Workstation ergonomics saves backs and increases efficiency

May 2, 2019

Sewing machines are an integral part of the workflow at most marine fabrication shops. But while fabricators may be careful about the machines they buy, and work to keep them operating properly, there are other aspects of the sewing operation that deserve attention. Just the way a shop’s sewing workstations are set up can increase …

Planning and pricing are key to making custom projects pay off

May 1, 2019

Custom projects offer fabricators a numbers of advantages, such as interesting work, a broader customer base and a reputation as a can-do company. When Eric Walton and Devlin McKee opened Custom Canvas Alaska LLC in Fairbanks 14 years ago, the partners knew they had to offer custom canvas work beyond the boat tops they started …

2019 Premier Product Showcase

High-quality products help you create durable, attractive and successful projects. 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 and Flooring; Equipment, Tools & …

Sewing machine savvy

Maintenance—and knowing your machine—means less downtime It’s human nature. Even the best-intentioned person doesn’t always floss his or her teeth daily. And, as it turns out, not all fabricators read the instruction manuals for their sewing machines. Or take the time to keep up with the machine’s maintenance needs. Those who don’t are much more …

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Canvas repairs—turning pain into profit

March 1, 2019

Let’s go out on a limb here and make this proclamation: Repair jobs are not the sexiest work in the marine fabrication business. Okay, maybe that’s not so much of a limb. The fact is, some fabricators try to stay away from repair work altogether or consider it something of a necessary evil. They’ve got …

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Marine flooring options

Marine flooring options have exploded in the last decade. Thanks to technological advancements, the quality of materials and the ease of installation have improved dramatically. This cycle of continuous improvement means fabricators need to stay ahead of the curve and have a thorough understanding of the products available to best meet their customers’ needs. Warren …

2019 MFA Time Standards Manual

January 1, 2019

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 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 organically …

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Dynamic window materials

Fabricators and boat owners have a world of choices in windows. When it comes to choosing their windows, most boat owners don’t want to make it too complicated—they want a quality product that will last at a reasonable price. As fabricators know, however, it’s not quite that simple. In fact, according to Zach Grant, marketing …

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How to rebuild a business

Rob Kotowski rebuilds the family business with his father’s guidance and a commitment to quality and communication. We don’t anticipate that the completion of a project is the last time we talk with our clients,” says Rob Kotowski, owner and president of Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc., Saint Clair Shores, Mich. “We typically follow …

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The boat design process is a lengthy one

September 7, 2018

According to Sam Shimanek, a designer at Marquis-Larson Boat Group in Pulaski, Wis., there are some years the company doesn’t undergo model year changes. When it does, the process usually starts about six months in advance. “The first few months are getting design ideas drawn up,” Shimanek says. “Next we start to pick out new …