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Old 22-05-2014, 07:47   #1
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Optimum Sunbrella thread type

The PO did a wonderful job of building a dodger, bimini, helm cover etc. out of Sunbrella "Toast".. the only issue I have is that the seams (mostly the attachments to the zippers) are starting to just pull apart due to UV exposure. The material's fine but I just need to run over every seam with the sewing machine.

The POs also left a Sailrite sewing machine and other Sailrite paraphernalia which leads me to believe that they ordered their material and thread from Sailrite. This worries me, as I don't want to make the same mistake and use the wrong thread.

Does anybody have any experiential-based suggestions on the best thread to use for biminis/dodgers etc. such that it will be more resilient to UV? (The boat's in Houston, so the sunlight is unrelenting).

Thanks for the help.
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Old 22-05-2014, 07:57   #2
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

Goretex Tenara thread - you will never need to sew it again. However, the stuff is a bit tricky to use, so if you do not have much experience with that sewing machine, you may find it a bit frustrating at first.

On the other hand, I have always found it to be rather inexpensive to take an existing canvas product to a more professional sewing machine jockey (I tried to use the word "sewer" here, but that doesn't seem correct) to have them run over the seams with new stitching.

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Old 22-05-2014, 08:01   #3
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

Use gore tex thread, otherwise it will degrade. I have a full enclosure and my canvas maker gave me the option for gore tex when I had it made in 2003 and I spent more. I am on year 12 and it hasn't had thread problems. I have had him re-stitch my jib cover and my roller furler main cover. Both sail covers were standard thread and came apart years ago.
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Old 22-05-2014, 08:16   #4
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

Mark/J-Clark,

Thank you very much for your thread recommendation.

I've used the machine to re-patch parts of my Main and repair the leech - so I'm going to be stubborn and try the Goretex myself. I'm sure it's going to be as difficult to work with as Teflon-coated conductors (need thermal strippers) - but I need to learn this, so i'll persevere.

I have to do all of the seams as each time I pull on something it falls apart.. I feel like Alec Guinness at the end of "the man in the white suit".

Thanks again,

Phil
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Old 22-05-2014, 08:32   #5
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

Google for instructions - it just requires fiddling a bit with the tension until you get the stitches correct and not skipping. A small needle helps too. Also, it comes in two weights - you don't need the heavy, and that is much more difficult to sew with.

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Old 22-05-2014, 12:44   #6
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

As several folks have already mentioned, because of its resistance to UV and weathering, Tenera thread from Gore is an excellent choice for outdoor canvas projects. But Gore is just one manufacturer of PTFE thread. At one time Coats manufactured a PTFE thread which they marketed under the name Profilen. And more recently they are marketing a PTFE thread under the Helios name.

You specifically asked for experiential-based suggestions. I have had good results (in Austin, TX) with both Gore Tenera thread and Coats Profilen thread. I have used them to sew a new bimini, new winch covers, a tiller cover, hatch covers, etc. ... all from Sunbrella. I find the Gore Tenera a bit easier to work with than the Coats Profilen, but both require close attention to bobbin tension. After years of exposure I cannot tell any difference between the Tenera and the Profilen. (I have no experience with Coats Helios thread.)

The key to the threads resistance to UV exposure is the PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) material. Unfortunately PTFE is expensive. You can expect to pay over $100 for an 8 oz. spool of PTFE thread that has approximately 5,700 ft. of thread.

If your canvas (Sunbrella) covers are failing it is probably because the PO did NOT use PTFE thread. Sailrite stocks a wide variety of thread, in a range of colors, in a variety of materials ... with a wide range of prices. Thus he could have easily order the "wrong" thread from Sailrite. An 8 oz. spool of sandstone Tenera costs $129 when ordered from Sailrite, while a 4 oz. spool of a garden variety tan polyester thread will cost less than $15.00. I gladly pay the higher price for the PTFE thread because I do not like having to repair/re-stitch canvas when the stitching fails. I prefer to do it right the first time.
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Old 22-05-2014, 13:18   #7
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

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Originally Posted by egodsey View Post
As several folks have already mentioned, because of its resistance to UV and weathering, Tenera thread from Gore is an excellent choice for outdoor canvas projects. But Gore is just one manufacturer of PTFE thread. At one time Coats manufactured a PTFE thread which they marketed under the name Profilen. And more recently they are marketing a PTFE thread under the Helios name.

