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Old 31-10-2016, 16:00   #1
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Making A Mattress

When I was at the boat show">Annapolis boat show, I talked to a couple of vendors who sold really good marine mattresses (which could be customized). To say the prices were completely ridiculous is an understatement.

As I looked at the cross section of the mattresses, Most of them seemed like they were just foam, of different density and softness, layered on top of each other. Then, of course, they were covered. Foam is relatively cheap.. So, couldn't you just buy the foam, and cover it?

Anyone do this?
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Old 31-10-2016, 16:22   #2
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Re: Making A Mattress

Yes, we have done it.

Try to get commercial hotel grade foam. It still is not as good as a proper custom made innerspring mattress. They only go about 4 yrs. in everyday use. You can cover them with anything. I usually run a zipper or two in the vertical panel from near the foot to the center of the head, to make it easier to remove for washing, and keep the fabric taut. Do not cheap out and use sheet material, you need a presentable light weight cotton, pre-shrunk, or even upholstery material. Your choice. It will depend partly on whether the bed is made up all the time, or if you like to leave it with just the covered cushion, and it wants to match a particular decor. If you're already a seamstress, it is an easy job. [We have a friend who used to re-do all her cushions every 3 or 4 years, in fabrics typical of the areas they visited.]

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Old 31-10-2016, 16:26   #3
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Re: Making A Mattress

Yep, I have the original mattresses which are foam and I have a piece of non-covered foam (about 2"+ thick). I find it very comfortable, very cheap with no need to replace it.
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Old 31-10-2016, 16:49   #4
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Re: Making A Mattress

We haven't done it yet but our idea is to buy a premade foam mattress at Costco and cut it to fit with a hot knife. Cover as suggested by Ann. This will work for us as our marine "double" is a few inches narrower than a true double size. Thankfully we like each other!
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Old 31-10-2016, 17:11   #5
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Re: Making A Mattress

You can make quite nice mattresses from foam. And even have a few layers of differing densities. Usually they're simply glued together, prior to cutting the mattress's foam down to it's final size.
That way they're essentially thin versions of a Temperpedic mattress. But you'll need to use foams which are of a higher density than your mattress at home due to this (svelteness) in order to prevent bottoming out when you lay on them.

Use an electric carving knife to cut the foam to size, including it's angles so that it properly fits into the berth onboard. And the old foam serves as a good measuring guide for this, both dimensionally & angle wise.

One thing to consider when selecting foam, is it's propensity for absorbing moisture. As nowadays there are a lot of foam choices, & some of them are self-draining. While others are akin to wrestling mats, & you'll wake up in puddles if you're sweating much or they get wet. There's some discusson on the various types in one of the Project Atticus videos on Youtube, amongst other places. http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=...ideo&FORM=VDRE

Also, I'm guessing that there are anti-microbial foams out there. A treatment for foam & clothing which prevents it from growing bacteria which causes things to smell after a bit of time.

As to covers, I prefer to use Velcro instead of zippers to secure them shut. Since along with being easy to install, you can use it to re-tension the cover if anything on the cover or with the foam changes size/shape slightly. And it's also what's used to secure the connecting flap between the two sections of a V-berth/Queen sized mattress together. As such mattresses are made in two sections so that you can install a lee cloth/divider in between them for at sea use, or to compartmentalize gear storage on the bunk top.

Note that sometimes it pays to install the Velcro on two flaps in a double overlapping manner, akin to how surfboard leash cuffs are secured. It's cheap insurance for making sure that the covers stay securely in place.

Also, there is a helpful, sewing sub-forum here on CF if you go to the tab which says "Community", & look through the list of options which it gives you. Click on where it says "Groups", & select "All Groups". That, or click here http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...+projects.html
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Old 31-10-2016, 17:16   #6
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Re: Making A Mattress

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Originally Posted by Sea Dreaming View Post
We haven't done it yet but our idea is to buy a premade foam mattress at Costco and cut it to fit with a hot knife. Cover as suggested by Ann. This will work for us as our marine "double" is a few inches narrower than a true double size. Thankfully we like each other!
Don't use a hot knife to cut foam... it would be a disaster! A very s harp kitchen knife, or better an electric carving knife will do a fine job.

