• Selling your marine business successfully

    Published On: January 1, 2024Categories: Features

      If selling a residence can be an angst-filled undertaking, how much more unsettling is the thought of selling a business, especially one you’ve poured heart, soul, money and reputation into? But as potentially nerve-wracking as the prospect may be, there are measures shop owners can take to lessen the stress and achieve their [...]

  • 2024 Time Standards Manual Excerpt

    Published On: January 1, 2024Categories: Features, MFA Time Standards, Resources

      The Time Standards Manual was developed in 1996 by the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), a division of the Advanced Textiles Association, 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 continues to grow [...]

  • Networking builds confidence and long-term success

    Published On: January 1, 2024Categories: Features, News

    The owner of this custom-built 30-foot Thames River slipper launch asked Faith Roberts to fabricate an exacting and attractive custom cover to protect it (with matching pillows). Photos by Dani Werner Photography   Although Faith Roberts’ business has been mostly a one-woman show for almost 40 years, she has always been a firm believer [...]

  • Safety practices at the marina and in the shop

    Published On: August 31, 2023Categories: Features

    It was late in the day, rain was threatening, and Edward Skrzynski needed to cover a boat that was on an elevator lift before the storm hit. All the available workers were out, so telling no one he was leaving, he headed out to handle the task alone. Just as he arrived, it started drizzling. [...]

  • Ten business lessons in 10 years for Southern Stitch

    Published On: August 31, 2023Categories: Features

    The owner of this 2003 Chaparral 232 Sunesta had a simple request of Southern Stitch Canvas & Upholstery—make it new. Shown here is part of the one-of-a-kind interior. Photo: Southern Stitch Canvas & Upholstery LLC There’s a saying that chance favors the prepared. Sometimes that preparation can take some surprising forms. Just ask Steven Wayne, [...]

  • Upholstery advice from veteran marine fabricators

    Published On: August 31, 2023Categories: Features

    This stunning project from Vorei Frost Reeves’ In Stitches Customs won an Outstanding Achievement Award in the 2023 MFA Fabrication Excellence Awards Transformations category. As anybody who’s tried it knows, marine upholstery is not for the faint of heart. Doing it well requires serious skill, creativity and experience. Marine Fabricator asked four sewing pros with [...]

  • Managing tools in the shop and on the go

    Published On: July 1, 2023Categories: Features

    When Krisha Plauché, owner of Onboard Interiors & Hood Canvas, purchased the latter company in March 2023, some redesigning of her shop was required to accommodate the extra 1,000 square feet and expanded tool inventory that came with the Hood Canvas acquisition. Headquartered in Marblehead, Mass., the full-service design firm specializes in providing marine interiors [...]

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  • Fabricator focus: Kyle Van Damme

    Published On: July 1, 2023Categories: Features

    When he’s not patterning and installing boat covers or managing sales and customer relations, sports enthusiast Kyle Van Damme, MFC, spends his free time boating, coaching track and field, and cheering for the Minnesota Vikings. Basketball, however, is his sport of choice for analogies about growing up—and growing a business—in the marine fabrication industry. In [...]

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  • Keeping it together with adhesives and fasteners

    Published On: July 1, 2023Categories: Features

    John Cavender, owner of Cavco Canvas Inc., in Centreville, Md., runs Boat Canvas University, where future fabricators learn about adhesives and fastening techniques for essential projects on boats such as this one. Photo: Cavco Canvas Inc. For many boat clients, life on board is about the sun glinting off a shiny hull, comfortable upholstery, glistening [...]

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  • Choosing the right window materials

    Published On: May 1, 2023Categories: Features

    This craft has acrylic windows, one of the most popular material choices. But for many boat owners, the decision is not always easy because each choice has pros and cons. Photo: Chicago Marine Canvas Selecting boat windows for customers might be the hardest thing a fabricator can do—or the easiest. Most customers have two primary [...]

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