R 22

Rhodes 22


Cabin Cushions

Ok all you backrest setters: This is the last time I am going to tell you:

The small backrest cushion goes in first (transom end) with the rising top towards the bow.

Next is the largest cushion (the one that goes over the table) with the rising top towards the bow.

Finally the square (middle size) cushion which has no rising top and therefore can go in either orientation except mostly goes only in one orientation because most people want the pattern to be in a uniform direction.

Would General Boats make cushions that did not fit perfectly?

04 Jun 1999

In 1998, I just simply purchased a replacement set of cabin cushions from GBI. Mine were the original 1976 cushions. Actually, the fabric on the original cabin cushions was in remarkably good shape, just a very dated pattern. Several factors drove the decision to replace vs. recover. My two sons were getting too tall for the V-berth. I wanted to install the V-berth extension, which of course, comes with a new cushion. The original foam was starting break down inside the cushions. Finally, Stan's prices for a new cushion set were very competitive. If you ask, Stan or Rose will send free samples of the currently available fabrics for the cabin cushions. A new set of cabin cushions + the V-berth extension was MUCH cheaper than a bigger boat!

Sunbrella acrylic fabric would not be a very good choice as it does not have a very good "hand". "Hand" is the term fabric experts use to describe the feel of a textile on the skin. Sunbrella is also not very abrasion or chafe resistant. I would suggest a dense weave nylon, polyester, or nylon/polyester blend with a low nap pattern. Rose also let me speak directly to their cushion subcontractor. The cushion subcontractor & I was able to discuss which of the currently available fabric choices would be long wearing & color fast. You might also consider supplying your own fabric if you intend doing something very special.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
02 Mar 2002

Oh, Bill.... I've had "experience" recovering all interior cushions. Our cushions are affectionately called, the "cushions from hell"!!!! One thing I'll never do again! (Unless I try the Doug & Robin Gardner method.)

I got some kind of velveteen material, solid color green. They didn't have any prints that I liked that I thought would be, well, acceptable in a male perspective... So, that's why I went solid. After I made them I sprayed the heck out of them with stain repellent so hopefully it won't show should something get spilled on them. The reason I'll never do it again the way I did - took the others apart and made a pattern from the pieces - when I sewed them up, it never failed, each time the last side was done I wound up with about 2-3" extra. Nothing ever matched. So, I just said the hell with it and snipped off the rest of the material and made it work. Nice thing about the foam... it squishes. They look fine, not perfect, I'm just picky I guess.

Now, when we were KLake I got a look at Doug's cushions. I'm not sure who gets the credit for this wonderful idea - Doug? Robin? - but they had a piece of plywood for the underside of the cushion and stapled the material around the foam and onto the wood. Am not sure if they had "sides" to the cushion or if they just wrapped it all around before stapling. I found the problem I had was attaching the bottom/top piece of material to the main cover, so, if I were to do it again I'd do everything (including the sides) except sew the bottom piece on and just wrap it around the plywood. Does this make any sense or am I just rambling?

Burnham Harbor
Chicago, IL
02 MAR 2002

The original cabin cushions on Dynamic Equilibrium had the plywood bottom as do my present set of cockpit cushions. That's the way the factory cushions used to be made. About 10 years ago, I had to replace the plywood bottoms on the cockpit cushions, they were starting to get mushy. Fortunately, there was enough plywood left to get a good pattern & the job was pretty quick & easy. I used 1/4" marine grade plywood & epoxy coated it, so hopefully the backings will last much longer this time. At least on the cockpit cushions, the vinyl fabric just wraps around the foam & staples to the plywood backing. So far, they're holding up well. Just remember to use monel or stainless steel staples or they will quickly rust. I also used mastic construction contact adhesive to glue the vinyl fabric to the plywood. I was worried about tearing out the staples due to the point loading on the vinyl fabric. The construction adhesive gave a large bonding surface area & I don't worry about the fabric tearing out anymore. The staples really just held the fabric in place while the adhesive cured. I could probably remove the staples now. You must also remember to drill several 1/4" diameter drain holes in the plywood or it will be mildew city in a short period of time!

As I mentioned before, I purchased a new set of cabin cushions for my boat in 1998 from GBI. I like the new all fabric interior cushions better. They're more flexible & don't slide around as much.

Speaking as someone who has made other fabric things for my boat, I can tell you it's not an exact science. The pieces/parts are usually so oddly shaped that you can only use a pattern to get things reasonably close. In the end, you just have to cut & trim everything until it "looks right" & call it good enough. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
02 Mar 2002

Had ours recovered as a Christmas present for Kathy. Used a Sunbrella product but not the canvas type material. We saw the product at a boat show but then found it at a local canvas shop in town. They did a nice job, it looks good, and the fabric is soft.

Too early to tell on wearability.

Bob and Kathy on the "NoKaOi"
03 Mar 2002

Along time ago, my wife and I recovered the cushions of a travel trailer with denim. It wore well and looked nice. Perhaps a visit to Joanne Fabrics is in order. Oh yes, we used Scotchguard on the completed cushions.

03 Mar 2002

Roger is correct... I just copied the way the original cusions were made. I cleaned the old foam with a bleach and water solution to kill the mildew (rinsed and waited a few days for them to dry), cut new backers from 1/4" luann plywood, and stapled new fabric over them. No sides. The main settee cusion does slide around, but some of that rubber mesh shelf liner helps keep that in check. Your cushions are MUCH nicer. If you like mine, I'll trade you straight up! ;^) You'd be silly to accept that offer, though. Some day, I'll do it the "right" way.

For the record, the cushions were a "Doug" project. Robin is the Admiral. She has people to do that kind of work for her!

Roger, I've been looking for stainless staples for my staple gun, but can't find them anywhere. Any ideas? I really need them for the tralier bunks. The cabin cusions aren't as big a problem (yet).

04 Mar 2002

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