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Old 24-09-2010, 22:58   #1
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Leather Upholstered Cushions ?

My new (to me) 39' pilothouse needs new cushions. Both of my parents are upholsterers so I can do it myself or with their help, saving hundreds or thousands of dollars. I really like leather upholstery in a house or a car but will it withstand life on a cruising boat?
Seems like it might mold, but has anyone ever seen a success?

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Old 24-09-2010, 23:35   #2
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yes and my help is also worth hundreds of thousands of dollars Ultra suede is nice too which will cost you only several hundreds of thousands. Can i bid this work for you?

Really I have ultra suede and its very nice. Mold maybe if you left it for a while in humid places without taking care. None on mine so far.

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Old 25-09-2010, 00:18   #3
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High humidity will cause leather to mold. High dry heat will cause it to dry out. If you are one to keep after it, it would be nice but let it go for 6 months and you could have a wasted effort. On the ranch we used saddle soap a lot.

The leather seats in my Olds went bad in 6 weeks just sitting in the driveway. Of course they were a few years old but boats are tougher on natural products. Even the wood will mold if not aired out often.
Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend, but the Kisses of the Enemy are Deceitful! ........
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Unprepared boaters, end up as floatsum!.......
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Old 25-09-2010, 00:34   #4
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We have put in a microfiber and its excellent. Marks just wash out...

However, if you can put real leather in cheaply with good work and products from your parents then I would do that. Not only will you get that luxury that only comes with the 'real thing' but your resale value will be increased!

What I would do is to casually mention: "Mum, Dad, is my birthday soon?.........."

Or: "Hey Mum, Dad you look like you need a 1 week vacation!"

Notes on a Circumnavigation.

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Old 25-09-2010, 01:07   #5
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Leather works just fine

We are living aboard in the UK (Cowes, South Coast of England), Nita fitted Leather to our saloon cushion 4 years ago. It (the Leather) is standing up to the stress of live aboard life, no mold, no dry spots no tears and it still looks great and feels great. We also have a small dog that tramples the setee as if it were his own and it still looks great.
Go for it!

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Old 25-09-2010, 03:18   #6
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G'day, Mate. We are very happy that the previous owners had just redone the cushions in leather before we purchased our Mason. They have head up extremely well in a live aboard environment. They are much easier to keep clean than cloth. Cheers.
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Old 25-09-2010, 03:40   #7
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G'Day all,

Another vote for leather! Insatiable II has all leather upholstery in the saloon. It was fairly new when we bought her 7 1/2 years ago, and is still in superb condition. We are full time liveaboard cruisers, operating in the South Pacific islands and Australia, covering latitudes from 43 south to around 15 south, so we encounter a fair bit of chill on up to tropical heat and humidity. The leather is more comfortable than any other material we've ever used. We clean and treat it with gunk made for household furniture leather... but not nearly as often as they say to! Takes us about an hour to do the lot, so it isn't a big deal, but we often have more interesting things to do!

Anyhow, we love it.


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Cairns, Qld Oz
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Pittwater, NSW fora while.
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Old 25-09-2010, 05:19   #8
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We have leather in our 2001 boat -- it was original with the boat and is still in great shape. No special care and it is left aboard over the northeast US winters too. (The v-berth and aft berths are synthetic cloth velour.) Leather is fine for the salon but it would not be my first choice to sleep on .

We have also had Ultra-Suede and synthetic velour on other boats (like they use on some cloth car seats) -- all have held up well.

I think Ultra Suede is the most forgiving of stains and oils (such as sunblock). Before we bought it we tested a swatch with ketchup, mustard, cooking oil, sunblock, and red wine. It did not stain AT ALL -- everything we rubbed into it came right off with a clean damp rag, leaving no marks! Try it.

Whatever your decision, you may also want to buy a few extra yards (enough to cover your largest cushion) from the same dye lot just to put away in storage, in event of a bad accident.

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Old 25-09-2010, 06:44   #9
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Our boat came with leather in the salon. It had been put in about 4 years before we purchased the boat and held up fine in southern California for another 4 years after we purchased it. Once we headed south into Mexico the humidity started to cause problems (dirt and grime really stuck to it). We had it restored in Mazatlan and it was unbelievable how well it came out (see photo below). I am sold!
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:14   #10
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I am planning on using leather for my boat upholstery. Is there something one can use to treat it to prevent it going mouldy?
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Old 13-12-2010, 00:12   #11
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Ultra-Suede is the ultimate material for us too. For European sailors: this is often called Alcantara in Europe.. same material, same manufacturer.

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Old 14-12-2010, 03:03   #12
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Anyone a view on PU leather ?


Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! -
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