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  1. #1
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    Mar 2009
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    Default Advice for shopping for Canvas / Boat Covers

    Hi,

    My name is Greg Nelis and I am the owner of Nelis Custom Canvas & Upholstery (or Nelis Customs for short), a small shop located in a 1800 sq/ft building on my property near Saxonburg, PA in Butler County. I'm 15 minutes north of the Butler Exit of the PA Turnpike and 25 minutes from the Cranberry / Mars exit of 79 just to give you an idea of where I'm at.

    I'm new to BoatPittsburgh.com however I'm in the process of becoming an advertiser with the site to show my support and get the name out for my business. My business is relatively new, however I have spent a lot of money and even more time learning canvas fabrication and attending training as a certified canvas fabricator. I have been a boater for over 20 years so my business is the result of my passion for boating after previously been in the engineering field which explains my desire to know more than most care about boat covers and canvas.

    When the weather broke last week, my phone began ringing off the hook and I found myself repeating the same conversation over and over again for the second season. As a result I started compiling information to add to my website today when a prospective customer who had emailed me sent me to a topic on this forum concerning picking a new boat cover so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you.

    There are many canvas shops in the area and my intent here is to educate you on what to look for and what to ask when choosing one - even if its not me. It is not my intent to say I am the one and only worthwhile shop in town nor is it to speak badly of any of my competitors. While I have not met them all, I have had the opportunity to meet some of them over the years and others more recently and I have been a customer of some of theirs as well before going into business. While we may not all agree on what is the best fabric, materials, or techniques – I respect their opinions and I’ve yet to meet a business in the area that I would recommend you stayed away from and instead I’ll just say they each have a niche in the marketplace even if its not the same one as I consider myself.

    In my opinion, there are 4 key factors involved in a quality boat cover or enclosure:
    • The “soft” materials used (fabric / binding / thread / supporting materials)
    • The hardware used (snaps, frame components, etc)
    • The fabrication techniques used
    • The manufactures warranty on fabric AND the fabricators warranty on craftsmanship

    While I am not a representative for any type of fabric representative nor am I swayed by any monetary gain by suggesting one over the other, I will share my knowledge and thoughts on the different types available. As stated, I am far from a materials expert so if I am wrong or misleading on any details please forgive me and if there are questions that remain let me know and I can either answer them or have them answered by the manufacturers.

    In the simplest form, there are two types of fabrics; acrylics such as Sunbrella and coated ones such as Aqualon (or those of you familiar with Tumacs Aquaknot product which is the same thing) or Top Gun. The key difference between them beyond the chemical construction is the manufacturing process.

    Acrylics or more properly named “Solution Dyed Acrylics” are fabrics woven out of fibers that are “born” with the color impregnated in the acrylic solution that is used to generate the fibers woven together to form the fabric. What that means is a blue acrylic fabric didn’t start life as a colorless fiber woven and dyed like a cotton shirt, it was woven using a fiber that was a liquid blue solution before it was spun into the fiber.

    Coated materials, with most popular variations being Vinyl Coated Polyester like Aqualon, are typically a two ply polyester woven in its “natural” color. The color for the fabric is applied by top coating with a color impregnated vinyl substance. The end result on something like Aqualon is an always white underside showing the “natural” color of the polyester and the color of your choice shown on the top side.

    Besides the chemical construction of the materials being different, the physical attributes are different as well. Because Acrylics are not top coated, they are a breathable material which allows heat and moisture to exit the boat but at the same time, they must be cared for to ensure the best performance and durability. Coated materials cannot breath therefore venting becomes extremely important when using for boat covers.

    Variations to each type of product exist and the prices of these products reflect the appearance and performance of them. Also, materials are often classified by the weight per square yard which helps you realize how heavy of a material it is overall but don’t confuse weight with strength. A small example of the different brands of materials and grades are as follows – but note this is as short and sweet summary of just a few of your choices so realize there is more to each of these than I am putting out here and this is not intended to be an in depth comparison or review.

