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Old 10-23-2017, 07:29 PM   #1
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New Cushions Question

Not sure where to post this so will throw it in here. I am getting new cushions for the flybridge on my GB 42. All of my reading in here says to get Tenara thread. Whatever you do..get Tenara thread. More expensive but well worth. I don't think I have seen anything but that thought. However, in talking to the lady I have chosen to make them she says that With Tenara thread if one stitch comes out the whole thing unravels. She says that the average life span for cushions is 5 years depending on how much sun and elements they are exposed to. She uses "heavy 138 marine thread on all of our projects, most manufacturers and other canvas shops only use 69 or 92."

Does this sound right re: the thread? I don't know anything about "heavy 138 thread". Tenara is $90 more but not worried about that. HAve never read anything about Tenara unraveling.

Also, 5 year cushion life seems very short to me. Maybe with an open ski boat or out in the cockpit exposed. Ours will be under a bimini 99% of the time and either stowed below or totally covered with a sunbrella helm/dash and seating cover when in the slip. I hope I get more than 5 years out of them.

Any comments appreciated because I am sort of flying blind on this purchase.
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:50 PM   #2
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Can't comment on the thread. Cushion life is directly dependent on the care or lack of care they're given. Leave them out for 5 years in the Fl sun and they're probably pretty spent. I can hear that customer coming back to complain. Everything else extends the life. Your's will last far longer as you will take care of them.

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Old 10-23-2017, 08:10 PM   #3
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Why would Tenara thread unravel but not polyester? Maybe because it’s more slippery but why would it break initially? We’ve had a bimini and a cockpit cover made with Tenara at no additional cost. She’s right a 1/4 lb spool is around $90 but that gets you a 1000 plus yards. How much is that in the project? I would not use anything else. We’ve restiched cushions and covers after 3 years in tropical sun using polyester thread. Sorry for the rant but I’d find another vender or talk to others. Maybe because no stiching is exposed? But like Ted, a 5 year life span seems short.
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Old 10-23-2017, 09:14 PM   #4
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Tenara and sunbrella is a great combination. Tenara is very slippery, very strong and will out live any other thread type. It is however totally over kill for most materials. In fact many materials will shred during the sewing process with tenara. Tenara probably has a longer uv life than sunbrella.

138 Marine thread is also great stuff. This is the most commonly used thread for canvas. It might not live as long as sunbrella but it will out live clear vinyl or stratoglas/eisenglass.

I can sure see why people want bimini’s And sail covers made with Tamara. Maybe even a dodger.

If you are making your cushions out of sunbrella and you live in the tropics and you will leave these cushions out side all the time, then spec tenara, otherwise 138 is probably fine.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:33 PM   #5
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I would have the cushions made from some type of Sunbrella with (absolutely) Tenara thread. The Tenara thread is rated for the life of the fabric. If you live in Seattle maybe it doesn't matter what material and thread you use, but if you live somewhere there is a lot of UV, it does matter. We used to live in Arizona and the poly threads lasted about 2 to 2.5 years and the they just disintegrated. They would absolutely not last as long as the canvas and clear vinyls. Tenara is a bit harder to sew with as it is slippery. A lot of fabricators do not want to try it. I would find a fabricator that will do what you want. Sunbrella should last about 7 years in a tropical climate, more if it is under cover. Why would you sew with thread that has less than half of the life of the fabric??? I sew with only Tenara. It does cost about $115 per spool, but most projects only use a small part of the spool. When you figure in the cost of reseweing any project, Tenara is the best bargain you can get.
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Old 10-24-2017, 06:35 AM   #6
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Thanks for the comments. Still going back and forth on sunbrella or vinyl for all the well known reasons. Was originally planning on Sunbrella. Navy blue/white-cream stripes on verticals and solid navy seats. Was told the navy would be hot in the sun and I would need to sit on a towel. However, with the flybridge covered with a bimini I don't think that would be true. Any experience with that? Vinyl is...vinyl and OK but could be sticky at times.

$90 for Tenara seemed very high to me for this small job. Only covering two bench seats providing front and rear seating. Typical trawler flybridge, total of 8 cushions from 6 yards of fabric and 3 yards Textilene bottoms. Well known canvas shop in the West Palm area though. Total price using Sunbrella and Tenara is $1,760. Haven't had them price out vinyl yet as my wife just flipped on it as she is worried about grandkid spills, wine, etc on the Sunbrella.

