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Old 24-01-2013, 13:32   #1
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Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

Hello Everyone!

I am in the process of adding an informative section to my website and I wanted to see if I might seek some input from all of the folks here on CF.

If you have a question that you have always wanted to ask about canvas materials or canvas work please post it here.

If you have a question that you hear other sailors ask about canvas or something that you think that people should be made aware of please post it here.

If you have a question that you feel someone has given you bad advice or just plain wrong information in response please post it here.

Although I don't mind answering questions on here, maybe for now we can try to stick to just a list of questions? If you are in need of an urgent response please feel free to note that or even start a new thread based on one of your questions.

Hopefully the end result will be an informative resource for cruising sailors in need of canvas answers.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 24-01-2013, 13:50   #2
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

Why do so many canvas makers not take credit cards?

Why is canvas itself so expensive, especially Sunbrella?

What is a less expensive but durable alternative to Sunbrella?

Is there any correlation between light and dark colors and how long a canvas will last?

Why is sky blue so common when there are dozens of colors?
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Old 24-01-2013, 13:59   #3
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

Small business tend to get the poorest deal when it comes to credit card fees. Large business like, say, WalMart have the bargaining power to negotiate minimal feels but your small operation does not.

I try to pay cash when dealing with small businesses but it's not always practical, of course.
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Old 24-01-2013, 14:20   #4
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

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Why is canvas itself so expensive, especially Sunbrella?

David, is this question just about the fabric itself or about finished canvas products like tops and covers that are made with Sunbrella?
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Old 24-01-2013, 14:28   #5
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

Typically, how long does a Sunbrella dodger or bimini last, e.g., fabric, not thread?
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Old 25-01-2013, 12:03   #6
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

David, I believe the high cost of sunbrella has to do with the UV stabiliser/protector (whatever it's called).

We live in the HOTTEST inhabited city in the world, and the ONLY thing we have from Sunbrella is the protective edge for the furling genoa. All other shades (and we have plenty) are made from simple shade cloth - the sort you might see around tennis courts. But even that, if you get high protection levels (we use 90%) will cost around $18 per meter here.

That is twice what you guys can pay for Sunbrella when it's on offer: Specials / Closeouts at OutdoorFabrics.com
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Old 25-01-2013, 13:26   #7
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

I'd like the answer to an essay question: compare and contrast the following fabrics:
Stamoid; WeatherMax; and acrylic canvasses...

Thanks,

Ann Cate, s/v Insatiable II, lying Kangaroo Bay, TAS
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Old 25-01-2013, 15:46   #8
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

Why so many sailmakers allow their clients to order too big and too heavy (at the same time) fore sails?

b.
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Old 25-01-2013, 16:39   #9
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I guess I'd want to know why they call them canvas makers. I went to my local canvas shop and ordered two bike bags to hold my folding bikes, to be built of 24 oz canvas. They recommended Sunbrella. When I insisted on 24 oz canvas, they said they'd have to order the fabric. Hadn't built anything of canvas in a good decade.
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Old 25-01-2013, 16:52   #10
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

Thanks for this :-)

Is there a difference in thread/stitch life/durability due to color?
What is the best chafe material you have found for dodgers and such.

Thank you
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Old 25-01-2013, 18:45   #11
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

Alan Woodyard, thank you for asking. My three burning questions are, What threads do you use? What sewing machine do you use? Do you sub out any work?

Ancillary questions are, What is best thread? What premium, if any, is there to use premium thread? What stitches do you use most usually? How are grommets stitched?

(Given, thread is UV, salt water, resistant.)

EDIT: Upon customer inspection, what is process to address incorrect grommet or snap installation, and, what backstitch is used?
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Old 25-01-2013, 18:55   #12
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

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Originally Posted by WMarineCanvas View Post
David, is this question just about the fabric itself or about finished canvas products like tops and covers that are made with Sunbrella?
It's about the cost of the canvas itself. I understand the cost of labor.
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Old 25-01-2013, 19:06   #13
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

It has been brought to my attention that maybe the idea of "collecting questions" is not as useful as actually answering them quickly. Sorry about that, I will now set about to answering as many of the questions as I can.
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Old 25-01-2013, 19:17   #14
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

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Why do so many canvas makers not take credit cards?
As someone else has already mentioned I would assume that this behavior is one that is born of a desire to keep as much of the income as possible that is generated by each job. Having a credit card terminal and merchant account is a recurring monthly cost and on top of that there is a percentage charged for each transaction that is processed. All of this I'm sure most of you know.

Also, as has been mentioned the fact that canvas shops are a small business means that we don't get the benefit of high-volume rates on our transactions. Another thing that raises these costs is that I would say a majority of canvas customers tend to pay with rewards cards and these rewards cards are payed for by the merchants who accept them (you didn't think that citi was actually giving you money back did you?). Rewards cards can raise the transaction charge as much as 2% higher than the same sort of credit card without rewards, this can essentially double the cost of accepting these cards.

One other reason that some canvas "shops" don't accept credit cards is that they are a side-business or a fly-by-night whim of someone looking to make a few bucks. These operations are relatively easy to spot but sometimes it's hard to tell the new canvas guy in town from the new scam artist in town until part of a boating season has gone by. Google the business name or the person's name and check it out, it will be pretty easy to tell if the "shop" is legitimate or not.

All of this being said, I accept all credit and debit cards
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Old 25-01-2013, 19:45   #15
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Re: Frequently Asked Canvas Questions

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Why is canvas itself so expensive, especially Sunbrella?
This is a bit of a difficult question for me because I honestly don't think that fabrics like Sunbrella are expensive although I realize that they cost more than some other fabrics (they also cost less than a lot of other fabrics).

Considering that there are very few fabrics that combine the follow qualities it seems that Sunbrella could actually cost a good bit more and people would probably still pay for it:

- Highly breathable
- Extremely water-resistant
- Colorfast even after long-term UV exposure
- Maintains a great amount of it's original strength even after long-term exposure
- Comes with a 10-year warranty
- Very low-maintenance
- Stands up well to anything from long-term UV exposure to high-speed powerboat travel and storm abuse

Add to all of this that I know of Sunbrella canvas products which have lasted nearly 20 years with only occasional re-waterproofing and minor maintenance and Sunbrella actually sounds like a pretty good deal.

Other products are significantly more expensive but many of them are much more expensive to make and serve very specific functions (Strataglass for windows, Ultraleather for luxury upholstery, etc.).

Overall considering the "abuse" that most of these fabrics take just by being used in a marine application most of them seem quite reasonably-priced.

Just my opinion though, I would love to hear responses!
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