    Acrylics:
    Sunbrella: Probably the most well known acrylic fabric on the market. Sunbrella is a “water resistant” fabric which means it is not water proof on its own. People often tell me how Sunbrella leaks and as a result they don’t like it. Unfortunately the displeasure is usually the fault of the owner or the salesman for not informing the customer on how to care for the product - not the fault of the manufacturer or the product. For example, Sunbrella is treated with 303 Fabric Guard during the manufacturing process and the manufacturer (Glenn Raven) recommends treating the product annually to ensure the best results. Even at the most gouged boat store, a bottle costs only $20 which is enough for one season’s application and better deals can be had on the product. Brand new Sunbrella can be shaped into a bowl and hold water for weeks without leaking. 3 year old untreated Sunbrella will allow water in, but 3 year old treated material will act as new and hold the water out. Sunbrella has THE BEST warranty on the market. Previously a 5 year warranty, this year they have extended it to 10 years with full replacement up to the 8th year at which point it becomes pro-rated. Note that no manufacturer will reimburse you the consumer for fabrication costs involved with replacing defective materials. More information on the Sunbrella warranty is available here: http://www.sunbrella.com/pdf/wMarineTopsCovers.pdf

    Dickson: Dickson is a fabric extremely similar to Sunbrella – so much that it is made by the same company, Glenn Raven. I am currently in the process of trying to learn the difference between the two because one of my suppliers that does not carry Sunbrella has been trying to force it down my throat. From what I’ve gathered so far, Dickson is intended more for awning applications and not boat covers but their website claims otherwise. Sunbrella also makes awning fabrics that it warns are not intended for marine applications because they are more water resistant than water proof…

    Sunbrella PLUS: Sunbrella PLUS is regular Sunbrella undercoated with a Polyurethane backing to make it more water and abrasion resistant. The underside is still the same color as the topside, but the clear Polyurethane gives it a hazed clear coated look. The added protection comes at a premium however since this material is approximately 25% more per yard. Note that PLUS does not breathe as well as regular Sunbrella so venting becomes important.

    Sunbrella Supreme: A third version of Sunbrella exists for what they promote as the ultimate in form and function when using Sunbrella. Basically its Sunbrella PLUS with a flocking (short fibers) adhered to the underside to give the underside a finished almost velvet like surface instead of the hazed clear coated look that results from the Polyurethane coating on the underside. The flocking can either match the top side or complement it (black / tan for example). This product is intended for custom enclosures on high end boats for owners who want the most attractive underside of their enclosure or bimini top while keeping dry. It is ridiculously priced at roughly 80% more than standard Sunbrella.

    CONTINUED IN PART II - see next topic...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default Advice for shopping for Canvas / Boat Covers Part II

    SeaMark: SeaMark is probably the product that everyone who hates Sunbrella should be using. SeaMark is Sunbrella with the backside coated with Haartz textured marine grade vinyl. Haartz is best known for its truck tonneau cover material to give you an idea of the strength. SeaMark offers the often desired look of Sunbrella with the added protection of a high strength coating underneath. I recommend SeaMark to all of my customers in the market for bimini tops or enclosures on boats where the overhead canvas is intended to keep them dry on rainy days, not just out of the sun under clear skies. Because it is made from Sunbrella, it is available in the same colors which makes using it in combination with Sunbrella for an enclosure effective and efficient. SeaMark is about 40% more than standard Sunbrella by the way.

    Coated Materials:

    Aqualon (similar to Tumac’s Aquaknot) is a popular fabric in the Pittsburgh area, probably due to Tumac’s extensive use (and the fact that Tumac’s has been in business for over 50 years). Truthfully, it is the cheapest product I’ll recommend customers choosing. I cannot offer any facts about Aquaknot other than what I’ve read from Tumac’s website so for more information I recommend you contact them directly. From what I’ve gathered in speaking with Bob McCall of Tumac’s it is essentially the same. The physical appearance looks to be the same (color on top, white on bottom side) and the only other similarity I can claim is they are both viny coated polyester that is 9 oz. per square yard. I cannot speak for Aquaknot, nor can I find a vendor that I can purchase / learn more about it from, but Aqualon offers a manufacturers 5 year limited warranty to not crack, peel, harden, discolor, or flake.

    There are other types of coated materials out there besides Aqualon / Aquaknot however. They vary in both construction and chemical composition. There are too many alternatives to go into, but some of the popular ones are below.

    Top Gun: Top Gun is a woven polyester coated on BOTH side with a specially formulated polymeric coating. The interesting feature of Top Gun is that it is somewhat breathable despite being coated. It is 11 oz. per square yard so it is a slightly heavier fabric than Aqualon which is something to consider on a larger boat such as a 28’ Pontoon.

    Stamoid: Stamoid is a “high tenacity” vinyl coated polyester. The coating is applied on both sides of the polyester and is designed to resist mildew while remaining waterproof. Stamoid is marketed as being able to withstand extreme cold temperatures which make it an ideal cover for boats left outdoors in the winter. Stamoid comes in two different weights, one for lighter applications such as shades or bimini’s and a heavier weight for cover applications and everything else.

