Events

ATA Industry Events

July 1, 2022

Sept. 16–17, 2022 MFA Southeast Regional Workshop Canvas Designers Inc. Riviera Beach, Fla. textiles.org/marineworkshops Oct. 12–14, 2022 IFAI Expo 2022 Charlotte Convention Center Charlotte, N.C. ifaiexpo.com Jan. 26–28, 2023 MFA Conference 2023  Sheraton New Orleans New Orleans, La. textiles.org/marineconference Sept. 9–11, 2022 North Coast Harbor Boat Show  North Coast Harbor Marina Cleveland, Ohio northcoastharborboatshow.com Sept. …

Business

Workflow in a seasonal environment

July 1, 2022

As I have grown Precision Custom Canvas Inc. from a single-person operation to a business of four full-time staff and two seasonal positions, I have struggled with the concept of providing a consistent living wage to my employees through the off-season while snow blankets the boats and ice fills the harbors. I have always known …

Products

Versatile cushion fabric

July 1, 2022

Dimensionally stable and opaque, Vicar Patterning Fabric is weatherproof, lightweight and reinforced for strength, yet it will lie flat for easy use. The material received a stamp of approval from Autometrix for use on its cutting tables because its proprietary camera system can pull out the pattern automatically without having to digitally trace it for …

Features

Small tools and machines deliver big benefits

July 1, 2022

The “right tool for the job” has long been a maxim for success. Marine fabrication can involve the use of large, complex tools, but those are not the bread and butter of most operations. It’s the smaller tools used daily, over and over, that can often determine if a shop is efficient and effective or …

Features

Space management 101

July 1, 2022

Clutter. Claustrophobia. Continual need for more storage.  Those are possible hazards of working out of a physically small marine fabrication shop. Yet it’s understandable that many fabricators choose to house their companies in conservatively sized spaces to better control overhead costs.  Keeping small shops organized can require planning and extra patience; often, staff have to …

Products

Tough upholstery fabric

July 1, 2022

Made to withstand harsh outdoor conditions, Agora® fabrics are made of 100% solution-dyed acrylic that incorporate treatments to cope with the most demanding environments, ensuring excellent performance. The fabrics’ qualities include strength, durability, easy care and top-notch resistance to fading and degradation. They have a five-year warranty against fading due to exposure to sunlight. covinsales.com

Features

Next-gen sewers

July 1, 2022

It’s not easy. Attracting, hiring and keeping sewers is perhaps one of the most challenging issues facing marine fabrication shops today. But the good news is that it is not an insurmountable challenge. Many people want to put their hands to work and make something beautiful and functional from available parts. And for shop owners …

New Members

New Members

July 1, 2022

The Marine Fabricators Association (MFA) provides resources and programs for marine fabricators and establishes standards of excellence for business practices, products and craftsmanship. The MFA is a division of the Advanced Textiles Association, formerly known as IFAI. Join the only trade association today that represents the entire specialty fabrics and advanced textiles industry in the …

Products

Eco-friendly zippers

July 1, 2022

IDEAL Earth™ Zippers are made from recycled polyester using special processes that convert recycled water bottles into zippers. Available in metal, Delrin, invisible and coil with more than 600 colors and in various sizes. idealfastener.com

Products

Natural durability

July 1, 2022

DuraWax is a heavy-duty waxed canvas that is an economical, environmentally friendly leather alternative for bags, packs, work aprons, tool rolls, pouches and more. The waxed coating ages beautifully to give the fabric a unique, worn-in look the more the fabric is handled and used. It does not stain easily and water rolls right off …

Events

Registration for IFAI Expo 2022 opens with early bird pricing

May 5, 2022

Registration is now open for IFAI Expo 2022, taking place October 12–14 with education happening from October 11–14 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C. IFAI Expo is known as the specialty textile industry’s flagship show for sourcing, networking and education. It’s an opportunity to join thousands of industry stakeholders and leaders who are …

