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Old 31-05-2012, 11:04   #1
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Interior Boat Cushions

Hello all,
I have a Catalina 30' (1984) and I am doing a lot of interior work to restore it to it's top condition. All of the interior cushions need to be replaced. I have no idea where to start looking. Any suggested websites or advice?
Thanks so much!
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Old 31-05-2012, 11:14   #2
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

You may want to try to find a local canvas maker that does boat work to redo the cushions for you, just a thought. Where ever there are boats, you can find a few. If you cannot find one in your area and don't find a suitable bigger company, send me a message and I can give you the name of who we use.
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Old 31-05-2012, 11:23   #3
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

If the foam is still good and not mildewed, you can reuse that and save a lot. Upholstery is expensive. If you get a quote from a boat oriented place, try to locate an old upholstery shop, like you see in someone's house property, they might be cheaper.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:25   #4
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

They do seem expensive to replace. What do you think about having the slips dry cleaned? They do come off. I guess I would have to determine the "life" left in the foam but dry cleaning could be an option?
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:40   #5
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

Coastal,
Had this problem when I restored my boat five years ago. Yeah, cushions were expensive then and probably more so now. You can dry clean the covers but if they're badly stained you probably won't like the results. And you can save money if the foam in the cushions is still usable but you might want to think about replacing it anyway. Standard cushions on many boats had 3-inch foam -- not really comfortable unless you're like me and prefer very hard surfaces. You might want to go with 4-inch foam. Of course if you or your significant other are handy with a sewing machine you can really save a bundle.
There are always marine canvas shops around -- check the nearest wotrking marina or go on-line, would be surprised if you don't find what you're looking for.
Finally, if you're looking to retore your boat to top condition, don't pinch pennies -- you'll be sorry ever after. If you can't afford it now (been there, done that) hold off until you can
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:44   #6
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

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Originally Posted by CoastalLiving View Post
Hello all,
I have a Catalina 30' (1984) and I am doing a lot of interior work to restore it to it's top condition. All of the interior cushions need to be replaced. I have no idea where to start looking. Any suggested websites or advice?
Thanks so much!
If you are trying to restore it to top condition and these are the original cushions, almost 30 years old, I'd guess you need to replace the foam and covers. I've owned two boats of your vintage in the last 5 years and we ended up replacing everything in both. It was expensive but we didn't regret it because we live aboard and have to look at it every day. Do shop around and get some referrals. And definitely use a boat canvas shop that does a lot of interior work not just exterior things like dodges and biminis.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:19   #7
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

Our covers now 23 years old are going through the washing machine as we speak. The two cockpit cushions had the foam cleaned last summer in a childs paddling pool and then dried out in the green house for a month. After that they had new covers made by a dress make who we supplied the materiel for bought on E Bay, much cheaper.


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Old 01-06-2012, 06:47   #8
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

I own a dry cleaners and have cleaned many boat cushion covers (including my own), so here's my 2 cents.

If the covers are dirty and smelly, but structurally sound, then dry cleaning can do wonders. Make sure you take them to someone that uses perchloroethylene (or "perc"), as that is still the best solvent out there. The "green" cleaners don't clean as well, and their solvents aren't any more "green" than perc anyway. If your covers are coming apart at the seams, don't bother.....dry cleaning is a rough process and they will shred.

If the cushion covers need to be replaced, find some fabric at a fabric store that you like and take them to an alterations lady that's willing to do it (you might have to go to a few places to find one that will do it, but they are out there). You'll save a bundle.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:32   #9
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
If the foam is still good and not mildewed, you can reuse that and save a lot.
This is a very common mistake.

If the shop you go to has some of the the foam in stock, ask them to let you try sitting on some. Include your old foam in the test.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:50   #10
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

Find a local upholstery shop to do the work. They have big books of fabric samples that you can take home and see how they look in different types of light, different times of the day, etc. Narrowing down the choices of fabric and ultimately selecting what you want can be a real enjoyable process - it was for my wife and I when we did ours.

I wouldn't bother reusing foam or trying to clean the old stuff. New cushions can be one of the satisfying upgrades you'll ever do to your boat, both visually and comfort wise. If you can't afford new now, wait until you can.

I wouldn't let the upolsterer use the old stuff for a pattern - have him come to the boat and measure. A good one probably wouldn't want to use the old cushions for a pattern anyway.

Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:11   #11
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

I did that a few month ago
We changed the upholstery of all the settee cushions , from a dark fabric to a cream/white leatherette
the result is fantastic and well worth the expense
Was done at Coconut grove sails and Canvas
Carla Schiefer a very helpful lady
(they also made a new Jib for us , very well done)

And for once the Admiral was very happy about me spending money in the boat !!!!!!!!! :-)
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:22   #12
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

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Originally Posted by slowshoes View Post

I wouldn't bother reusing foam or trying to clean the old stuff. New cushions can be one of the satisfying upgrades you'll ever do to your boat, both visually and comfort wise. If you can't afford new now, wait until you can.

I wouldn't let the upolsterer use the old stuff for a pattern - have him come to the boat and measure. A good one probably wouldn't want to use the old cushions for a pattern anyway.

Good luck!
Good input.

While old outdoor canvas does not make for good patterns due to shrinkage or deterioration, the same does not necessarily hold true for interior cushions if the originals were fitted right. But you can tell a good shop if they know not to use old canvas for patterns.

Lots of new canvas work becomes scrap because a non-marine shop tried to do it first.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:30   #13
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

I just had two cushions make for the cockpit area. I looked under "seamstress" and "sewing" on Craigslist's category "services" and got lots of results. Ended up finding a guy that does ulpholstery work from home in his garage. $45 each for the covers. I supplied the material and foam. The foam was about $90 total. I found the "seamstress" category to be expensive shopping. As much as $150 each cover was quoted. Shop around.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:38   #14
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

Coastalliving, where are you? We had great work done by a woman in North CArolina.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:39   #15
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Re: Interior Boat Cushions

You don't mention your location or your budget. If you're near a good quality marine fabric place, it's worth checking out what they do and how they go about it. Even if you decide to go a different route, they can provide a lot of insight into the options you can consider. We changed out all the cushions and fabric on a 1975 Tartan 34 a few years ago. We looked at doing it ourselves, working with a local fabric store or having a marine fabric place (S&S Fabrics, Portsmouth, RI) do it. We ended up going with S&S. They came to the boat and did all the measurements rather than relying on the old cushions. They gave us several foam and fabric options. Some we could have replicated with the fabric store. Others, not so readily. The results were excellent and, most importantly, the admiral was a very happy camper.
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