    Personally, I feel each product on the market has a place in the marine industry. An interesting comparison of some of the materials listed here can be found at http://canvas-fabrics.com/ for those of you looking for a ranking by someone else’s opinion.

    For those who fear Sunbrella because it leaks I offer this other tidbit of advice; every boat topping is susceptible to leaking the minute the fabricator stitches it. Coated materials are pierced by the needle of the sewing machine and the thread is slightly smaller than the hole the needle makes. In order to keep water out, the seams of coated materials must be treated with the same fabric protector Sunbrella should be treated with each year to ensure water does not penetrate it. Acrylic materials allow the fabric to shift and reform to a degree around the needle so the seams of acrylics will leak less believe it or not.

    What fabric is right for you?
    When customers come to me uncertain about the type of fabric they want for their cover or enclosure, I try to understand how they intend to use it. While Sunbrella can be used for a trailering cover, I typically recommend a coated material because I feel they hold up better under the stress of highway use. I also recommend that if you can trailer your boat without a cover (READ: its not storming out or you don’t have a shelter to leave the boat uncovered to allow it to dry afterwards) do so. I don’t care what the fabric is made up of, the laws of physics will tell you that taking a boat cover down the highway at 70 MPH puts more stress and strain on the components involved and WILL SHORTEN THE LIFESPAN. Will it expire before the warranty? Probably not, but will it last twice as long as they’ll guarantee it which could happen if you don’t tow with it on? Probably not.

    For mooring covers I like Sunbrella. When properly fabricated so that no water can pool, water will not leak through the cover if properly cared for. I like the breathability, appearance, and color choices available with Sunbrella. The days of duck canvas shrinking when getting wet making it impossible to cover a boat are gone, however Sunbrella expands slightly in moisture. This is most noticeable when the cover is new which is why it is important to fabricate the most taunt cover possible so that when the natural moisture in the air is absorbed into the cover and it expands ever so slightly, the cover does not become too loose fitting which will result in water pooling and other problems.

    For protection in less than sunny skies such as Camper Enclosures or Convertible enclosures I recommend Acrylics and suggest using nothing lower than Sunbrella. If it were up to me, every enclosure would be made with a SeaMark top and matching Sunbrella sides but the customer gets what the customer wants so I have made enclosures out of Aqualon despite pleading with them to not go that route. SeaMark offers the dryness guarantee overhead and allows you to use the more affordable matching Sunbrella for the side and aft curtains giving you form and feasibility. The reason I do not like using products like Aqualon for enclosures or bimini’s is because the product simply does not look at good in the end and will not last as long. It is much easier to get Sunbrella or a similar acrylic to hold a near wrinkle free finish because of its more rigid composition. I also don’t want the customer to be disappointed when their Aqualon enclosure only lasts 5 years before needing replaced. Enclosures are very labor intensive therefore the savings in picking a cheaper material are offset by the shorter lifespan / cost of labor to replace so that $400 savings can’t compete with the $1400 replacement cost for example using numbers pulled from the sky...

    A final consideration for your fabric choice when it comes to boat covers is where the boat spends its offseason. Some products are designed to withstand the cold PA temperatures where others are not so the cold crack number of the material comes into play. Along the same line, if your boat is going to be stored outside in the winter – make sure the fabricator knows you need it designed to withstand a snow load which means the pitch of the cover needs to be a certain angle. This is CRITICAL. Also, don’t think that by placing a tarp over your cockpit cover will suffice for a winter cover. The pitch of the cover simply is not enough to shed the snow as needed and the material is not strong enough to withstand the weight on its own. In a few days I will be going to look at a customer’s cover that was damaged this winter from this exact problem despite repeatedly telling him he could not use that cover for winter storage outdoors. Unfortunately his 6 month old Sunbrella cover is stretched and pooling water because it was put under stress it wasn’t designed for. Even if I can resolve the problems by tailoring the fit or adding a support, unfortunately the fit has been compromised and he has definitely shortened its lifespan along with most likely voiding the manufacturers warranty on the fabric. An unfortunate result of not understanding what the cover could be used for despite my best attempts at making sure they were away of the consequences.

