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Old 25-04-2020, 15:51   #1
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Anyone tried wool upholstery?

I may be biased (I've been completely addicted to Smartwool/Ibex/Icebreaker/Woolx for the last decade or so), but I'm looking for an upholstery fabric for my interior cushions. Wool wicks well, sheds water a bit (especially if you add a little lanolin when you wash it), it resists stains far better than cotton (although I assume not as well as some synthetics?), it takes 20 times longer to get stinky than the synthetics I'm used to, it dries pretty fast, it feels dry and warm even if it's a little bit moist... I'd hazard a guess that it resists mildew better than plant fibres. Modern washable merinos don't itch and don't shrink.

I don't like plastics, especially flexible ones that will degrade and release microplastic dust. I don't like fire retardants. I'm a huge hypocrite because my boat and sails and probably cushions are all plastic, but...

Searching for "wool upholstery" turns up plenty of results. "wool marine upholstery"... nothing. Why not? Why is it a bad choice on cushions? Is it simply that nobody markets wool to sailors because "everybody knows Sunbrella is best"?

Thanks!
-Ben
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Old 25-04-2020, 15:53   #2
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

I don’t think any natural fabric will do as well on a boat, but wool would likely do better than most.
My dry suit was lined with Merino wool and worked well, and wool was the best fabric for cold and wet before synthetics, so maybe?
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Old 25-04-2020, 16:06   #3
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

We have leather. It's been good so far, 17 yrs.

Ann
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Old 26-04-2020, 06:09   #4
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

Unfortunately, because wool absorbs salt water, it means that once it gets salty, it would always be wet. Ugh.

The one thing that I think we'd all agree upon is: nothing salty belowdecks! You only have to do one passage with everything damp because of salt in everything - and you never do it again.

It's also why Irish fisherman love wool sweaters - even when wet, they still keep you warm. That wouldn't be much of a useful quality for seat cushions, though...

Hope this is helpful,
Warmly,
LittleWing77

Scarlet had a long thread about choosing fabric for her seatcushions. Lots of good info:

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...uy-225732.html
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Old 26-04-2020, 07:37   #5
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Ben.


Quote:
... Searching for "wool upholstery" turns up plenty of results. "wool marine upholstery"... nothing...

Marine Wool Upholstery Fabric ➥ https://www.modern-fabrics.com/brows...%20fabric.html

Why "Marine"? ➥ https://www.totofabrics.com/collecti...olstery-fabric
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Old 26-04-2020, 09:36   #6
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

I can't imagine.
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Old 26-04-2020, 10:21   #7
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

We love wool too and for all the same reasons.
We reupholstered with Brisa but the wool Gord pointed out looks interesting for throw pillows.
I don't think there would be a problem with wool upholstery getting damp. I haven't seen any problem with merino wool when it gets splashed with salt water but sure have seen it with cotton.
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Old 26-04-2020, 11:34   #8
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

i thought wool was naturally moisture resistant. how would it absorb salt? the wool rugs are certainly serviceable in humid areas. seems like marino wool would be as good as anything else. looks to have a good selection out there.
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Old 26-04-2020, 12:03   #9
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Ben.
Thank you! Glad to be (hopefully) about to enter your ranks for real

I did see that first one. My interpretation was that "Marine" referred to a colour, not anything about application. Did I misread? Do you have thoughts on the application?

Digging deeper from your links led me to this 100% wool in dark charcoal, which I think would look fine. I haven't done any upholstery: 475 g/m^2 is a nice warm stout shirt, but is it good in upholstery-world? This is not merino, and not treated for careless washability, but I think/hope I know how to wash wool (finally; too many fine sweaters were donated to small friends in exchange for this secret art).

https://www.modern-fabrics.com/steel...kohl-3136.html
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Old 26-04-2020, 19:39   #10
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

