away. Settee and berth cushions were canvas which had all the sizing removed so that it was nice and soft but still very hardy. These show no signs of serious wear after over twenty years of service. Stating the bleeding obvious I know , but make sure they use plastic not steel zippers.
Avoid buttons if you can. Then at least you can easily remove covers for cleaning. Upholstered buttons are also often made from a metal base that snaps together after covering. Well , at least they were in the old days.
Cheers
TD
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TD - thanks for the tips. We are in the process of pricing new cushions as well - we need foam for some and covers for all.

We want some shape to the settee cushions - kind of a rounded raised section just under the back of your knees when seated. Are buttons the only way to get this? Are there buttons available that will last in the marine environment?

Realize you are no longer in the biz, but you may have some insight.
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I just had our whole interior re-upholstered. Our 25 year old fabric was rotted from age and poor storage.

Because I live a couple of hours from the boat, I took them to an auto trim shop and had them done in a very rugged, but soft synthetic auto fabric. They turned out very nicely. Better than what you see on a new boat. I think we spent about $2500 for our 30 footer. We had the following covered: V berths (2 pcs), filler (1 pc), vanity seat (1 pc), settee (6pcs.), and dinette (4 pcs)

If you want changes in shape, a good upholsterer can add foam to do that.

My advice is do not replace the foam if you don't have to. The foam is usually the most costly component of the job. We salvaged all but one of ours, and that one was physically missing when we bought the boat. We put some of what we saved into higher grade fabric.

Our upholsterer checked them all and reported that they were of excellent quality, high density,high resilience foam and that they were perfectly serviceable. He did wrap them with a batting material (also synthetic, I think) to give a more luxurious feel and some initial softness.

Last edited by Goodnewsboy; 02-19-2007 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 02-19-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster
TD - thanks for the tips. We are in the process of pricing new cushions as well - we need foam for some and covers for all.

We want some shape to the settee cushions - kind of a rounded raised section just under the back of your knees when seated. Are buttons the only way to get this? Are there buttons available that will last in the marine environment?

Realize you are no longer in the biz, but you may have some insight.
Thanks from across the big pond
First point is that it's damn near 30 years since I was involved in furniture design and manufacture so I may be out of date in my knowledge.

Shaping of foam can be achieved by
1. Cutting foam to shape by laser, band saw or hot knife.
2. Buttoning using conventional buttoning
3. Form of buttoning where piece of backing cloth is sewn to inside of cover then pulled through foam and attached at rear or underside of cushion. This is a bit tricky to explain but an upholsterer should understand the concept.

However , if what you are after is a knee support at the leading edge of the seat cushion shaping of the foam is probably the best way to go. If you are making up all new cushions this can even be fabricated using a heavier density foam than the non raised section. Having never done what you are asking I cannot be totally sure of my facts but simply buttoning the leading section is unilkely to achieve a good result as in a perfectly straight rolled edge.

Ref Buttons - There may well be all plastic buttons now available that I don't know about. Given the difference in cost of producing a plastic button versus metal I wouldn' be surprised if such a thing now exists. The steel buttons can and do stand up to marine use but on occasion I've seen them weep a bit of rust marking onto the cloth. This only applies to covered buttons. Non covered buttons in coloured plastic are generally available, or at least they used to be.

hope this is of some small assistance.

Regards

TD
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Old 02-19-2007
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We did the same thing this summer, Gnb is right about the foam we reused ours also if it isnt really gone they steam it and it brings back the loft, we put the wrap on also. I watched them steam a piece of foam off an old bar stool that looked pretty bad and it came right back to its original shape and size. They told me that cheap foam will not come back very good but if the cusions were built with hi quality foam to start with then you should be able to revive it. ours turned out great.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster
TD - thanks for the tips. We are in the process of pricing new cushions as well - we need foam for some and covers for all.

We want some shape to the settee cushions - kind of a rounded raised section just under the back of your knees when seated. Are buttons the only way to get this? Are there buttons available that will last in the marine environment?

Realize you are no longer in the biz, but you may have some insight.
Thanks from across the big pond
Couple of things I forgot to say....
(as GNB notes) you can add foam over the existing cushion to give you extra thickness at the leading edge. Properly done this will not result in any hard corners where joins are glued together. There is a simple technique to achieve this that all good upholsterers would know.

Foam, by the way, does deteriorate with age. If cushions are over twenty years old it may well be wise to bite the bullet and get all new foam. Obviously high usage will shorten the lifespan. If the cushions have only had occasional use they may well last longer than that particularly if they were original constructed from good quality HR foam.

GNB also mentions covering the cushions with batting. This is a synthetic product originally marketed as "DACRON" but now produced under a number of different names. It used to be available in either loose flock, nine ounce sheet or eighteen ounce sheet. The loose flock is the nicest but requires it's own inner cover and can be horrendously expensive. My preference was to use the 18 oz simply because it stands up to constant use better than the 9 oz, which is pretty obvious really. If 18 oz is not available in your neck of the woods then use two layers of the nine. It's this batting that gives the cushions a nice soft look and feel while the heavy grade HR foam of the cushion gives support. Foam does not breath terribly well and can be very hot to sleep on. The added advantage of the batting is that it creates a layer between you and the foam and thereore does not suffer the over heating problem. Funnily enough not all poeple have this overheating problem with foam but I know I do.

My preference was to cover the whole cushion with a rough cover of calico or some other form of lining. Makes it a lot easier to put the covers on over the cushion insert and prevents the batting from tearing. Furniture factories use machines that suck the air out of the foam prior to insertion which makes fitting the cover a piece of cake. The other solution is to spray the cushion and inside of the cover with silicon. Some people also use cling wrap but I always found that getting the cling wrap out from under the fitted cover was a pain in the bum. (thats Australian for ass).

Finally , damn will he ever shut up, cushions are best slightly over size. This means that as they compact with age (and even HR foams compact to some degree as does the batting) they retain the cover's shape.

Cheers

TD
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Last edited by tdw; 02-20-2007 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 02-20-2007
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I recently made cushions and covers for my Bayfield 25. I'll share the "experience":

1) The foam was about $600cdn for v-berth and two seaberths. Got it from "Foamite". Top-quality stuff, great service. Four inch thick for seaberths, five inch for v-berth - Medium-High density. I found the High density too stiff. Sleeping on this stuff is like sleeping on a marshmallow!

2) Make a pattern out of card-paper and shape the foam with an electic carving knife. (Like the one you use for the turkey)

3) Zippers should be plastic.

4) Seaberth covers made out of vinyle. I did this because on a small boat, everything gets wet, and the waterproof covers on seaberths work great. Only problem is they don't breathe very well, and any uncovered skin will "stick" in the summer ... That's a trade-off I guess. Oh, and whatever you do, don't buy that "marine grade stuff"!!! I paid 1/4 for basically the same stuff. Fabricland!

5) I was thinking of using memory foam (Tempur-pedic), but the lady at foamite said it would be too "clammy" in a moist environment because it is so dense or something like that... Anyone have first-hand experience with memory foam on a boat?

6) As for the covers, I somehow convinced mum to sew 'em for me. We used the same card paper patterns that I had made for the foam cutting. We traced each pattern onto the fabric, one for top of cushion, one for bottom, then cut a 4" strip for the sides. I know nothing about sewing, but she was able to put these together in a few hours after I had cut everything out! (leave a half inch or so extra around all edges!)
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