We've had poorish luck with DIY foam mattresses, finding that even buying the best foam locally available here in Oz they only last a couple of years. Was told by the last vendor I dealt with that foam does not do well when directly on a hard surface, like most marine berths provide. He would not allow the normal warranty (5 years) unless it was used over a household type spring base. I don't know how to best deal with this. In earlier years, foam was much longer lasting, but apparently rules about the blowing gasses and/or the foam polymers themselves have drastically reduced lifetime in service... something about fire safety and environmental impact, but not real clear from his explanation.

Grump.

Jim
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Old 31-10-2016, 17:39   #7
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Re: Making A Mattress

There are lots of foam mattresses available online that are serious beds (Purple, etc.) that could be cut into whatever shape, and they are reasonably priced.
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Old 31-10-2016, 17:39   #8
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Re: Making A Mattress

I can't remember the names but on YouTube, Project Atticus, she does a whole section on foam for mattresses and cushions and coverings.
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Old 31-10-2016, 17:43   #9
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Re: Making A Mattress

Memory foam mattress toppers can be had from places like Walmart for pretty reasonable prices. Bond to higher density foam with 3M Super 77 spray adhesive to achieve Tempurpedic effect.

Agree with serrated and/or electric carving knife to do the cutting rather than hot knife. Might be worth a trip to a second hand thrift store to find a better quality old one since the last new one I bought was a total POS that broke before the job was finished.

Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.
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Old 31-10-2016, 17:44   #10
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Re: Making A Mattress

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Don't use a hot knife to cut foam... it would be a disaster! A very s harp kitchen knife, or better an electric carving knife will do a fine job.

We've had poorish luck with DIY foam mattresses, finding that even buying the best foam locally available here in Oz they only last a couple of years. Was told by the last vendor I dealt with that foam does not do well when directly on a hard surface, like most marine berths provide. He would not allow the normal warranty (5 years) unless it was used over a household type spring base. I don't know how to best deal with this. In earlier years, foam was much longer lasting, but apparently rules about the blowing gasses and/or the foam polymers themselves have drastically reduced lifetime in service... something about fire safety and environmental impact, but not real clear from his explanation.

Grump.

Jim
No hint as to what "disaster " entails?
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Old 31-10-2016, 17:46   #11
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Re: Making A Mattress

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No hint as to what "disaster " entails?
Melts onto the knife?
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Old 31-10-2016, 17:52   #12
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Re: Making A Mattress

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No hint as to what "disaster " entails?
Quote:
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Melts onto the knife?
Melting is just one thing. The cut edge would be ragged and crusty with solidified plastic, it would be pretty slow, and most importantly, many foams when heated emit quite toxic fumes.

Other than those drawbacks, it is a hell of a good idea....... (not)

Jim
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Old 31-10-2016, 17:54   #13
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Re: Making A Mattress

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Melting is just one thing. The cut edge would be ragged and crusty with solidified plastic, it would be pretty slow, and most importantly, many foams when heated emit quite toxic fumes.

Other than those drawbacks, it is a hell of a good idea....... (not)

Jim
Hey now, sarcasm does not become you. No "dumb questions" right?
Thanks for filling me in.
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Old 31-10-2016, 17:56   #14
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Re: Making A Mattress

Ikea has very affordable good quality synthetic and natural latex mattresses. Cut with hacksaw. They also have good water resistant mattress liner/covers that you can use.
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Old 31-10-2016, 18:08   #15
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Re: Making A Mattress

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Melting is just one thing. The cut edge would be ragged and crusty with solidified plastic, it would be pretty slow, and most importantly, many foams when heated emit quite toxic fumes.

Other than those drawbacks, it is a hell of a good idea....... (not)

Jim
Jim's 100% correct on this! Avoid it unless you're both up for some trial & error in cutting. And also know the risks involved, & the precautions to take for them.
Usually hot wire cutting is saved for shaping structural foams used in building certain custom, or semi-custom composite parts.

For some of us these things (hazards included) are such common knowledge that they almost go without mentioning, & when they are covered, the why behind them gets left out. Again, as it's presumed to be known.


One other tip on foam cutting. Is that it tends to be much easier to cut it precisely if it's frozen. Most types don't stay frozen for long, but it stiffens them up a good bit so that it's easier to cut some of the more finicky varieties.

And if you don't have a gigantic freezer, you can sometimes spot freeze things. Such as foam's edges. Be it with proprietary agents, chunks of dry ice, or blasts from a scuba tank.
Again, use an electric carving knife.
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