Hi Fugue 137--
My 1980 C & C 40 (the boat was actually built in 1979 but was sold as a 1980 model), built in Hamilton, Canada had (still has) grayblue wool upholstery. I had the boat 21 years and sold it 2 years ago to a wonderful family with whom I have enjoyed and still enjoy sailing with up in the Pacific Northwest. It is the original upholstery on her and still is in very fine condition! No holes, no stains, no fading, perfectly firm with no wrinkles at all and fine looking. While I owned her, two times I did thorough washing of all of the upholstery with commercial high grade upholstery cleaner, lots of water for rinsing, a shopvac for drawing the water out of the upholstered cushions, dried on a hot summer day on the boat deck in So Cal, and then stood the cushions up at night down below in the boat with the dehumidifier to finish drying them thoroughly. Then, I sprayed the cushions with a mold/mildew retardant and let dry. They always smelled fresh and stayed clean. They still are doing just fine. 40 years!
Who would think that wool would be such a great choice for upholstery on a boat? If you are going to go cruising extensively in humid tropical places, you might consider taking the upholstery off the boat and getting temporary closed foam covered in Sunbrella. Otherwise, the wool is fabulous!
It must be high grade wool fabric.
I hope this helps.
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Old 27-04-2020, 01:15   #11
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

My experience confirms Wool is a great material. I higly recommenced a good quality wool textile. When I rebuilt Skoiern in 1994 I had all of the berths and settee covered in wool, till this day there is little wear, I can see getting another 10 years out of my wool coverings. More over Wool is fire retardant.



Quote:
Originally Posted by fugue137 View Post
I may be biased (I've been completely addicted to Smartwool/Ibex/Icebreaker/Woolx for the last decade or so), but I'm looking for an upholstery fabric for my interior cushions. Wool wicks well, sheds water a bit (especially if you add a little lanolin when you wash it), it resists stains far better than cotton (although I assume not as well as some synthetics?), it takes 20 times longer to get stinky than the synthetics I'm used to, it dries pretty fast, it feels dry and warm even if it's a little bit moist... I'd hazard a guess that it resists mildew better than plant fibres. Modern washable merinos don't itch and don't shrink.

I don't like plastics, especially flexible ones that will degrade and release microplastic dust. I don't like fire retardants. I'm a huge hypocrite because my boat and sails and probably cushions are all plastic, but...

Searching for "wool upholstery" turns up plenty of results. "wool marine upholstery"... nothing. Why not? Why is it a bad choice on cushions? Is it simply that nobody markets wool to sailors because "everybody knows Sunbrella is best"?

Thanks!
-Ben
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Old 27-04-2020, 04:05   #12
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

Had wool upholtery fabric on last yacht - 25+years, still going strong.
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Old 27-04-2020, 09:09   #13
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

as a professional carpet and Upholstery cleaner for 40 years. My thoughts.
Wool is very warm fiber. it can be somewhat resistant to staining, However when a greasy, as in oil based attaches to a wool fibe forget about getting it out. Wool does clean very well although it needs a lot of water based cleaner to properly solubilize the stain. It does dry reasonably fast. The comment that one captain stated is that if salt water where to get on the fabric the salt will almost never be able to be removed. yes the material would dry but the salt stays behind and will attract more moisture,. Would almost always be slightly wet to the touch. also wool is very sensitive to any ph cleaner over 7.5 on the ph scale. Meaning most of the otc cleaners out there. The higher ph will strip out the natural oils that give wool the soft hand. When wool is wet for a prolonged time it will most certainly self destruct.
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Old 16-05-2020, 07:47   #14
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

For all those people who say it can't work, in our sleeping cabins, we have wool carpeting that is factory original to our boat.

It has been around the world--twice and full time liveaboard. No mold, no mildew, looks (almost) like new. The only issue is the rubber backing is starting to degrade.

It might depend on wether you have a "dry" boat or not. In our travels we have seen an awful lot of people tolerate boats that leak. We don't. If there is ever a leak, we run it down and fix it.
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Old 28-05-2020, 10:15   #15
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Re: Anyone tried wool upholstery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewpollard View Post
Itís a pretty heavyweight product that weighs around 28 ounces per yard and has a thickness of 0.95mm.
Sounds hot, sweaty and stiff for inside the boat.
I definitely prefer something that breathes.
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