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Old     (kalcotter)      Join Date: Aug 2004       05-04-2006, 6:03 AM Reply   
I know what you're thinking.... just hire someone. Due to lack of "boat funds" I'm planning on attempting this myself. Has anyone seen any directions on this? Or, recovered their seats themselves? Not sure how to start...

Old     (dkjbama92mariah)      Join Date: Dec 2005       05-04-2006, 6:08 AM Reply   

Good luck

Old     (kalcotter)      Join Date: Aug 2004       05-04-2006, 6:11 AM Reply   
That was my first thought... Apparently she can't sew either. I'm thinking this would be hard without a sewing machine... Is there some kind of liquid stitch I could use?
Old     (yosquire)      Join Date: Jun 2005       05-04-2006, 6:19 AM Reply   
I've done it with the help of Mom.

Sewing Vinyl is pretty difficult to do with a standard sewing machine. A standard sewing machine has difficulty punching through the thick material and carrying the heavy thread.

In most cases you'll need replacement foam cushions as well. you're going to be surprised how much foam costs. Mail-order your foam. don't buy it from the local fabric store, you want to talk to someone who sales foam to upholstery shops all day long. They can advise you on the proper firmness.

I'm not sure where to start in telling you how to do it. Basically, You have foam sitting on a piece of plywood, then you sew up a vinyl cover, and sew a thin foam (called scrim-or skrim) to the back side of the vinyl. Once you have a fitting cover, you staple it to the backside of the plywood.

You can also remove your existing vinyl cover, and neatly take it apart. It serves as a great pattern for cutting and designing the new cover.

Go easy, start with one seat, if you get done with that one seat, go to the next.

If you have any specific questions, shoot them at me.
Old     (paublo)      Join Date: Jul 2002       05-04-2006, 8:13 AM Reply   
A couple of months ago I decided that I was going to redo the interior on my daughter/son-in-law's '95 Ski Nautique. I borrowed a friends commercial sewing machine. Besides being heavy duty it needs to have a "walking foot". This moves the vinyl forward so it sews properly. I bought all of the vinyl, thread, welting, glue, staples, etc. for about $350. I took apart the first cushion, used the pieces for a pattern and went at it. After redoing it twice and maybe 6 hours, it didn't look too bad. All my friends said great job and my wife laughed and said that it was a very nice $400 cushion figuring the value of my time.

She called around to her fiends and found someone who does upholstry work on the side. He took my materials, bought a few more and did it all for $450. I picked it up all the pieces last Saturday and it looks great. For $800 total the boat is redone and matches the original. Correct Craft wanted around $2500 just for skins. My suggestion would be to look around and find someone to help you. You could do it yourself, but having the experience will improve the finished product and save a lot of time. Good luck.
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       05-04-2006, 8:48 AM Reply   
Yeah, I'm a big time DIYer, but never messed with upholstery. I've had some done, and from what I've seen there are a lot of tricks-to-the-trade in upholstery work. It's also surprisingly reasonable to have done. I agree with Paul - just find someone to do it.
Old     (yosquire)      Join Date: Jun 2005       05-04-2006, 9:33 AM Reply   
Yeah - Let me continue off what Paul said. Though I did my seats myself in the old I/O, they look like I did them myself - the thread lines are not straight, the vinyl is tight in some areas and loose in others. In this particular boat, it didn't matter.
Old     (rodmcinnis)      Join Date: Sep 2002       05-04-2006, 10:45 AM Reply   
My wife and I have done a few boat sewing projects, from Bimini tops to seats.

We are starting to get pretty good at it. It didn't start that way, however.

If your old seats are not too far gone you can take them apart and use the old pieces as patterns to make the new pieces. If the old pieces are too far gone, shrunk, shredded or otherwise unusable then you basically need to know what you are doing.

We also have a commericial walking foot machine which makes the work a whole lot easier, but it is possible to do it on a standard home machine. The hardest part is when you get to large pieces, such as the engine cover. Contrary to what many think the limiting factor isn't the thickness of the material. Just about any machine can jam the needle through the multi-layers of heavy material. The limiting factor is the feed dogs trying to drag 20 pounds of material 1/16 of an inch. That is where the "walking foot" is really nice. The second limiting factor is the depth of the "neck", trying to cram half an engine cover between the needle and the frame of the sewing machine (commerical machines have a much longer reach).

Choice of material is also very important. The cheaper material is often easier to work with: it stretches and is much more forgiving. Doesn't last, but is easier to work with.

If you just need to get some new material over the seat bottoms you could rig up something without sewing: Just throw some material over the foam, wrap it under and staple it in place. The corners will look funny, sort of like a bed sheet tuck. The seat backs will be a lot harder and turn out really bad if you attempted anything like that.

Bottom line: unless you want to use this as a learning experience you would be better off mowing lawns to earn the money to have a professional do it.
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       05-04-2006, 5:04 PM Reply   
Actually, the limiting factor on a standard home machine is the thread size. You can't even come close to the size of thread needed for durability in a boat, or car for that matter.
Old     (jleger98)      Join Date: Oct 2003       05-05-2006, 11:47 AM Reply   
For what its worth, I tried this last year. Never been all that good with a sewing machine, so my hopes weren't that high. So with a "good luck" from my wife I got all the material, foam, the biggest thread I could put in our sewing machine, and big needle too.

Most of it turned out ok, but I'm with Craig. It looked like I did it myself.

This winter, I paid to have all the cushions in the front of my boat done professionally. I found a little shop run by this crotchety old dude. He redid my engine cover for $150, and did all my front cushions for $500.

If you have it done during the winter, and can leave them for a month or two, seems like the prices are more reasonable.
Old     (boomerang)      Join Date: Feb 2006       05-05-2006, 2:10 PM Reply   
Do Ya remember, going to that old ladys house down the street and all the furniture was covered in plastic?

Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       05-05-2006, 2:35 PM Reply   
I don't think those are that bad. I'd love to see a boat upholstered in leopard print plush, or maybe some nice Louis Vuitton print.
Old    jayp            05-05-2006, 3:03 PM Reply   
Well we just finished putting on an entire set of new skins on a Supra Launch and are putting it back together. We had a complete set of factory skins but you could make them yourselves. Either way it is quite a bit of work.

If your doing an entire boat then you are going to want a pneumatic fine wire stapler. I ended up buying a Senco but it wasn't cheap. But I can't imagine doing it without one. You will be pulling alot of staples. I found that a 6" metal scribe worked best.

I agree that it is quite a learning experience.


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