Here is the quote $1,671 total without the $90 for Tenara. I didn't think the cost was outrageous but she threw me off with the Tenara comment and price. Now I am wondering if I should get another quote. Seems I would be paying for Tenara for my project and the next 10 customer projects as well.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:18 AM   #7
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The only shops I've dealt with that say Tenara is bad is ones with machines not set up for it or they don't like/know how to sew with it. I'd look for another upholsterer.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:27 AM   #8
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I know this sounds crazy but a fellow boater here in Florida had his fly bridge cushions looking awful. Black stains and all. He found a “paint” and painted them. They now look brand new. It is some kind of vinyl paint.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:28 AM   #9
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Thanks. She didn't say Tenara was bad. In fact she said it was a great thread with the only disadvantage being the unraveling which I have never heard. She just thought it was overkill for the cushions given a life span of 5 years. Said that the heavy 138 thread was more than adequate. She did not do the initial measurements or look at the placement onboard so I think she is assuming that they will be out in the elements more than they will be. that should increase the life span dramatically and (to me) make the Tenara thread a better choice. Honestly, my issue with the discussion on the thread isn't about the use but the $90 cost. Just seems excessive.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:38 AM   #10
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I asked Lena what she thought of the cost. She does all the sewing on Hobo with 2 machines. On a per coushion prices, with new quality foam, she thought the price might be a bit high but not out of line. Her suggestion was to talk to another vender just for a price check. She also said if the cushions are under cover or not left out , the Tenara shouldn’t be required. Shows you what I know.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
I asked Lena what she thought of the cost. She does all the sewing on Hobo with 2 machines. On a per coushion prices, with new quality foam, she thought the price might be a bit high but not out of line. Her suggestion was to talk to another vender just for a price check. She also said if the cushions are under cover or not left out , the Tenara shouldn’t be required. Shows you what I know.
Tell Lena thanks! I am going to get another quote or maybe two just to see what they say and price. You still know a lot. Not a Lena a lot. But a lot.
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Old 10-24-2017, 10:16 AM   #12
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I do some canvas work but have no Tenera experience. I have heard and believe it's longevity is superior. I have heard it can be difficult to work.

My question is what's the reason for your cushion replacement?

Is it because the seams the seams are openning up or is it that the vinyl or Sunbrella is tired and worn???

I think thats the best test of how much UV YOUR SEAM thread gets and whether thats the weak link. Each application is different...no one right answer for all situations.
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Old 10-24-2017, 10:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pgitug View Post
I know this sounds crazy but a fellow boater here in Florida had his fly bridge cushions looking awful. Black stains and all. He found a “paint” and painted them. They now look brand new. It is some kind of vinyl paint.
Pgitug,

That's Sems paint, actually a dye. I've used it many times for marine and aircraft refinishing. It's absolutely a GREAT product.

They have Color Coat (Marine Vinyl Coat is same as Color coat, but with marine colors) and Sure Coat (a bit thicker).

They all can be sprayed or brushed and they lay down excellent with no runs.

You can easily touch up with a brush and it will blend in and you can't tell the touch up area.

Cleaning is critical, however, and I use their products for cleaning.

They do an excellent job for a total refurbishing the vinyl seats on a boat. And looks like new.
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Old 10-24-2017, 12:05 PM   #14
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If you want them totally waterproof, get these closed cell vinyl coated cushions. I found the vendor very easy to work with and the cushions great.
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Old 10-27-2017, 08:14 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the comments. The reason for replacement is they are beyond old and worn out. Renovation or paint/dye would be wasted and they bottom out if you look at the hard. Time for new. Haven't heard any derogatory comments on Tenara beyond the cost so seems reasonable to spend a little more and get it. My big choice now is the old sunbrella vs. vinyl decision. Just not sure. Wife worried about ease of cleaning, me not so much. Like the color choices, stripes, available with the Sunbrella much more than the vinyl and since they are under bimini cover don't think the heat will be an issue. Anyway, I appreciate the input.
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Old 10-27-2017, 11:21 AM   #16
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FB - a couple thoughts. From what I hear from my sewing friends is that Tenara is just finicky to work with. There is a learning curve to it. It is supposed to last forever.....so it will outlast your choice in color or fabrics and for sure the foam inside of your cushions.

That being said....vinyl is easy to clean....but can make you sweat in warm temperatures. Ours are white and navy vinyl and the navy does indeed get hot when the sun hits them. On our previous boat, we had a tweed Sunbrella for the cushions and those were as easy to clean, waterproof, and didn't make me sweat. When I redo our cushions in the next year or two.....I will use one of those new softer Sunbrella fabrics.
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