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Old 09-26-2012, 12:09 PM   #21
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On the advice of our canvas shop my wife uses Gore Tenara thread on the canvas on our boat. From what we've been told it's the best thread on the planet for outdoor use. But..... it is staggeringly expensive.
And IMHO, it's a staggering waste of money. Why use thread rated for longer life than the fabric it holds together? Sailrite's standard thread is rated for ten years. Does anyone really need a lifetime thread? Moreover, there are some differences in technique and machine setup you need to be aware of to use Tanera.

Bess is doing some canvas work as a hobby with a few professional gigs on the side and I can't understand the public's fascination with Tenara thread. Standard thread will work for 99% of applications. It's like killing a fly with a bazooka.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:18 PM   #22
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And IMHO, it's a staggering waste of money. Why use thread rated for longer life than the fabric it holds together? Sailrite's standard thread is rated for ten years. Does anyone really need a lifetime thread? Moreover, there are some differences in technique and machine setup you need to be aware of to use Tanera.

Bess is doing some canvas work as a hobby with a few professional gigs on the side and I can't understand the public's fascination with Tenara thread. Standard thread will work for 99% of applications. It's like killing a fly with a bazooka.
We had a bimini made in January 2008. We restitched it earlier this year and it looks it. We are having a new cockpit cover made. I asked the 2 bidders what they are using for thread and the one that said Tenara got the job. He was also low bid. That's my story.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:38 PM   #23
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Tenara Lifetime Thread - UV Stable Rot Resistant Outdoor Thread - Tenara
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:23 PM   #24
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Bess is doing some canvas work as a hobby with a few professional gigs on the side and I can't understand the public's fascination with Tenara thread. Standard thread will work for 99% of applications. It's like killing a fly with a bazooka.

But Bess will also gladly use Tanera if the project's customer wants it. It just raises their cost for whatever the project is. So far, no one has asked.

And Al, if you need any snaps or grommets, we'll be at the Seafood Festival next weekend, and my toolkit is on the boat.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:40 PM   #25
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And IMHO, it's a staggering waste of money. Why use thread rated for longer life than the fabric it holds together?
Wrongo dude. A lot of the canvas on our boat is now entering at least it's 18th year. Fourteen since we've owned the boat and it was on the boat at least four years prior to that by the photos we were given. And from everything we can tell and have learned from some of the previous owners the boat has lived in the weather its whole life.

There are people we know in our marina with Sunbrella sail covers that are over 20 years old and still doing fine. But they've needed restitching periodically.

Sunbrella lasts a whole lot longer than most people seem to think--- IF--- it's kept clean and the seams don't start coming apart.

Tenara is amazing stuff. In addition to being longer lasting and stronger than other threads it is more chemical resistant, bird poo resistant, UV resistant, dirt and soot resistant, salt resistant, mildew resistant, rot resistant, etc. It is the thread of choice by the majority of quality canvas shops today, not only just marine but residential and buisiness (awnings and stuff). It's used to stitch together the side curtains on fabric-sided semi-trailers.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:22 PM   #26
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Sunbrella lasts a whole lot longer than most people seem to think--- IF--- it's kept clean and the seams don't start coming apart.
Marin any tips on keeping it clean?
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:39 PM   #27
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I am impressed you have kept yours maintained well enough to have it last so long. Great job!

Our previous bimini was about 20 years old and it was a piece of shit. Looked like a planetarium underneath it. It looks like the seams did fail, but it was equal parts thread and fabric failure. The best thread can't prevent the fabric around the needle holes from failure (stretching to larger than thread hole). So I will only submit that in your case, I believe that it was your care and feeding of the entire bimini that had as much to do (if not more) with the longevity of the seams than the thread itself. If you take that good of a care to a '72 Pinto, you could tell the same story. But hey... what do I know

Besides, I'd be bored with the color after 10 years and want to change it anyway. I think Bess will replace ours next year (or over the winter) just for the practice of doing one for the first time.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:45 PM   #28
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We wash our canvas periodically using a cleaner my wife gets from the canvas company she uses. And before you ask, fabrics is not my thing so the product name of the cleaner she uses is not something I've ever bothered to learn. I do know it's important to wash it twice and rinse it very thoroughly. She also treats it twice with 303 and even that application has a wet-dry process she learned from the canvas company.

So I'm not being of much help, but periodic cleaning-- however you do it--- makes a big difference to the longevity of the Sunbrella. But--- the seams have to be in really good shape because if you wash it and the seams are even just iffy, they will come apart like you wouldn't believe. Hence her switch to Tenara as well as redoing any seams that even start looking suspicious.

Between keeping it clean and redoing the old seems with Tenara I can't believe how long some of this stuff is lasting.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:54 PM   #29
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So I will only submit that in your case, I believe that it was your care and feeding of the entire bimini...
I'm not talking about the bimini alone. I am talking about all the canvas that came with the boat. So bimini and bimini cover, huge, two-part full flying bridge cover, flying bridge siderail panels, full length handrail, caprail, and grabrail covers, transom cover, sailing dinghy cover, aft hatch cover, and covers for every opening window.

The two-part flying bridge cover is the oldest canvas on the boat and I would not be surprised to learn it was over twenty years old now. My wife has replaced virtually every seam in the two sections.

The cost to replace all this canvas has been quoted to us by a couple of shops as being in the neighborhood of $10,000.

