Your business can survive this pandemic

July 1, 2020

By Terri Madden When I moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and registered my business 23 years ago, I had only $2,000 in my pocket. It bought me the key to the door of an 800-square-foot space with a few worn-out tools and tables. I paid the lawyer who drew up the paperwork in the …

2020 boat show highlights

May 1, 2020

New trends in marine upholstery. By Terri Madden Marine fabricators can find the latest design innovations for marine canvas and upholstery by attending any of the top U.S. boat shows sponsored annually by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). It is an ideal way for fabricators to glimpse the newest innovations in design, construction, equipment …

Part Two: Knee-rise lumbar cushions stapled to a firm base

March 1, 2020

By Terri Madden In the January/February 2020 Marine Fabricator article “Part One: Fabricating knee-rise contour cushions,” I walked you through the steps to fabricate hi/lo knee-rise marine seating independent of a firm base. To achieve a similar stylish and impressive result, you can also fabricate this type of seating using a wood or PVC base. …

Part One: Fabricating knee-rise contour cushions

January 1, 2020

By Terri Madden Stylish, durable hi-lo/knee-rise contour cushions have become extremely popular. Executing these successfully can elevate your company. However, a project with contour cushions has a high degree of difficulty and requires expertise in specific techniques that can easily consume more hours than estimated. It’s a delicate dance to fabricate seating that is not …

Choosing seating materials and finishes

September 1, 2019

By Terri Madden I moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1995 with a degree in textile design and experience in custom fabrication for residential spaces, leather bags and apparel. Fortunately, my brother-in-law had a fledgling canvas business specializing in exterior marine fabrication that desperately needed skilled employees. I was fascinated to learn about materials that …

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 …

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 …

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. …

Zipper basics and sewing techniques

January 1, 2019

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 …