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first sailed january 2008
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have really only three places for cushions. Bed. Couch. Quarter berth.

The boat came with a new bed but nothing else. Since I'm going to be spending so much time I can't think of a way around the settee. It's just second on my list of least sexy things to buy, right after the toilet.

About how much do they cost and where do you buy them from? I assume there are specialty shops that make them. Are they boat specific or regular upholstery shops?

Are there any other options? I don't think I can see well. I do have a pretty heavy duty sewing machine though.
 

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The same people who make Biminis and dodgers usually do a good job making custom cushions. I tried to go cheap, by hiring an awning guy in RI to do my cockpit cushions and all I got was crap. There doesn't seem to be a cheap way around this, unless you can do them yourself. Good luck.
 

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As with sails they are almost always custom made. This makes them expensive to have them made professionally.

The cheapest source foam that I've found is buying foam mattresses and cutting them to fit the right shape. 4" thick for the bottoms and 3" thick for backrests is typical. Bottom cushion foam is typically denser than back cushion foam.

I'd probably use butcher paper or muslin to make patterns and make your own cushions. If you shop remnant bins you can probably find good material for a cheap price.
 

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first sailed january 2008
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Want to know something funny? My mom and now it's my brothers', has a pillow furniture and futon store! Basically he orders bulk foam and big rolls of fabric and makes this weird custom furniture.

When my mom owned it I got all the free furniture I wanted, and in hawaii I bought a Catalina 22 that had no cushions. So I picked a colour fabric and measured. It didn't turn out perfect but it was a nice micro fiber. It worked.

However. My brother, for reasons unbeknownst to me, does not like me, so I won't be going that route. He actually won't even sell my mom furniture for less than full retail even though she always gave him free stuff, like furnishing his apartment in college. It's weird.

I wasn't trying to derail my thread into an anecdote. I just think its ironic that my closest family has a full on foam and fabric workshop and I can't use it.

About how much do you think going the pro route would cost? I'm guessing like $800 for the settee. The previous owner claims he paid $800 for the bed(did I already say that?) and I believe him.

Alex. When you say you buy foam in mattress form and cut to fit, what kind of mattress? I have an old singer sewing machine from the 1920's that's built like a tank. It could sew think fabric. This might be a good DIY project the more I think about it.

I really want this boat to be nice. I've never had a boat that I wasn't going to turn around and sell when I was done using it. But there are alot of things I want to do and they can't all be done this year.

See, since I've only bought boats to use and resell, my mind isn't the same as yours in that every time you do a project you(sailnetters) feel ...something. I have always just done what needs to be done to get the boat where I want it for the time period I want it for and it's always been done quick. I've got to change my thinking that this is my boat and I have years to get things where I want them. And maybe then I will have the perfect boat. I've got the best start I could hope for.

So yes. Doesn't all have to be done now. But my last two posts, toilet and cushions have to. I have to be able to relax below. The toilet I'm going cheap Pp. With pump out.
 

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Order the foam from an online supplier. Several are recommended. Mended here on other threads. Then I advertised on Craigslist for a seamstress bought my own material and took everything to her. For two Vberth pieces a large settee bottom and a long quarter berth use on I was out $115 for cloth and $250 for swing.
 

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I paid about $2000 for a full set of cushions for my Catalina 25. Those were made with Sunbrella furniture fabric that I got on a big discount, but foam at retail prices. The sewing was done by a local store that sounds similar to the one in your family and was about half of the amount.

I bought the foam mattresses from "Foam Factory" and cut them up for my current boat. I used the HD36 foam shown here:
The Foam Factory, Mattresses, Conventional Foam

The cushion covers on my current boat are in great shape, so I haven't made new ones.

To make for a very comfortable bed I put a 2" or 3" memory foam eggcrate pattern topper on top of the cushions, but under sheets. This adds comfort, bridges the gap in the cushions, and the eggcrate helps the bed dry out. I bought these from Overstock.com.
 

