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Making My Own Boat Cover

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  • Making My Own Boat Cover

    My wife has “volunteered” to make a new bow cover for our boat. I plan to purchase the Sunbrella marine fabric for this task. My wife is fully capable of everything on the sewing end, but we have no experience with the snaps.

    I was wondering if anyone had information on how to properly install the snaps into the cover? Are special tools required for this? I have a simple punch tool that came with a snap kit for repairs, but not sure if this is intended for new installations – i.e. fabric that doesn’t have a hole in it.

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Jeff


  • #2
    Re: Making My Own Boat Cover

    you cut a small hole and use the kit.
    FLORIDA GATORS
    TEBOW Country



    Please, NO PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems. they will not be answered.
    That is what these forums are for. Post your questions, in the appropriate Forum.

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    • #3
      Re: Making My Own Boat Cover

      You can buy snaps at nearly any farm or hardware store. You screw the male button to the boat. I use an old phillips screwdriver sharpened to a needle point to punch the hole inthe fabric. Don't make the hole too big or the snap will just pull through the fabric. The cap pushes through the hole and the female part of the snap goes over the stub. The cap is then placed on the anvil (provided with the kit) and the stub is flared using a tool also provided. When installing snaps. Start at the front center. Install the first snap. Then work down the sides pulling the cover snug and use the screwdriver point to punch the hole in the cover and mark the position of the male part of the snap at the same time. Double stich the hems using nylon upholstery thread. Position the snaps between the stiching.

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      • #4
        Re: Making My Own Boat Cover

        Backacres, The sewing machine will need to be up to sewing heavy fabric. You might ask for some free samples to check color and sewing ability. I use coat thread for the strength. Carpet thread is stronger, but my machine doesn't like it.

        There is a professional snap installation machine ($75), that does a vastly superior job of installing snaps in fabris. It automatically punches the hole, as it installs the snap. It looks like a vice-grip tool, and I recommend it highly, if you can afford it. There are also heavy-duty snaps that are used by the professionals. I recommend these as well, if you can find them.

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        • #5
          Re: Making My Own Boat Cover

          Go to Rochford Supply. They carry stainless steel snaps which is what you want on a boat cover.

          Do not use nylon thread...you want to use polyester thread on anything outdoors.

          The snap tool I use is called Press-N-Snap. here is what it looks like.



          No matter what tool you use, you need to make a hole first. Iuse an old soldering iron and melt a hole big enough for the snap to go through.

          On a bow cover, I strongly suggest reinforcing the area where the snaps go with webbing. When I make a cockpit cover, I use webbing sewed in with binding to finish the edge.

          I do all my work with a commercial walking foot machine. You may have problems doing it with a home machine. If you do, expect a lot of broken needles and a machine that may not operate the same again.

          here is a good link for determining needle/thread size. I use #92 for all my sunbrella work.
          1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
          Volvo Penta Duo-Prop 7.4L "LK"

          2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge 21
          Mercury 90 4-Stroke FI
          "Common sense is not very common"
          "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." -- John Wooden

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          • #6
            Re: Making My Own Boat Cover

            Thanks for all of the great advice! I love the idea of using an old soldering iron to make the holes, you can control exactly how large the hole size is based on the tip you use.

            I appreciate everyone sharing their experience. This should be a good winter project.

            Comment



            • #7
              Re: Making My Own Boat Cover

              For the thread to sow the cover do not use normal coat thread or nylon. You will find it last less than 2 years max in the sun and rain.

              We use a spectra fishing line as it will hold up to the sun and rain as long as the cover does. You can pick the size but I think we used 20 lb test.
              Have some fun and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
              Love to fish out of Bodega Bay, California.

              Comment



              • #8
                Re: Making My Own Boat Cover

                You want to use a #92 polyester thread.

                Never heard of using spectra fishing line before. I would think it is way too expensive for this application. A pound of #92 thread is going to run you less that $20 and it is 2700 yards. For a 24 foot boat I can use 1/4 of a pound depending on the complexity. 700 yards of spectra would run around $50.

                Boatist...What color spectra do you use? Never seen black or white spectra which are my two most popular thread colors.

                I never had a problem with #92 thread failing om a boat cover. usually the fabric itself fails before the stitching.
                1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
                Volvo Penta Duo-Prop 7.4L "LK"

                2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge 21
                Mercury 90 4-Stroke FI
                "Common sense is not very common"
                "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." -- John Wooden

                Comment



                • #9
                  Re: Making My Own Boat Cover

                  I used a moss green. If you have only used canvas cover before regular thread will work fine because the cover only last two years also. You can get spectra in white if you want.

                  My first Sunbrella cover was sown with regular thread after about 2 years every seam where there was any stress was coming apart. I had a spool of spider wire fusion 14 lb test 150 yards in my sewing kit on board. We hand stiched alot of it on one week long trip to the ocean. We had to do it if we wanted the use the cover.

                  My boats only 21 feet but did not use even half of the spool to this day.

                  My second Sunbrella cover guy at the shop said for $5 more would use a thread that would last the life of the cover with free restich if the thread did not hold up. Then he said only comes in white. We paid the difference.

                  One other thing both of my Sunbrella covers shrunk about 5 inches in length over there ten year life. Not so bad that you could not get the cover on but the stern coners could never be pulled down to where fit correctly after about 2 years.

                  Use what you want but regular coat thread will not hold up.
                  Have some fun and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
                  Love to fish out of Bodega Bay, California.

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Re: Making My Own Boat Cover

                    Wow...between my mom and myself, we have made boat covers for over 10 years and have not see one Sunbrella cover shrink. Did you throw it in the dryer?

                    If you go to an upholstery site somilar to this one, the only other thread that is really ever used other than poyester is Tenara. Tenara is a thread made with Gore-Tex.

                    Polyester thread is not regular coat thread. It is the same thead that is used in the stitching in the upholstery of your boat.
                    1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
                    Volvo Penta Duo-Prop 7.4L "LK"

                    2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge 21
                    Mercury 90 4-Stroke FI
                    "Common sense is not very common"
                    "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." -- John Wooden

                    Comment



                    • #11
                      Re: Making My Own Boat Cover

                      I think the gortex is what our guy used also. As I think back it was more than a $5 difference. Also the stuff held up fine past the 5 year warranty since the cover is about 8 years old now and still perfect other than being 4 inches too short. Cover has never been washed other than just squirted off on the boat. Also never been in the dryer but does sit in the full California Sun every day from about 1 to 5 p. Temperature inside the boat is over 140 degrees every day durning the hot months, June thru September.

                      The shop that did our cover did a great job on our trailering cover. Just wish we could streach it 4 inches.

                      Have some fun and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
                      Love to fish out of Bodega Bay, California.

                      Comment

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