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 …

Considering automation in your shop? Read this first

July 1, 2018

Automation continues to play an increasingly important role in everyday life. Its potential effect on a marine fabricator’s workplace has, unsurprisingly, become a focus of both research and reality. The topic can become a bit like playing 20 Questions: What jobs will or won’t be replaced by machines? Which equipment will serve as the best …

Affordable cushion alternatives

May 1, 2018

It is often challenging to offer successful cushion design solutions when a customer wants a champagne look on a beer budget. Getting the answers to the following four questions during the initial client meeting can make all the difference in finding an affordable solution that leads to a satisfied customer: Who is the final decision …

Selecting the best fabric

March 1, 2018

Thank goodness for Dr. Google! When sourcing textile options for projects, fabricators can simply type in “marine fabric” and up pops a plethora of vendors and nautical-themed images. You’ll find individual maritime insignias that correspond to each of the 26 letters of the alphabet as well as graphic illustrations for almost every kind of nautical …

Preparing for disasters

January 1, 2018

Editor’s note: Like many people who live and work in Puerto Rico, longtime contributor Terri Madden, owner of Sand Sea and Air Interiors Inc., has been deeply affected by the hurricanes. We asked her to write a column to help others learn from her experience. When a disaster occurs, everything takes on a new meaning. …

Boat shows highlight new marine upholstery trends

September 1, 2017

Boat shows are a rich resource. When was the last time you attended a local or international boat show? If it’s been awhile, I recommend you put it on your agenda. To stay a notch ahead of the competition, professional marine fabricators must be aware of new concepts, designs and materials. Viewing new boats at …

Prevent cushion foam failures

July 1, 2017

All marine fabricators who provide products for cushions, bedding and headliners face decisions on the best foam for the application. The right decision ensures quality projects and happy customers. The wrong decision contributes to foam failures. Cheaper can cost more Less expensive foams may seem like a good deal until you realize they can deteriorate …

Foam: The what, when and where

May 1, 2017

Cushion foam is an important component of any marine seating project. From cockpit cushions with hull angles to bosun’s chairs and boat mattresses, choosing the best solution for cushion foam is a bit of a science. The task can feel daunting given the complexity of choices in foam types, materials, densities and compression factors, but …

Seating solutions for reclining, storage and temperature control

March 1, 2017

When a customer requests an unusual type of seating for a boat, it’s a fabrication opportunity to begin a comfortable dialogue with that client. Instead of hesitantly saying, “I will try to do my best,” turn your response into, “I am here to help you.” That customer may have already heard a reluctant fabricator say, …