Portuguese bridge cushions

July 1, 2019

By Terri Madden Recently, Sand Sea and Air welcomed a 134-foot luxury motor yacht built in 1988 to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was designed to cruise in lavish comfort and classic elegance. The large exterior deck cushions below the bridge were located in an ideal space for lounging while cruising, yet over time, some …

Expanding your business without going broke

By Kathryn J. Maisto, MFC Whether your business is merchandising, servicing or manufacturing in the marine canvas industry, owners of small businesses often share the same primary concerns: how to keep busy in the off-season and how to effectively hire, train and retain quality employees without breaking the bank. But knowing the warning signs of …

Quality details make a brand, not just a business

Details and quality make the difference.  By Dave Elliott, MFC As a founding member of the Australian Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), I’ve spent many years talking to and mentoring other fabricators, as well as doing presentations in the U.S. and Australia for our industry. My general observation is that trimmers and upholsterers lack business knowledge …

Installing headboards and wall panels

May 1, 2019

By Terri Madden  A headboard or wall panel is the focal point of a cabin. Selecting its shape, texture and color are essential steps in creating the desired atmosphere of a stateroom or guest quarters. Headboards and wall panels are similar in fabrication and installation; the difference is that headboards are mounted horizontally, and wall …

PVC Tracks: bending and installation

by Kyle Van Damme, MFC Using a track and keder welt combo to fasten an enclosure to a boat gives your project a sleek and seamless look. It sets your job apart from competitors, is an excellent upsell, and creates a professional and modern appearance. It’s one thing to create a new enclosure on a …

Seam finishing for cushions and covers

March 1, 2019

When you plan your projects, how much thought do you give to their finished edges? The material you’ve chosen dictates the best cutting tools and types of seams to use for finishing your projects. Visible seams on exterior projects need to be considered carefully to achieve attractive and well-constructed projects that will withstand the elements. …

Upholstery: draping vs. digital

At Chicago Marine Canvas, our MFA- and IFAI-award-winning canvas and upholstery shop, we have fully integrated digital methods into our canvas work. There are many benefits to implementing a digital measurement and design process, including speed and accuracy. During the past four years that we’ve been measuring and designing in 3-D, we’ve found it works …

Outside patterning techniques

January 1, 2019

When you’re re-covering built-in boat furniture, you can never have too many techniques tucked into your upholstery toolbox. Many fabricators use the same techniques every time, while others enjoy adapting and changing things up a bit. During the first half of my career, I patterned built-in boat upholstery either by creating new patterns from steamed …

Zipper basics and sewing techniques

The zipper is familiar to everyone, yet the word itself came into existence less than 100 years ago. The fastener’s design was a lengthy process. An early version was invented by Elias Howe, the man who also invented the sewing machine. He patented an “automatic continuous clothing closure” in 1851, but it didn’t catch on. …

How to find, hire and train new employees

September 1, 2018

Most marine fabricators have specialized skills honed over decades. Some were privileged to grow up in a family business. Some of the women fabricators I know learned to sew by making their own clothes and were taught by a mother or grandmother. I’ve always thought if you could sew a collar or an armhole from …