Bolster and Seat Recover

Fishtales

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I decided to tackle this job over the winter. So before putting away for the season, I removed the (6) piece bolster set, the aft seat and the companion seat from my 300 Marlin.
Not doing this type of work before, I read up on it on this site as well as sailrite and youtube. This thread will detail my experience and hopefully help others should they decide to tackle it in the future.
First you need the tools - pneumatic stapler, large knife, pliers, small pry tool, sewing machine, sharp needles, a walking foot attachment, scissors, tape measure, large straight edge, flat blade and phillips screwdrivers, socket set and I'm sure some other small things.

Removal. The aft seat needs to be removed from the boat (just two bolts at the swing point. and the frame removed from the seat rack so you are only working with the rack. The bolsters have between 2 and 3 phillips screws accessible through the grommets on the bottom. Some are tough to find, but once you do they come right out. The bolsters then lift off the J hooks mounted to the fiberglass. Just push them up and work them off. The companion seat is held in place with (4) bolts similar mounting to a pedistal chair.

Breakdown an Cover Removal. I decided to break down the seats and the bolsters first to allow me to better estimate material needs and next steps. There aft seat and companion seats require disassembly as well as breakdown. The companion seat breaks down into (4) major components, seat frame, side and back back rests, the 4" bolster around the frame and cushion area. Bolsters come off in sections right off the boat.
Next step is removal of about 500 staples from the backside of the pieces. You'll spend some time doing this... This exposes the vinyl, the foam cushions and backer boards. The pieces have 14 seasons on them and I found that while they looked OK on the boat, a closer examination revealed cracking, hard vinyl, mold embedded in the vinyl and the general assessment that this really needed to be done. I'll post pics of the disassembly next.
 
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Fishtales

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Pics below. You'll see the original manufacturer, they don't make cushions for GW, I tried to see if I could order them.... The backer boards are plastic with some being formed. I could re-use these. The foam was brown, dry, mildewy and needed replacement. The vinyl had mold on the inside, was pretty much shot (hard, cracks, some embedded in the vinyl that I couldn't remove. The foam was glued to the backer board, needed a knife to cut off and clean up the backerboards. An old large sharp kitchen knife did the trick.
 

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Fishtales

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BTW Wise also made cushions for GW and when I contacted them about 5 years ago, they sold me an entire aft seat that they had in stock (cushion, ss rod, rack ready to bolt on) for $300 after one of my kids put his knee through the cover at a seam.... Unfortunately they don't make cushions for GW either anymore.
 
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Fishtales

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Some more pics of the parts. You can see the mold on the inside of the vinyl and companion seat frame components. Personally, I think the construction is ok, but not what I expected.
 

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Fishtales

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After everything was broken down, I assembled on the floor knowing fabric is 54" in width. I needed pleated and flat marine vinyl as well as dacron fabric and silk plastic wrap, monel 3/8" staples, sail thread, firm open cell outdoor rated foam, phifertex (mesh), grommets and contact cement (I went with the weldwood and applied with a cheap chippy brush). I also ordered a set of seam rippers to allow me to cut all the removed vinyl into individual pieces for patterns.
 
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Fishtales

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I cut the foam using the removed foam as a pattern. This was tricky as there was a 90 deg turn on one bolster and transitions from 4 to 2" in some spots. I used an inexpensive electric carving knife (sailrite tip) instead of a more expensive foam cutter. I installed the dacron sheet over the foam followed by the silk wrap gluing it to the backside of the backer.

Sewing was tricky on a heavy duty home machine. I got material from fabricwarehouse (GW forum tip), phifertex, glue, foam, dacron, silkwrap from Amazon.
I trimmed each material set a second time just before sewing. For the bosters (the easiest pieces so start with these first), I sewed the vinyl to the pfertex, installed the grommets (using what I removed as patterns). I then fitted them to the backerboards and made any adjustments. In almost all cases, I was fine. The dacron along with the padded pleated material hides any imperfections in the foam cut, so don't worry about it.
 
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Fishtales

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Some pics. You can see my dog wasn't too happy with the time I was spending on this project. She wanted a walk....
 

