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Old 23-01-2013, 23:23   #1
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Sunbrella Help

Looking to venture into sewing - we have a lot of canvas in need of TLC: repairing and replacing existing covers and possibly reworking our bimini. Sunbrella seems to come in two weights: "Drapery, Marine Upholstery, Umbrella, Upholstery" vs. "Awning, Marine Exterior". I'm assuming the heavier weight is used for marine covers.

What fabric would you suggest for sail covers, toerail covers, winch covers, dodger and bimini? Any trick to telling what might have been used on the boat? I'm assuming I want the heavier material everywhere?

Any particular thread specifications, can this be purchased at a local sewing shop, or is the thread specific to Sunbrella?

What about the leather trim pieces? Anything special and where to purchase?

Thanks - we'll see how far I get with sewing!
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Old 23-01-2013, 23:34   #2
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Re: Sunbrella Help

Further research on Sunbrella's site found this,
Above Deck:
We recommend Sunbrella marine fabric for biminis, dodgers, enclosures and sail covers. These fabrics are engineered to withstand the onslaught of the sun, wind, rain and even saltwater spray. Another option above deck is Sunbrella Plus, which has a durable polyurethane undercoating for superior water resistance. It’s available in our 13 best-selling marine solid colors in 60-inch widths. Sunbrella Plus is ideal for flatter applications where water may collect. For an elegant look combined with greater water repellency, you may want to consider Sunbrella Supreme. Sunbrella Supreme is constructed by fusing standard Sunbrella marine fabrics as the face to Sunbrella flocking on the reverse side in linen, black or navy. The result is a waterproof fabric with an upscale look.
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Old 23-01-2013, 23:40   #3
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Re: Sunbrella Help

Don, I suggest that you look at the Sailrite website. These folks are in the business of helping amateur canvas workers/sailmakers into their projects, and are a source (not always the most economical one) for most of the things you could possibly need.

And you might do a search here on CF. There was a recent thread comparing a newer material called Weathermax to Sunbrella. We've used it and like it.

Cheers,

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Old 24-01-2013, 03:24   #4
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Re: Sunbrella Help

This site has a wealth of information written by sewing professionals around the world. Thread, patterning,machine info, construction techniques and product reviews abound.



</title> <title>Upholstery Forum, Upholstery Discussion Board Blog

For buying fabrics and notions at wholesale prices check out, their prices are competitive with suppliers I set up a commercial account with.

Rochfordsupply.com
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Old 24-01-2013, 03:28   #5
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Re: Sunbrella Help

Oh and for thread spring for teflon thread like tenara or solara. Its costly but you will not have to restitch, ever.
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Old 24-01-2013, 05:26   #6
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Re: Sunbrella Help

I just made a new Bimini, using Sunbrella Plus. Besides the extra waterproofness the heavier coating makes it easier to work with and sew, with much less fraying on the edges. I used the needle and thread sizes/types recommended by Sailrite. It came out great at a fraction of the cost.
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Old 24-01-2013, 05:53   #7
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Re: Sunbrella Help

I 2nd the use of Tenera Thread. It will last longer that whatever you sew with it.
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Old 24-01-2013, 06:05   #8
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Re: Sunbrella Help

Hi,

I would use 'lighter' material and 'heavier' thread (all within reason sure). I found the stitches to go first while the fabric to last 'forever'. Thicker (best UV treated) thread seems to last longer than a fine, untreated one.

BTW some colors seem to fade sooner. Our blues are still blue while our lemons are sorta vanilla cream. Look at what others used and how it lasts then buy your stuff.

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Old 24-01-2013, 06:47   #9
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Re: Sunbrella Help

Biased I am, but a good shop nevertheless. Jean is infinitely patient, and there are good tips right at the website
Sunbrella, Marine Canvas, Fabrics, Hardware and Supplies - Sailmaker's Supply


Here's a good site for tips on needle and thread combinations. Scroll down to second page
http://banner-flag.bainbridgeint.com...ls_133_150.pdf


Second the above-mentioned upholstery forum
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Old 24-01-2013, 07:35   #10
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I have started using weathermax 80. This stuff is amazing. Just google it. The specs and tests say it all. I just looked at a project that was done two years ago that it in the kimberlys AUS. The boat top is outside 24/7, 365 Days a year. No fading stretching. You can get this stuff for about $14.00 a yard. Just google it.
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Old 24-01-2013, 07:46   #11
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Re: Sunbrella Help

Skip the "UV-treated" or "UV resistant" thread and go with PTFE thread that is impervious to UV deterioration. As some have mentioned Gore's Tenara is one option, my favorite thread to use is SolarFix PTFE from Quality Thread and Notions Co.

As someone already mentioned Rochford Supply, Sailrite, Sailmaker's Supply, and South Star Supply are good sources of the things that you will need. A few things to keep in mind when tracking down what you are looking for:

- There are only a few sites which offer this stuff to the public so take the time to check prices on each one if you are looking for a good price, sometimes one place will have the best price on one thing but be the most expensive on everything else. Of course you'll have to be careful to make sure that added shipping costs aren't eliminating your "best price" margin of ordering from the other shop.