You specifically asked for experiential-based suggestions. I have had good results (in Austin, TX) with both Gore Tenera thread and Coats Profilen thread. I have used them to sew a new bimini, new winch covers, a tiller cover, hatch covers, etc. ... all from Sunbrella. I find the Gore Tenera a bit easier to work with than the Coats Profilen, but both require close attention to bobbin tension. After years of exposure I cannot tell any difference between the Tenera and the Profilen. (I have no experience with Coats Helios thread.)

The key to the threads resistance to UV exposure is the PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) material. Unfortunately PTFE is expensive. You can expect to pay over $100 for an 8 oz. spool of PTFE thread that has approximately 5,700 ft. of thread.

If your canvas (Sunbrella) covers are failing it is probably because the PO did NOT use PTFE thread. Sailrite stocks a wide variety of thread, in a range of colors, in a variety of materials ... with a wide range of prices. Thus he could have easily order the "wrong" thread from Sailrite. An 8 oz. spool of sandstone Tenera costs $129 when ordered from Sailrite, while a 4 oz. spool of a garden variety tan polyester thread will cost less than $15.00. I gladly pay the higher price for the PTFE thread because I do not like having to repair/re-stitch canvas when the stitching fails. I prefer to do it right the first time.
Excellent information, thank you! I think i'll give the Tenera a shot. You're right through - I'd have happily paid $100 extra for the right thread to not have to do this again.
The upside is that the PO did not use Strataglass for equivalent for the dodger's windows. I was washing them with a sponge the other day and my hand went straight through! The joy! At least I get to do it right this time.
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Old 22-05-2014, 15:06   #8
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

We just replaced our old dodger and used O'Sea instead of Strataglass. It is more flexible, easier to work with (sewing) and overall seems better than the Strataglass we replaced. We need the windows to have flexibility. If you do not, I would recommend Makrolon instead.

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Old 22-05-2014, 15:34   #9
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

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We just replaced our old dodger and used O'Sea instead of Strataglass. It is more flexible, easier to work with (sewing) and overall seems better than the Strataglass we replaced. We need the windows to have flexibility. If you do not, I would recommend Makrolon instead.

Mark
+1

I've been doing some side-by-side testing and found the same things. It is much less prone to scratching when rolled, significantly because the sources are less. It handles chemicals as well, and UV testing is on-going.
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Old 22-05-2014, 15:38   #10
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

Tenera is not going to help where high-strength hand stitching twine is needed. Waxed polyester does fairly well in the sun, and I've restitiched many things with #4 whipping twine and never had a failure, even after 10 years.

With small thread--Tenera.

Hand stitching--waxed polyester #4 or greater (the number is the dia in mm for some brands, but some use other systems. #4 is 40-pound test).
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Old 22-05-2014, 16:18   #11
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

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It is much less prone to scratching when rolled, significantly because the sources are less.
I understand the first part of this sentence, but not the second? What are sources, and why is "significantly" used that way?

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Old 22-05-2014, 16:30   #12
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

You will probably get 10 years of use from non-PTFE thread before it degrades. When making a new external canvas item I would usually use PTFE (unless it is very easy to re-stitch or not subject to UV degradation). It is expensive and difficult to use - especially the translucent one. If your canvas is already more than 10 years into it's lifespan, it may be easier and cheaper to use any good quality thread the PO has left onboard.
Cheers Marie
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Old 22-05-2014, 17:02   #13
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

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I understand the first part of this sentence, but not the second? What are sources, and why is "significantly" used that way?

Mark
Bad typing. Forces. Because it is easier to roll, there is less force rubbing the layers together. Sorry.
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Old 22-05-2014, 17:41   #14
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

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Originally Posted by Kindred Spirits View Post
You will probably get 10 years of use from non-PTFE thread before it degrades. When making a new external canvas item I would usually use PTFE (unless it is very easy to re-stitch or not subject to UV degradation). It is expensive and difficult to use - especially the translucent one. If your canvas is already more than 10 years into it's lifespan, it may be easier and cheaper to use any good quality thread the PO has left onboard.
Cheers Marie
In the Caribbean, V92 polyester thread lasts 2-3yrs max. Goretex makes a coated thread now that is much easier to use than before.

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Old 22-05-2014, 17:43   #15
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Re: Optimum Sunbrella thread type

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Bad typing. Forces. Because it is easier to roll, there is less force rubbing the layers together. Sorry.
No prob - I tend to be a literal person and miss a lot of slang or subtlety. I'm happy to see that this was actually a spelling mistake!

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