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I have a 1996 Formula 330 Sun Sport power boat that I'm re-upholstering (the current vinyl is 23 years old,getting brittle and starting to crack). So, I thought I would start a thread to share the project and seek some advice along the way.

The boat has a fair amount of seating in the cockpit
IMG_2605-copy.jpg (97.64 KiB) Viewed 13513 times
There is also some canvas (Sunbrella) work that needs to be done. A new mooring cover (8' x 15') and replacing a bunch of the YYK #10 zippers on the bimini and its cover.

So far I have:

Purchased a used Consew 206RB-4 machine.
Swapped out to a servo motor
Swapped out the drive pulleys to get a 3:1 gear reduction on the machine

Removed all of the boat's seats
Much of the seat base material (plywood) is rotting, so I will need to re-fabricate some of the bases

I contacted the Tech Support folks at Formula Boats to see about the vinyl colors. The color scheme is a bit dated (pink/purple/seafoam green), but matches the exterior of the boat, and as such, I wanted to stay close to the existing color scheme.
1996-Formula-330-Vinyl-ColorsB.jpg (46.71 KiB) Viewed 13513 times
The colors are discontinued, but I was able to get some leftover stock of the pink and matched a purple, but not the seafoam green. I settled on a darker green. So the colors are Nautolex 'Bright Ruby' (pink), Morbern Seabrook 'Purple',Morbern Seabrook 'Deep Sea’. The white is going to be Morbern Seabrook 'White'.
IMG_3530A.JPG (171.68 KiB) Viewed 13513 times
I also wanted to change-up the design a bit and use a white channeling vinyl in combination with the white. Here is a mock-up of the previous and new seating designs:

Continued on next post . . . .
Last edited by TedP on Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:14 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Continued from post #1 . . .

Here is the previous design:
IMG_3152Bcopy.jpg (52.69 KiB) Viewed 13510 times
Here is a rendering of my plan for using channeling fabric in the design:
IMG_3152-2Dcopy.jpg (57.82 KiB) Viewed 13510 times
I plan on having a 4-6" strip of channeling fabric in the upper part of the seat backs. I also plan on having 'boxed' ends of the seat backs with top stitching rather than the previous 'wrap-around' styling.
I have taken a few of the seats/coverings apart to get an idea of the stitching, etc. All of the vinyl has a 1/4" foam backing with scrim cloth (pretty much deteriorated after 23 years :) )

I also made a mock-up of the seat panels for practice (using some spare vinyl) to see what they would look like for real:
IMG_3468.JPG (85.02 KiB) Viewed 13510 times
I have ordered/received most of the supplies. I am using 'Heavy Tenara' thread (approx 138) and the machine runs a Nm 160/23 needle. I also have some 110/18 needles. I wanted to go with a fairly heavy thread for the vinyl and the canvas, as it will get a fair amount of UV exposure over the years.

Currently, I am working on the canvas and will proceed to the vinyl afterwards.

I have purchased 'sew foam' for the foam backing, as it has scrim included. I'll need to 'glue' the sew foam to the vinyl backing. My plan is to use a water-based contact cement and glue the foam to the vinyl in bulk before I cut out any patterns.

Since my new design is a bit different from the current coverings, I plan on making new patterns for each seat. My prior experience in using the old vinyl on a previous project resulted in some distortion of the new seat coverings. I assume this may have been due to some shrinkage in the old vinyl. Just wondering if this is a sound approach vs. just using the old vinyl as templates.??? :thinking:

Most of the vinyl is simple seams and some top stitching. No french seams. I have a set of top-stitch guides for the Consew machine.

Anyway . . . that is my current status on this project. I'll post updates as I go. Advice & comments welcome :thumbsup:
Last edited by TedP on Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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I am working on the canvas first, before diving into the vinyl work. The bimini to needs a new set of zippers. Most of the zippers are 48" YYK #10 . . . a few are a bit shorter, so I am starting with a 48" zipper and cutting it down and placing in stops.
IMG_3537.JPG (125.49 KiB) Viewed 13456 times
I've done 4 zippers and am starting to notice a problem . . . I am getting an intermittent tension problem on the top stitch. It is fine for most of the 48" run, but along the way the bottom tension wins out and I am left with an extra length of top stitch that shows on the bottom (maybe about 4-5mm, 1/4"). This will proceed for about 10 stitches, then the tension will return to normal. I have tightened the top thread a bit, but it seems to keep happening.

Not sure if this is a tensioning problem or something else :thinking:

The needle is 135x17 (Nm160/23) and the thread is 'heavy' Tenara (138).
Sounds like you’re on the right track with your project. One thing I’ve had issues with when using white thread is the dirty water in the foam after being used. Leaches through the thread and turns is a darker color. But I don’t like to use the plastic barrier that other suggest. I am a few other feel it holds the moisture in and ruins things quicker. I don’t have a solution myself but something to think about.

Do you wind your own bobbins or pre wound? Could be an issues where this bobbin got wound with some slack in it in spots and your set tension can’t keep up. I’d switch out bobbins first and see if anything changes.
miket liked this
Thanks Guys,

I did find a couple of problems with the thread tensioning and the bobbin.

1) the bobbin spool seemed to be a bit warped, which made it turn with uneven tension in the bobbin.

2) the top thread tensioning disc got dislodged (somehow) and hung up on the little pin that the thread is supposed to loop around. So the net effect was less contact area on the thread for the tensioner. I didn't realize the issue until I looked at the tensioner closely.