Events

IFAI Expo 2022 speaker submissions due March 31

March 22, 2022

The deadline to submit speaker presentations for IFAI Expo 2022 in Charlotte, N.C. on Oct. 12–14, 2022, is March 31. Speaking at IFAI Expo gives individuals a chance to connect with a wide variety of attendees in diverse markets, share their expertise and boost their credibility. For more than a century, IFAI Expo has been …

Expo News

IFAI Expo 2022 call for presentations

December 20, 2021

The Industrial Fabrics Association International is now accepting proposals for presentations at IFAI Expo 2022. IFAI Expo will take place Oct. 12-14, 2022, at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C., with education Oct. 11-14. IFAI is accepting proposals for 50-minute classroom sessions in several categories: Advanced Textiles Shade & Weather Protection Specialty Fabrics Marine …

Expo News

IFAI Expo: Shade sail dos and don’ts

November 3, 2021

Shade sails offer a great business opportunity for fabricators, but it’s important to keep some key “dos and don’ts” in mind. That was the message from Shazeebo owner and founder Patrick Howe during his presentation “Shade Sails Dos and Don’ts—A Deep Dive,” presented at the IFAI Expo in Nashville. There are several considerations for those …

Awards

IAA Awards deadline approaching

July 22, 2021

The deadline to submit a project for the 2021 International Achievement Awards (IAA) is July 30. The IAA awards recognize the best projects across the specialty fabrics industry. The awards are an opportunity to showcase your technical skills and talents to the entire industry. Awards are given in seven major categories and 42 subcategories and …

Events

Messe Stuttgart’s Sun Shading Expo North America moves co-location debut with IFAI Expo to 2022

July 7, 2021

Messe Stuttgart announced that its new U.S.-based show Sun Shading Expo North America will not be held in 2021 as a separate trade show but will instead contribute its expertise in internal and external sun shading systems at IFAI Expo 2021 in the form of expert talks, open discussions and more. IFAI Expo 2021 will still take place …

Expo News

Grants available to North Carolina small businesses to exhibit at IFAI Expo 2021

June 8, 2021

Eligible North Carolina small businesses can take advantage of a program allowing for reimbursement of booth expenses related to exhibiting at IFAI Expo 2021, Nov. 2–4, 2021, at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn. The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) announced another round of funding for the North Carolina State Trade Expansion …

Expo News

Registration is open for IFAI Expo 2021

May 10, 2021

Registration is open for IFAI Expo 2021. IFAI Expo celebrates the 100th anniversary of the show this November, and you won’t want to miss it! After a long hiatus of in-person events, this year’s show is the perfect place to reconnect with your industry. Register now to get the Early Bird rate! Early Bird rates end …

Events

Call for IFAI Expo 2021 speakers, topic ideas

January 5, 2021

IFAI Expo 2021 organizers are looking for presentation topic ideas and interested speakers for Expo 2021, which will be held Nov. 1–4, 2021, at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn. Expo organizers are looking for speakers and topic ideas for 50-minute classroom education sessions and 25-minute campfire education sessions. Submissions are being accepted for …

Expo News

Standard for active illumination developed in Europe

November 16, 2020

In a session at IFAI Virtual Expo 2020, “Smart Textiles Standardization, Active Illumination,” Dr. Jan Beringer, senior scientific expert Hohenstein Group, explained the new standard for active illumination that will soon be implemented in European Union countries.  Organizations worked together to develop the standards. It is notable, he said that both textile and electronics industries …

Features

Space management 101

July 1, 2022

Clutter. Claustrophobia. Continual need for more storage.  Those are possible hazards of working out of a physically small marine fabrication shop. Yet it’s understandable that many fabricators choose to house their companies in conservatively sized spaces to better control overhead costs.  Keeping small shops organized can require planning and extra patience; often, staff have to …

Features

Next-gen sewers

July 1, 2022

It’s not easy. Attracting, hiring and keeping sewers is perhaps one of the most challenging issues facing marine fabrication shops today. But the good news is that it is not an insurmountable challenge. Many people want to put their hands to work and make something beautiful and functional from available parts. And for shop owners …