Since aquiring the boat my wife has made a number of other covers--- windlass, flying bridge name boards, dinghy motor, a cover for the crate that holds the stern anchor rode, the barbecue, covers for the non-opening windows and other odds and ends. These were made with Tenara from the outset as well as new fabric of course, and they are in great shape today.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:50 PM   #30
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A zipper will work the best. And if you have a flap over the zipper, it will keep water from leaking between the two pieces. The flap should be sewn to the front piece and lay over the back when they are zipped together.
Tying the two sections together with a zipper was a non-starter since the forward section, which has been on the boat for quite a while, is virtually impossible to remove, and there was NO WAY I was going to try to hand-stitch a zipper to it! Somehow, the bows were installed in stitched pockets, and to get the fabric off would require total dis-assembly. The two sections are actually free-standing, and abut one another with the flap on the fwd section lying over the the top, and now a couple of pieces of velcro on each side to keep it in place.

Tom/Bess, thanks for the hardware offer; I think I have a pretty good supply of stuff. My next project will be a bridge cover; I still have 4 yards of 64" Sunbrella to use up. We will be at MC Yacht Basin Fri/Sat night of the Seafood Festival; maybe we will catch up with you.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:09 PM   #31
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Al - if you have a piece of sunbrella long enough to bridge the gap port to starboard, and six or eight inches wide, we can snap on to both free standing biminis so you don't get rain through the middle. Just stitch up finished edges on a big rectangle that can fit over the gap and have a good allowance on either side. We'll snap ya up.

Infact, if your primary is in good shape, and you have enough fabric, we can remove those non zipper pockets and put zippers in there for you.

Pineapple Girl, lightly wash with any gentle soap, but get some 303 Protectant and apply it at least once a year.

Also, if anyone has an issue with mildew growing on the fabric or zippers, MaryKate makes a magic Mildew remover. I'm sold on it. And Defender has the cheapest prices.

I'm not a canvas worker, I just play one on TV.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:14 PM   #32
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. We will be at MC Yacht Basin Fri/Sat night of the Seafood Festival; maybe we will catch up with you.
We'll be over on the Town Docks....let's catch up. You need to make a reservation at the City Kitchen while you're there!!
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:05 PM   #33
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Or maybe at the yacht basin...
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:32 PM   #34
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Besides, I'd be bored with the color after 10 years and want to change it anyway.
We can relate to that. The ubiquitous and old fashioned blue is about our least favorite canvas cover. We would much prefer black or really dark blue or green.

But we're sort of stuck because the boat came with so much canvas and the cost of replacing it all just to change the color is not cost effective in our eyes. Particularly since most of it is still in very good shape. And if my wife started making the new things out of a different color the mix of that with the existing blue we think would look even worse.

So while she hates doing it, every time she makes a new cover for something she forces herself to use the blue so the boat doesn't start looking like something out of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.

In your case with a beat-up bimini and not a half a ton of other canvas on the boat, this would be the ideal time to get a new bimini in a new color.

By the way, something you may already know but my wife learned the hard way, there is Sunbrella and there is Sunbrella. She got a great deal on a roll of blue (gack) Sunbrella on a sewing club trip to Portland, Oregon a few years ago. She was very proud of herself for finding and buying it. The first thing she made with it was a good-size patch on the forward half of our flying bridge cover.

Well..... it turns out that you can get Sunbrella in a UV/fade-resistant version and you can get it without this protection. Guess which one she had purchased. So while the patch fabric is still holding up well, it faded in short order (within a year) to a light blue gray. So that part of the boat does, in fact, look like something from The Grapes of Wrath.

So if you weren't aware of this already, made sure you buy the UV protected/fade resistant Sunbrella for your new bimini project and not the other version. It's all Sunbrella and the colors are identical. At first........
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:20 PM   #35
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But we're sort of stuck because the boat came with so much canvas and the cost of replacing it all just to change the color is not cost effective in our eyes.
It would be a heap cheaper if you would give up the love affair with Tanera thread *zing*
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:37 PM   #36
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In my experience...stitching almost always fails prior to the fabric...if switching to gold thread would help...I'd give it my vote...
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:33 PM   #37
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It would be a heap cheaper if you would give up the love affair with Tanera thread *zing*

.
You're right but since my wife's initial spool of Tenara is starting to get down there I've seen that the price of the stuff has been coming down. But the real cost of replacing our canvas would be the labor. Not just the cutting and sewing and fastener installation itself but the time to take measurements on the boat, fittings, etc. The old canvas can't be used as patterns because over all these years it's stretched out a lot. So the shop would have to sort of start from scratch only now they'd have to match the existing fastners on the boat. It's a big, time-consuming job or so my wife tells me.

So we do what we can to keep the "blue stuff" going.

What we need is a boat fire. Not ours, but a nearby boat that's upwind of ours. Another GB36 owner in our marina had his boat totally sooted out earlier this year by a fire on the sailboat opposite his on the dock that burned the sailboat to the waterline at which point it sank.

In addition to a complete "de-sooting" of the GB36 in the yard all the boat's canvas was replaced. Total bill for the cleaning, new canvas, etc. was $35,000. He had his canvas replaced with the same color--- black. But if this happened to us we would use the opportunity to get rid of the blue.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:33 PM   #38
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Marin, ours was forest green. I'm almost done replacing all of it with Linen. (beige) One project at a time! DIY is soooo much cheaper. I'm sure you and your wife can redo yours too!
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:46 PM   #39
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One project at a time! DIY is soooo much cheaper. I'm sure you and your wife can redo yours too!
This was taken the other year before our dock was replaced but as you can see, we have a LOT of canvas on the boat. My wife would have a good portion of her life over the next few years mapped out if she remade it all herself.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:53 PM   #40
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Quality stuff I'm sure, but it seems a little comical that thread has a "lifetime warranty". Sure they might replace any failed thread, but it's the sewing that costs the money. They don't say they will pay for the labor to restich what failed.

As for the expected life of any marine canvas and thread, a lot has to do with the exposure it gets. UV light (in southern areas) and wind can cause canvas and thread to age quickly compared to northern areas with less UV exposure and possibly less wind.
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