Custom Canvas & Upholstery

Work done by Bambi’s Boatworks & Canvas goes far beyond sewing canvas covers. It can involve working on a fishing vessel, military vessel, pleasure craft, airplane, condo/house or storefront. The projects can range from a complete gutting of the interior of a boat and rebuilding from the hull liner up to fabricating an enclosure for a sailing vessel, which takes into consideration the multiple systems and need for comfort. The range of requirements can run from new wood trim and panels to new fasteners and embroidered upholstered seating. The determination and interpretation of what each client needs involves sitting down with them to find out why they might want something in particular, make sure it’s what they want, then find out the best way to accomplish a quality job using the best of proven materials.

Even the smallest task can take lengthy conversations to make sure the end product meets the clients expectations. Sometimes, drawing pictures is necessary in order to clarify an understanding. What has to be determined is what is the purpose of the project, how is the area involved used, what are the clients preferences regarding colors and textures of the fabric, etc. When machinery is involved it has to be researched in order to make sure the client has access to specific areas without completely removing the canvas. There has to be a close inspection of all areas to determine where reinforcement might be required in order to prevent chafing of the canvas. Some canvas covers require a zipper break  to make the installation of the cover easier.

There is a variety of fabrics available in the marine industry. There might be four types of fabrics that are good for fabricating enclosures, but each is more conducive to a specific type of vessel. For example, when designing an enclosure for a charter fishing boat, a vinyl encapsulated mesh that has a nice look and is easily cleaned is the best choice.  But for a cruising sailboat, Sunbrella Canvas is best suited for the dodgers, bimini tops and enclosures.

What cloth would you recommend for a boat cover?

The cloth recommended for all boats in the Florida climate is one that breathes. The most common is Sunbrella Canvas made by Glen Ravens. It is a solution dyed acrylic which comes in many colors. Glen Ravens warranties the canvas for 10 years.

What is the best foam to use for my cushions?

The type of foam recommended is determined by the project. The best foam to use for exterior cushions is a layer of at least 1 inch of Dri-Fast foam then topped with whatever thickness of a high resiliency foam you want. The Dri-Fast foam is porous and allows air to be pulled up into the top foam for quicker drying, which will make your upholstery and cushions last longer because when the foam doesn't dry out quick enough, mildew and algae grows, eating away at the foam and cloth.

What type of thread do you recommend for exterior canvas and enclosures?

The thread I use and recommend is Tenara Thread made by Gortex. It is guaranteed not to rot, which more than pays for itself since the cost of the thread is pennies compared to the cost of paying for a restitch of your canvas 4 – 5 years from the date of fabrication.

What is the recommended way to care for my vinyl cushions?

To keep your vinyl cushions protected from the harsh environment, you should keep cushions as dry as possible, clean them with a mild detergent and then apply a vinyl protectant. There are many products available including vinyl cleaner/protectant in one.

What is the recommended way to take care of my canvas?

The following link will take you to the site for Sunbrella where you will find answers to all your cleaning questions for canvas.

What clear vinyl do you recommend for using in Enclosures?

The clear vinyl I recommend and use is Strataglass Clear Vinyl, typically the 40 mil version. This clear vinyl has a very nice clarity along with some UV protection. It holds up as long as its competitors and is manufactured in Florida.