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I think that when people provide services to people with boats they assume we are loaded. I think if you score your own foam and find your own fabric and then locate a good seamstress it'll be a lot cheaper.

In my area there are two large fabric warehouses and I was surprised that they both had pretty decent selection of Sunbrella furniture fabric. Keep in mind this is Phoenix and everyone has a pool with lounges and chairs and umbrella's.

This same question was raised on another site and this recommendation came up:

The Marine Supply Store for boat parts, hardware and sailing equipment in Tampa Bay.

Never hurts to get a quote......
 

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$2000 is actually a good price for new cushions for a 25' boat. When I got a quote for new cushions for my 23' boat over 10 years ago, it was for more than that.

If you can't or don't want to make them yourself, one other option is to get a quote from a "regular" upholsterer, not a marine canvas store. So long as you can make a pattern for the upholsterer to follow (use butcher paper to trace the outline of the spaces), they can do just as good a job as the marine guys, and they will probably do it for less. The marine guys will know what you want and what the options are (zippers, mesh or waterproof bottoms, open cell foam, etc.), but if you can convey exactly what you want to the land-lubbers, they can make it work for you.
 

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re cushions
I live in Western new york and we have an Amish community not too far away.
not that I've had cushions made, but I took my 1921 Model T ford bus down there and guy made me beatiful side curtains out of sunbrella a lot cheaper than an auto place wouldve charged me.
the Amish tarp makers also do boat covers and I'm sure cushions.
Check out the Amish if they are near u
Patrick
 

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$2000 for a 25 foot boat with material you bought yourself, some of it on sale? That's what I was afraid of. I don't know why it costs so much. You could furnish an entire living room for that much. Why are boat cushions so expensive?
You can't furnish an entire living room for that if you get custom shaped furniture, cut and sewn in the US, with fabric that can handle UV, getting wet, and other boat issues.

Labor is expensive. I shopped around quite a bit, $2000-2500 was consistent across multiple estimates.

If boats all had the same interior you could get cushions made overseas, mostly cut and shaped by CNC equipment, for a tiny fraction of this cost.
 

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Foam and fabrics are all made from petroleum, and oil prices are up

It's fairly labor intensive work, especially if done well

But there are sources for DIY

(shameless promo, I used to work there) Sailmaker's Supply/Mainland Canvas Sunbrella, Marine Canvas, Fabrics, Hardware and Supplies - Sailmaker's Supply Jean will be glad to sell you everything you need and has tips as well

(2d shameless promo) I've even got a Pfaff 138 sewing machine I'll be glad to sell to you to do the work with
 

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I recently bought a new boat and asked the dealer for Sun Deck pads. Two of them at about 2'x6' each out of Sunbrella were $750. I have since bought an old Juki Industrial Walking Foot Sewing Machine, and attended classes. I intend to make all of my own stuff now. Once you find a good source for fabric it's not so bad, and there are plenty of online folks. However if you can find someone locally that supplies the Canvas Shops and is willing to sell it to you at the price they sell to them it's even better.
 

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first sailed january 2008
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Labor is expensive but how long does it take to make an $800 vberth mattress? 2 hours max? It's two triangles and a pentagram. It can't take that long. I'm all for American labor, but really. Even if they took 10 hours to make it at $20 an hour that's $200. What's the cost of materials for them getting it in bulk? $100?

I've probably spent 50 days of my life helping my mom make stuff. A custom foam matters for a Queen bed with 8 inches of foam and quality microfiber she sold for $350 and took her less than two hours. I can ask her how long it took to make everything for that Catalina 22.

I'm not trying to turn this into an argument. I think it just struck a chord with me. I don't mind paying for quality but I hate getting ripped off. Sorry to rant and rave.
 

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What's the cost of materials for them getting it in bulk?
Define 'bulk.'