Features

Small tools and machines deliver big benefits

July 1, 2022

The “right tool for the job” has long been a maxim for success. Marine fabrication can involve the use of large, complex tools, but those are not the bread and butter of most operations. It’s the smaller tools used daily, over and over, that can often determine if a shop is efficient and effective or …

Features Members only content

Spreading the word

May 1, 2022

What’s the best way to market your small fabrication shop? It comes down to one simple concept, “word of mouth.” It doesn’t matter whether your shop is in Arizona, New Hampshire or New Zealand, the approach doesn’t change—reputation is the most significant factor in growing a successful business. “What works is some guy talking to …

Features Members only content

Diving In

May 1, 2022

If a college friend hadn’t had extra space in a harborside building he was renting in downtown Bellingham, Greg Keeler may have never started up Bellingham, Wash.-based marine canvas company Oyster Creek Canvas Co. After earning a degree in environmental policy and assessment, the lifelong boating enthusiast had spent several years in a related desk …

Features

2022 Premier Product Showcase

May 1, 2022

For this feature, we asked our contributors to send us information about their high-performing products. The product information was submitted by the participating manufacturers and suppliers by the established deadline. The products are organized into three categories: Fabric, Film & Foam; Equipment, Tools & Miscellaneous; and Hardware and Findings. You can see the 2022 Premier …

Features Members only content

Women fabricators discuss working in a male-dominated industry

March 1, 2022

Business hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Katie Bradford of Custom Marine Canvas in Noank, Conn. Back in 1990, five years after starting her business, she lost out on a substantial sail-building order because the customer believed she’d be giving up her business to focus on her new marriage.  In another instance, a male customer …

Features Members only content

Should you take your upholstery skills to the surging RV market?

March 1, 2022

Diversification is a familiar concept to business owners—and for good reason. Expanding into market segments outside the core has saved many businesses during economic ups and downs, as well as shifts in market demands. But entering crossover markets that are closely connected to the “bread and butter” of a business comes with its own set …

Features

2022 MFA Fabrication Excellence Awards

March 1, 2022

Sponsored by the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), the Fabrication Excellence Awards contest is designed to recognize excellence in marine fabrication. The entries are judged by a panel of certified marine professionals. Awards of Excellence and Outstanding Achievement Awards are given in each category. The MFA recognizes two Awards of Distinction, chosen from the Award of …

Features

2022 MFA Time Standards Manual

January 1, 2022

The Time Standards Manual was developed in 1996 by the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, to serve as a benchmark that shop owners can use to set fabrication times, with which they can generate competitive labor costs. The manual is an ongoing project that will grow and change …

Industry News

2022 Women Making Waves winners selected

June 30, 2022

Boating Industry magazine named the 2022 Women Making Waves winners in its June/July issue. Entering its fifth year, the program recognizes women in the recreational boating industry who continue to make contributions to its success, propel its growth and lead their organizations and peers into the future. The 2022 program received more than 120 nominations …

Industry News

NMMA releases demographic research

June 29, 2022

In partnership with agency partner Cutwater, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) conducted research that looked at the feelings and mindset of long-time boat owners, first-time boat owners and potential boat owners to be, their interests and key demographics. Research findings showed current boat owners are: …

Industry News

Ocean Shipping Reform Act updates U.S. shipping law

June 23, 2022

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the first major update to U.S. international ocean-shipping laws in more than two decades. The Senate passed the shipping reform bill earlier this year, and President Biden is expected to sign the measure into law in the coming days. Bipartisan legislation, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 …

Industry News

OSHA administers $11.7 million in training grants

June 22, 2022

The U.S. Department of Labor will provide a funding opportunity for $11.7 million in Susan Harwood Training Grants to support the delivery of training and education to help workers and employers identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards. Administered by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the grants will target disadvantaged, underserved, low-income, and other hard-to-reach, …

Industry News

USDA partners with Port of Houston to ease agriculture shipping bottlenecks

June 22, 2022

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced plans to increase capacity for exporting chilled and frozen agricultural commodities at the Port of Houston in Houston, Texas, to help improve service for shippers of U.S. grown agricultural commodities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is partnering with the Port of Houston to lease additional chassis, used to position …