I replaced the bobbin spool and reset the top thread tension. The latest zipper seemed to do fine. I am finding that the Tenara thread is a bit temperamental, especially when working with canvas (Sunbrella)

I am winding my own bobbins from the large spool of Tenara.
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More canvas work. I finished the new zippers on the bimini and now am replacing the zippers on the bimini cover.
IMG_3656.JPG (88.07 KiB) Viewed 13411 times
The edging on the cover pretty much came off with the old zippers. So, I am doing new edging along with the zippers.
IMG_3657.JPG (94 KiB) Viewed 13411 times
One more zipper to go, then it is onto the upholstery. First thing there will be to make some new bases for the seats to replace the rotted ones.
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The mooring cover is in process . . .

So far, I have made a large piece (16' 3" x 9' 6") out of four (4) 60" wide panels of Sunbrella.
IMG_3659.JPG (92.42 KiB) Viewed 13286 times
Next steps will be to trim it to the shape of the existing cover + 2" hem. I have 1" wide webbing to use in the perimeter hem.
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I should be finishing up the canvas work over the Thanksgiving weekend (USA) and just thinking ahead to the vinyl work. One preparation step that I need to consider is 'gluing' the sew foam to the vinyl.

I have:
15 yards of white (54" wide)
4 yards of purple (54" wide)
5 yards of green (54" wide)
4 yards of pink - which already has a foam (only) backing . . . so I may want to apply a scrim cloth layer.

All needing to get the sew foam glued to it. My plan was to glue the sew foam onto the material in bulk fashion, prior to doing any cutting of pieces, etc. With that much material, space considerations come into play as to how to apply glue and then the sew foam. I plan on using a water-based contact cement as that should give me the ability to adjust the positioning of the sew foam before it completely sets up . . . (vs. solvent based contact cement which tends to adhere on contact).

My 'work' table is 9' x 42" . . . and I could possible add a couple of tables along side it to get to the 54" width. Then I could apply the glue to about 3 yards of vinyl at a time. . . . and then roll out another 3 yards, etc. Still a lengthy process, but probably do-able.

Just wondering if others who are more experienced in working these types materials (vinyl fabric & sew foam backing) had other ideas.

FWIW - I purposely did not buy the foam-backed version of vinyl, since it did not have the scrim layer that the sew foam does. . . . seemed like I'd be in a similar predicament applying the scrim to 25 yards of material.

The canvas work is done . . .
IMG_3667.JPG (74.98 KiB) Viewed 13177 times
I was able to get the 1" binding tape around the perimeter, although 1.5" would have been better
IMG_3668.JPG (92.11 KiB) Viewed 13177 times
I'm moving on to the vinyl upholstery. First thing was to take the wrinkles out of the sew foam. It comes tightly packaged and you have to let it sit for a while (1 week) after opening it so that the foam expands back to its normal thickness. Even then there are still wrinkles in the sew foam. I found that a steam iron on a medium setting takes out the wrinkles nicely, as you can see in the picture below. The red line is the border between the ironed and wrinkled areas.
IMG_3678.JPG (60.68 KiB) Viewed 13177 times
In total, I ironed 25 linear yards of the sew foam :rolling_eyes:
miket liked this
Dang! That's awesome! I love the new design with the pleats. I cant wait to see it finished.

Only thing I would say is that 138 tenara thread is a bit over kill but will work fine.

Usually I use 92 bonded poly for boat interiors and typically only use tenara on canvas projects.
Thanks @John

I could have used the regular Tenara, which I believe is a 92 thread, but opted for the 'Heavy Tenara' which is 138. The Boat manufacturer uses Tenara in their upholstery.

I'm starting to work on the vinyl skins. In total, there are 13 skins to the upholstery. I'm picking an easy one to do first :thinking: . We'll see how it goes. :grinning:
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Here is my first attempt at the vinyl skins . . .
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IMG_3689.JPG (74.01 KiB) Viewed 13146 times
I had some trouble with the top stitching and the end pieces. So, this one might be just for practice :rolling_eyes:

I'll take the learnings from this skin to make some changes to the patterns and the stitching.
I got the matching base to the seat back that I made done . . .

Here are the pieces
IMG_3710 2.JPG
IMG_3710 2.JPG (60.78 KiB) Viewed 13022 times
Here is the completed seat.

IMG_3717.JPG (58.37 KiB) Viewed 13022 times
Here is the pair . . . Seat back & Base
IMG_3719.JPG (82.43 KiB) Viewed 13022 times
I am still having trouble with the sharply curved areas. I tend to get a wrinkles or 2 in the seam.
There are 4 seat bases to the main seating areas of the boat. I moved on to the second of the 4 and used the vinyl pieces from the old seat as templates for the new vinyl.

That approach did not work out and the resulting piece was unusable. So, I am now strictly using templates that I freshly make from the foam/bases directly, ignoring (for the most part) the old vinyl.

Here are a few pictures of using 6 mil plastic sheeting as the template material, mimicking the OEM patterns.
IMG_3722.JPG (75.31 KiB) Viewed 12971 times
I did notice one area where the OEM pattern does not conform well to the contours of the foam. The boat manufacturer, obviously did some stretching of the vinyl to conform to the desired shape.
IMG_3721A.jpg (74.34 KiB) Viewed 12971 times
The red lines show the area where the foam changes shape along its leading edge. I plan on making a separate piece (shown in blue lines) to better accommodate the contour of the foam.
IMG_3721B.jpg (65.6 KiB) Viewed 12971 times
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