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Fishtales

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I have 4 of the 6 bolster pieces complete and they look great. The other two are waiting to be stapled (waiting on more staples). The 90 degree piece required (6) smal pie shape pieces to be cut and sewed. This came out great. A dry fit shows this piece will turn out great. The factory foam has rounded edges. I just cut my foam at a 45 deg angle at the walkaround end and left the rest square. When the heavy pleated vinyl is pulled over the edge, it rounds out. Looks fine.

I have the aft seat and companion seat pieces all cut and ready to sew. These will be the most challenging but I think I will be able to handle it no problem. More to come....
 

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Hookup1

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Nice work Fishtales!

Doesn't look like you have this problem but I'll mention it anyway. I had a problem with my curved coaming pad "leaking" a rust stain in the corner. Turns out it was a teak block. Drilled a few holes, inserted 1/8" stainless rod around the curve and used a epoxy wood window repair product to build up. No more stain.

I started doing my own canvas/upholstery work 2 years ago. SailRite is a great resource for DIY'ers. I doubt I would have even tried if it weren't for them. Their videos are real - not some fluffy infomercial to sell "courses". More important is they have a complete line of what you need and welcome the small orders that DIY's need. Quick processing and reasonable pricing and shipping.
 
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Fishtales

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Hi,
No wood in mine. The backer boards and corner supports all plastic. GW must have learned on that one.

Here are some pics of the companion seat base. I pulled the fabric and foam off and used the big knife to scrap off the residue and then prep for glue. I taped the foam to hold in place to let it set up.
Need to sew the cover and install.
 

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Fishtales

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I completed the aft seat. This was harder than the bolsters to do but still something the weekend warrior can attempt. There are 4 top side pieces and one backside with a hidem strip to dress it up.
I used the original as templates. I ended up with 4" foam on the edge (original was ~3.5") and 3" in the seat area (original was a bit thinner and cut for the metal support rails on the rack. I decided not to cut the foam but let it compress in these areas.

It isn't perfect, I have a couple of areas I plan to hit with the heat gun, but overall I can live with it. I didn't do the over stitch on the outside of the corners, rather went with a double stitch inside. Super firm foam and looks like it will work out fine. Didn't add the grommets at the bottom as they do today (my original didn't have). I think these really don't add much water drainage capabilities.
 

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Fishtales

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Started the companion seat. Bottom seat patterned and sewed, looks fine. Gluing the foam to the curved back (inside and out) is a bit tricky. Here is a pic of the dry fit - foam cut, for chair back, seat foam and cover (loose not secure to the seat for now) and rack assembled. Need to glue chair back and sew up the material. Then the fun starts....
 

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Fishtales

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I found some of the mounting screws had loosened up over the years. I used some Hylomar blue I had in the toolbox on the screws that hold the seat back to the base. The curved nature of the seat coupled with the large pieces of foam make gluing the foam a bit of a challenge. Insufficient clamps was a problem. Used some tape to assist. You can see the actual seat base in the pic. Holes are enable access to the mounting screws that hold the seat to the boat.

I have some big panels to sew for the seat back and then need to put it all together. Hopefully the next post will show it completed.
 

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Fishtales

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Completed about 90% of the sewing on the companion seat. There are three circular sew lines (back, front and piece that overlaps the top of the seat to allow the "L" to happen. Pieces are large but not that hard to sew if you pin them. 2nd stage of gluing for the top edges (see picks below). I just worked the contact cement in and am holding in place.

One more glue section - the "L" corner to do. I suspect this will be more difficult. May need to stuff some small pieces when done to fill any gaps.

Probably will trim with the electric carving knife to work the edge better and then test fit the material.

Being as descriptive as possible as there has been a lot of threads regarding bolsters and cushions lately. If you want to save cash or attempt yourself, this really isn't that difficult. A good home sewing machine with a walking foot is all you really need.
 

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Fishtales

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Finished aft seat assembly and the complete line up less the companion seat back and seat.
 

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Fishtales

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Here is the companion seat final fitting. It looks better today as it is fully stapled down, bottom seat bolted and U shape trim ring on the bottom is done. I'll post a few final shots after using the heat gun. I added 3 small wooden supports for the seat frame. It deflected a bit in the corner so I thought I should add.
It came out ok,. I expect to be able to work the wrinkles and make it presentable. Certainly not professional, but I did all this for less than $500 including the tools required and all the covers are new, so I'm happy.
 

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Fishtales

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I'll take a final set of pics after the heat gun and boat install in the spring....
 
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