Industry News

IBEX 2022 registration opens

June 21, 2022

Visitor registration for the 2022 The International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) show is now open. Set to take place September 27-29, 2022, at the Tampa Convention Center, the large trade event for marine industry professionals offers access to more than 600 exhibitors from 14 countries spread throughout three exhibit halls, docks, and outdoor displays, …

Industry News

Textile groups urge U.S. to maintain penalty tariffs on China

June 16, 2022

The Biden administration should maintain Section 301 penalty tariffs on finished textiles and apparel from China or risk reversing once-in-a-lifetime nearshoring trends and undermining critical investments and jobs in the U.S. and Western Hemisphere, three key American textile manufacturing groups said today. In a formal submission to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office, which is …

Industry News

TikTok campaign targets younger boaters

June 16, 2022

To further engage the next generation of boaters, Discover Boating, an online resource for recreational boating sponsored by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, recently launched a pilot campaign on TikTok to tell the industry’s story through influential content creators who encourage their engaged followers to get on …

Industry News

Viking Group chair wins congressional primary

June 15, 2022

Robert Healey Jr., chairman of Viking Group, won the Republican primary for New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District. Healey will face incumbent Congressman Andy Kim in the general election on Tuesday, November 8. Aside from his corporate responsibilities, Healey’s philanthropic activities include board positions on the Healey Education Foundation, which helps Catholic schools become self-sustaining and …

Industry News

2021 sailboat sales trends report now available

June 14, 2022

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Sailboat Sales Trends section of the 2021 U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract is now available. The data show retail unit sales of sailboats increased 20% compared to 2020. Other key insights from the report include: Sailboats accounted for $126.1 million in sales in 2021. Exports of sailboat units from …

Products

Tough upholstery fabric

July 1, 2022

Made to withstand harsh outdoor conditions, Agora® fabrics are made of 100% solution-dyed acrylic that incorporate treatments to cope with the most demanding environments, ensuring excellent performance. The fabrics’ qualities include strength, durability, easy care and top-notch resistance to fading and degradation. They have a five-year warranty against fading due to exposure to sunlight. covinsales.com

Products

Natural durability

July 1, 2022

DuraWax is a heavy-duty waxed canvas that is an economical, environmentally friendly leather alternative for bags, packs, work aprons, tool rolls, pouches and more. The waxed coating ages beautifully to give the fabric a unique, worn-in look the more the fabric is handled and used. It does not stain easily and water rolls right off …

Products

Eco-friendly zippers

July 1, 2022

IDEAL Earth™ Zippers are made from recycled polyester using special processes that convert recycled water bottles into zippers. Available in metal, Delrin, invisible and coil with more than 600 colors and in various sizes. idealfastener.com

Products

Versatile cushion fabric

July 1, 2022

Dimensionally stable and opaque, Vicar Patterning Fabric is weatherproof, lightweight and reinforced for strength, yet it will lie flat for easy use. The material received a stamp of approval from Autometrix for use on its cutting tables because its proprietary camera system can pull out the pattern automatically without having to digitally trace it for …

Products

Luxury leather alternative

July 1, 2022

Now with Nassimi’s proprietary Resilience™ coating, Seaquest luxury performance cushion vinyl now offers an improved superior stain resistance coupled with enhanced durability. With 14 new colors for the 2022 season, the vinyl’s color palette is now up to 35 colors, all available with matching roll n’ pleat, hidem and welting from stock.  manart-hirsch.com

Products

Versatile patterning fabric

July 1, 2022

The Phiftertex Cushion and Matte Fabric Addition cushion fabrics offer more options and versatility for outdoor furniture. They are a more malleable, 100% PVC option that can be manipulated and sewn to fit cushions. With a softer hand compared to traditional PVC fabric, this option provides soft comfort and sturdy fabric that can be cleaned. …

Products

LED illuminating fabric

March 17, 2022

Kanvaslight® by Guardtex is an illuminating fabric that can be used in applications like bimini tops, seating, awnings and sunshades. The UL-certified technology allows textile structures to be used as a broad lighting surface. The two-component system, a light injector and an illuminating fabric, is designed so that no electricity is flowing through the fabric. …