    Duration
    I’ve had customers come to me with 12 year old Sunbrella covers for snap or seam repairs and I can’t disagree with them when they say they think they can get another year or two out of the canvas (I won’t try to force a sale for a new cover when I agree with them, but I also won’t patch a cover if I don’t feel they will get at least a season out of the repair to make it worth their while paying for my services). I’ve seen coated materials last upwards of 10 years as well, but by that time the material’s finish is about destroyed despite keeping water out. When a coated material breaks down on a product such as Aqualon or Top Gun, the color begins to run off the cover and onto the boat when it rains. A black cover on a white hull will result in black streaks where the water runs off on the hull. The streaks rub off with cleaner, but become irritating fast. In summary, the manufacturers warranty speaks for the duration of the product – if they guarantee 3 years you can expect that much but some outlast the warranty. Speaking of which, I personally don’t recommend using anything guaranteed for less than 5 years unless you’re looking to dump it a year later but even then I stray from anything under 5 years. The cost savings in materials won’t offset the price of paying labor twice.

    CONTINUED IN PART III...

  3. #3
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    Default

    Merged the two threads together so readers can continue on the same page. feel free to post more on the subject by hitting reply on this thread... Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Default Sunbrella

    Greg,
    i could not agree with you more. Sunbrella with the seamark backing has treated me well for four full seasons, and still looks like day one. I do not have any leaks.
    I purchase 303 fabric guard on the internet by the gallon jug, and split it with others to help control the cost. This product is by far, the easiest stuff to work with, and repells water like a fresh coat of wax.
    Glad to see you post your knowledge and expertise, and thanks for your support of the forum.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2009
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    Default Educated

    Thanks Greg for taking the time educate us, it's good to find someone passionate enough to just get the word out and let the business part just happen.



  6. #6
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    Allison Park, PA
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    Default

    Greg-

    Thanks again for sharing with everyone your knowledge, experience, and expertise on the subject of Boat Canvas. I was almost late to work this morning as I read over your information. All very worth while stuff!

  7. #7
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    Mar 2009
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    Default PART III... sorry it was missing

    I thought I posted all three parts last night but apparently the third did not make it in my sleep deprived haze... Here is the final portion of what I have to share for now:


    Other materials to consider…

    Reinforcement: A quality boat cover is properly reinforced to increase its strength. Where some fabricators believe doubling or even tripling the material at the snap line, this is not the strongest way to sure it up and can and will result in snaps pulling through the cover under the right amount of stress. A quality cover will be reinforced with a high strength material specifically designed to withstand abuse stitched into all fastener points (zippers, snaps, etc). All rub points on sharp objects or joints should be reinforced with a heavy material to protect the cover itself as well but consideration must be used to ensure the material doesn't mark up the boat when it rubs.

    Thread…
    Four types of thread exist:

    COTTON:
    Cotton is a food source for mildew. It is subject to UV degradation. Therefore
    the thread will only last approximately 1 year. Stay away from cotton.

    NYLON:
    Nylon is better than cotton, but due to UV degradation, it will only last
    approximately 2-3 years. Nylon is popular in upholstery but not ideal for the prolonged exposure associated with a boat cover.

    POLYESTER:
    Polyester is a much better choice as it will stand up to the elements much
    better than cotton or nylon. Polyester will last approximately 4-5 years, so
    your canvas will probably need to be re-stitched once during it’s lifetime – a process that usually involves 1-2 hours of labor. Polyester is the minimum I use / would accept.


    TENARA:
    Tenara is made of Teflon and is guaranteed for the life of the canvas. We
    offer Tenara as an option as it is extremely expensive, adding approximately
    17% over the cost of the canvas. Tenara should be used on all canvas that
    is subject to salt air and water.

    In the end it comes down to Polyester vs. Tenara and is really a pay now or pay later situation.

    Hardware...

    Before going into business, like most everything else involved in the covers I bought, I never discussed hardware on boat covers when purchasing. It was never mentioned to me either... Since going into business I have learned that most companies I dealt with used Nickel Coated Brass hardware. I use nothing but stainless steel myself. Originally thought to only be needed in salt water applications, we’ve found that the softer brass and nickel snaps wear out and loose shape where stainless retain their strength better. Some of the other canvas shops will tell you its overkill which I’ll agree with to an extent because there are cheaper alternatives, but personally if it costs me a couple dollars more to use stainless on your boat to ensure you or I don’t have to make a trip for a repair because the snap that was $0.03 less failed I’ll eat the loss to keep both of us happy.