A small canvas shop, the usual local canvas house, is by no means purchasing in 'bulk,' not by a long shot.

The prices you quote for your mom's shop are way below what my shop paid wholesale, I do believe. I didn't handle money, I just sewed, so I can't be sure, but I don't know of anyone in canvas on the Gulf Coast who's getting rich at it.

And as far as time…

A good canvas house is going to spend time going out to your boat, measuring exactly what your berth area is (and you may believe, that nothing is exact nor symmetrical on a boat), then patterning the work, bringing that to the shop, fabbing it up, and bringing that back to the boat and fitting/installing the work.

Yeah. it takes time. And skill. My boss forgot more things that I'll ever learn.
 

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Labor is expensive but how long does it take to make an $800 vberth mattress? 2 hours max? It's two triangles and a pentagram. It can't take that long. I'm all for American labor, but really. Even if they took 10 hours to make it at $20 an hour that's $200. What's the cost of materials for them getting it in bulk? $100?

I've probably spent 50 days of my life helping my mom make stuff. A custom foam matters for a Queen bed with 8 inches of foam and quality microfiber she sold for $350 and took her less than two hours. I can ask her how long it took to make everything for that Catalina 22.

I'm not trying to turn this into an argument. I think it just struck a chord with me. I don't mind paying for quality but I hate getting ripped off. Sorry to rant and rave.
Hey, I agree, but try and get a "skilled" worker for $20 :laugher

Zippers are a fortune, maybe people should consider Velcro, high density, good quality foam is not cheap and Sunbrella material is not cheap. Then if you want nice corners, straight stitching and something that looks professionally done....yada, yada, yada it adds up.

As an owner of a 22 Catalina, I have what 12 pieces, you would think it could be done for less that $1,500, not that $1,500 is cheap.

I think someone in the actually markets should spend considerable time talking seamstresses, fabric shops, marine providers, RV shops, hotrod shops, etc.... and find the best labor rate and source the materials themselves.
 

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There are 11 cushions on a Catalina 25: 2 vberth, 5 dinette, 2 settee, 2 quarterberth. I think there was ~25 yards of fabric. ~3 hours of labor per cushion to measure/cut/heat seal edges/sew, add zippers, stuff, add mounting snaps gets you to 30-35 hours. That is close to a full work week, so $1000ish in labor isn't crazy. I don't see this as a ripoff, but if you do you can make your own and save on labor.
 

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Labor is expensive but how long does it take to make an $800 vberth mattress? 2 hours max? It's two triangles and a pentagram. It can't take that long. I'm all for American labor, but really. Even if they took 10 hours to make it at $20 an hour that's $200. What's the cost of materials for them getting it in bulk? $100?

I've probably spent 50 days of my life helping my mom make stuff. A custom foam matters for a Queen bed with 8 inches of foam and quality microfiber she sold for $350 and took her less than two hours. I can ask her how long it took to make everything for that Catalina 22.

I'm not trying to turn this into an argument. I think it just struck a chord with me. I don't mind paying for quality but I hate getting ripped off. Sorry to rant and rave.
Well I think you found your answer, get some foam, fabric and borrow a sewing machine. Keep in mind if you use a solid fabric it will be a lot easier, just make sure the lay of the fabric is going the same way. It gets to be more difficult with patterns or strips as you waste a lot of fabric matching them up.

If it goes ok, you may have found a new business.
 

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I'm all for American labor, but really. Even if they took 10 hours to make it at $20 an hour that's $200. What's the cost of materials for them getting it in bulk? $100?
I can't help but wonder what profession you were (are?) in if you think $20.00 an hour is reasonable pay for a craftsman. Even down here in the Caribbean, a good craftsman (sail maker or canvas shop) gets more than us$20.00 an hour, but you do get excellent work for much less than stateside.
You are going to get what you pay for on this one, and I believe if you try and do it yourself, you will have a new found respect for those who do it well.
 
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