Products

Vegan indoor/outdoor fabric

March 1, 2022

Ultrafabrics® has launched Coast, a vegan indoor/outdoor performance fabric for hospitality, residential and marine markets. The fabric is water-resistant in environments where both chlorinated and salt water are a danger to furniture. It features enhanced UV resistance and colorfastness to sunlight and remains cool to the touch even on the hottest summer days. With a …

Products

Performance-enhanced marine fabric

March 1, 2022

Armada, a durable, cost-effective line of coated marine fabrics has been further performance enhanced with the addition of Forbid SRT®, a proprietary topcoat by Enduratex. Adding the topcoat increases the performance value and longevity of its upholstery applications, which include marine, outdoor and general seating. Available in 40-yard rolls, 54” width and is 100 percent …

Products

Easier bimini deployment hardware

March 1, 2022

Accon Marine’s 415-TB Bimini Release hardware makes biminis and sunshades easier to deploy and stow. Built from polished 316 stainless steel, the low-profile surface-mount base installs with two #10 screws; a cutout isn’t needed. Unlike some marine shade solutions that require screws, pins or sewing hardware onto the webbing, the bimini-side of the two-piece fitting …

Interiors & Upholstery

Adjusting to a bigger shop

July 1, 2022

In 2019, I moved Chicago Marine Canvas into a new 2,500-square-foot space, and by the summer of 2021, customer projects were piling up on top of one another. An additional sewing table had been made under a low storage loft, we were constantly moving projects in the middle of production to complete everyday tasks, and …

Exterior and Cover

Award-winning travel covers

July 1, 2022

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 in preventing unnecessary wear to the cover and damage to …

Exterior and Cover

Pattern darting

May 1, 2022

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.  Pattern darting speeds patterning on the boat using a single piece of Tyvek®, heavy craft paper …

Interiors & Upholstery

Ultimate cushion design

May 1, 2022

At Interiors by Dawn, the ultimate cushion design—which provides increased drainage and airflow, reduced mold and mildew growth and longevity—is always evolving. This is not for every customer or project; we tailor and customize our cushions to fit each individual project. However, we make sure to discuss these options with customers so they understand what’s …

Exterior and Cover

Tools to make things easier

March 1, 2022

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 methods and tools have been …

Interiors & Upholstery

New marine fabric selection techniques

March 1, 2022

We marine fabricators love fabrics. In fact, most of the conversations I have with customers start like this, “We love fabric. We have fabrics in every color under the rainbow. But our fabrics are special because they are marine grade.” And let’s be honest, fabric is the fun part of our job, right? The big …

Exterior and Cover

Pontoon enclosure process honed to perfection

September 1, 2021

By Michael Charpentier Here at Paul’s Custom Canvas Inc., we have seen our fair share of pontoon boats over the years. Some of the first were a few pieces of wood bolted to two pontoons with basic seating and a rail to keep you from falling in the water. They had a 75-horsepower motor that …

Interiors & Upholstery

Products and techniques for custom cushions

September 1, 2021

By Terri Madden and Alayna Wool What do you do when a customer requests something that is outside your realm of experience? How do you elevate your skills in order to work on the type of projects you love? How do you learn about new product offerings and materials from suppliers? By reading columns like …

Awards

Marine Fabricator wins publishing awards

November 12, 2019

The Minnesota Media and Publishing Association recognized Marine Fabricator magazine, led by senior editor Elisa Bernick, with a Bronze Award and a Silver Award in publishing excellence for how-to articles, “Seam finishing for marine cushions and covers” and “Zipper basics and helpful sewing techniques.” Both articles were written by Terri Madden, owner of Sand Sea …

Interiors & Upholstery

Window Treatment Trends

July 1, 2017

Interest in window coverings for marine applications has experienced a rebirth of sorts and more consumers, fabricators and designers are using innovative window treatment designs. When Krisha Plauché, owner of Onboard Interiors in Marblehead, Mass., is fabricating drapery for a stateroom, she often uses blackout applications, but Plauché has found that lining drapery with a …