- Don't go crazy ordering super-expensive scissors from a "marine sewing supply" shop if you aren't going to make this a career (and maybe even if you are). I have great-quality (and expensive) KAI scissors in my shop but I also have several $5 pairs of teflon coated scissors from Home Depot that I use for 90% of the cutting that I do. The KAI's get reserved for specific material cutting needs and if I wasn't doing this as a business I would not have them.

- The Marine Sunbrella is your best bet for most of the projects that you mentioned unless you want to try some of the other products out there such as Weathermax. The trade-off for fabrics such as Sunbrella Plus (with a polyurethane coating on the underside) is that the fabric loses the breathability that is a huge plus of Sunbrella. Sunbrella Plus would be a good choice for a bimini (although I would go even further and use Seamark by Haartz) because it doesn't need to be as breathable. For a dodger or a cover such as a sailcover the build-up of condensation, when combined with a small amount of dirt, will create the ideal growing conditions for mold and mildew (we've all seen those gross green-stained sails that were kept under the sail-cover that didn't breathe).

- Don't skimp on the closures/fasteners: Sometimes when you're doing your own canvas work it seems like such a waste to buy the tool to close or attach whatever fitting you would normally have chosen, so it is tempting to choose a less-suitable fastener that is cheaper to attach. Don't do it. By skimping on the fasteners you are going to place the entire canvas project at risk of becoming a waste of effort much sooner than you might imagine. If you don't want to buy the tool then buy the fasteners and see if your local canvas shop will put them on for you.

- Grommets - Spur grommets only, period. If the grommet might at any point be under a bit of tension spur grommets are the only thing you should use. Unfortunately spur grommets cannot be set by the same die as a rolled-rim (or regular) grommet.

The list could go on and on but that's good enough for now...
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Old 24-01-2013, 08:14   #12
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Re: Sunbrella Help

For biminis, dodgers and sail covers the Sunbrella to choose is the 9.8 ounce marine.

The Tendra thread is great but cost $100 a spool and is difficult to use as you may have to reset the adjustments on your machine frequently to keep from skipping stitches. Alternately, V-90 is the recommended thread and a good choice but generally not available in retail stores.Use a #18 or #20 needle with the V90.

It's best to use black thread and avoid white or colored thread as these deteriorate rapidly in the sun. Yes, it's tempting to match thread color to the canvas but it will fade fast. Same goes for zippers - use the #10 in black, as the white zippers have about half the lifespan in the (Florida) sun.

I have no affiliation with Sailrite other than being a frequent customer, but heartily recommend them for "one stop shopping", fast shipping and excellent customer service. Yes you can find slightly better prices elsewhere but you'll not find better selection, service and support. You'll also find they have videos on just about any project you would want to undertake

Doing your own canvas work is rewarding and saves you thousands. Our first project years ago was a 10' X 12' Bimini, which was quoted at $1200.00. We bought a Sailrite LSZ and all materials for about the same price and ended up with a great bimini and the machine!

That machine has paid for itself 10 times over in four years just doing projects for friends. It has also made us good friends while cruising, repairing damaged sails and canvas.

One last word...... Other than a few ancient heavy duty Singers, a home sewing machine is simply not up to the task of boat canvas work such as poking through three layers of Sunbrella fabric. The Sailrite LSZ is the gold standard, but if you want to save money Defender sells the "Reliable Barracuda" for about $500 (not as well made, no customer support and no case)
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Old 24-01-2013, 08:18   #13
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Re: Sunbrella Help

Quote:
The Tendra thread is great but cost $100 a spool and is difficult to use as you may have to reset the adjustments on your machine frequently to keep from skipping stitches. Alternately, V-90 is the recommended thread and a good choice but generally not available in retail stores.Use a #18 or #20 needle with the V90.
Tenara has improved in its usability but the SolarFix PTFE that I mentioned is actually easier to use than Bonded Polyester.

If you must go with polyester thread then choose V-138 (not V-92) if the project will be under any tension.
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Old 24-01-2013, 08:26   #14
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Re: Sunbrella Help

...I should mention that the Pfaff 130, which is a "home" machine, makes a fine canvas repair machine. You can find these for 2-500 bucks. Pfaff 138 is even better with its longer throat area but it is 'industrial', they're a little more expensive. Neither option will cost you anywhere near what the Sailrite machine does.

There actually are a good number of old sewing machines out there which do the job. Search these very forums for previous discussion.


I will reiterate my suggestion to look at needle and thread combinations as suggested in the Bainbridge catalog link above. So much difficulty in sewing is solved by a proper needle and thread combo...


oops, almost forgot these guys
http://marinefabricatormag.com
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Old 24-01-2013, 08:29   #15
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Re: Sunbrella Help

i have some of the 'rubberized" sunbrella for mast boots--loving it and want more for rain cover for summers here in pair a dice...

do NOT use cotton or polyester threads..they do not last more than 2-3 yrs here in sunville...
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