    Styles of Fabrication

    Now that I’ve put you to sleep on the different types of materials, I should mention the equally important fabrication techniques. As far as I’m aware of, two types of fabrication techniques exist; pattern / template based fabrication or fitted fabrication. I am trained on custom fitted canvas instead of pattern / template based so if I misrepresent the latter I apologize for my assumptions or misunderstandings but I’m just repeating what I’ve been told and researched.

    Patterned Fabrication
    Pattern or template based fabrication is performed by using a lightweight material such as pattern paper or plastic that is taped together and draped over the boat. Folds are marked on the material along with other items such as snap locations in the case of some shops. The pattern is then laid overtop of the cover material and the marks are transferred before the cover is sewn. Some shops will then use the marks of the snap locations to install the snaps on a bench mounted snap machine enabling them to install all of the snaps in under 5 minutes. It is a high speed fitting technique used in production type shops where efficiency is given a higher importance than fit and finish. The truth is 1/8” is a mile in a boat cover and easy to gain or lose when transferring marks from a pattern or template to the final cover fabric. Add a few of these 1/8” errors up and you’re now ½” off and have a cover that you have to tug to get on or off at the bow. As a result, it is my understanding that the covers are intentionally left loose fitting so they aren’t too hard to get on the boat or at least that is my assumption as to why the patterned covers I bought were so loose fitting. Have you ever had to fight to get a cover to snap all the way around? Its snaps were most likely installed at the workbench instead of the boat – this is a case where 1/8” is definitely a mile.

    Fitted Fabrication
    The process I was taught which is used in high end fabrication is fitted canvas. This process involves making a “blanket” larger than the final cover size and fitting it to the boat like a tailor fits a suit on a person. The room for error is eliminated and also allows the most taut fitting cover that contours the shape of the boat while easily being removed or installed. (A tight close fit is desirable even more so on a trailering cover, the less excess fabric blowing around the less abuse the cover will take. A cover whipping around like a flag on a windy day will be a short lived cover) Each snap is installed ON THE BOAT one by one in a tedious process that takes 5-10 times as long as using a bench mounted machine, but it guarantees that each snap lines up with the stud precisely and goes on easily.

    Patterned and fitted fabrication both have a home in the marine market. Patterning allows for faster production which results in cheaper prices. Fitted fabrication offers an unmatched level of fit and finish which helps lead to a longer lifespan. Personally I have owned patterned boat covers made by the other businesses in the Pittsburgh area and truthfully, until I learned about fitted covers I was content with wrestling the less than perfect fitting ones on. They kept my boats dry in most cases, but some were almost impossible to get on and off and an annoying / time consuming process at the dock as a result. After learning of the differences between the different types, I prefer fitted covers for the obvious reasons but not everyone needs what I consider to be the superior product because it comes at a premium price compared to others it seems. Because the fitted canvas is a more time consuming manufacturing process, I’ll be up front and say it costs more due to the labor involved. Fitted fabrication doesn't mean you'll be without your boat an extra week, but a few extra hours are involved. If you are looking for the most affordable cover on the market, a patterned cover may be a better choice for you. If fit and finish is a concern to you, a tailored / custom fitted cover is a popular choice for you. I'll end in saying just consider a suit off the rack to one tailored to your body; each one fits, but one fits more precise and the value associated with each is appropriate.

    PART IV finishes the saga...

  8. #8
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    Default

    Nice post thanks for the break downs on everything. It was useful for me and im not even getting new canvas, and im sure its educational for everyone in the market or just personal knowledge so thanks for the free canvas class!!!!!



  9. #9
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    Default PART IV - THE END (for now)

    WARRANTIES

    Any reputable fabric manufacturer provides a limited warranty on their product ranging anywhere from 3 years up to 10 years, but NONE of them will cover the labor costs involved with replacing the defective material or entire cover if the entire thing is lost. With that in mind, the warranty doesn’t define the product, but you should consider that if a manufacturer says the product will last 5 years, they’re confident that you’ll get at least that long out of it.

    One twist to warranties involves the quality level of materials used and is an often unasked but critical question in my opinion. A roll of fabric is allowed so many imperfections in the roll before it is no longer considered “first run” and gets branded as “seconds.” Seconds are typically sold to other countries (nice, I know) which then thanks to the use of the internet, get sold back to fabricators here at competitive prices to “first run” fabrics sold by reputable suppliers. I’m unaware of any shops in the region using “seconds” but it is something I’d be certain of before buying another cover if I closed my doors tomorrow now that I know about "seconds." I’ve been asked a few times before myself and I don’t feel it is insulting to the business owner to ask about the quality of his or her materials, I took it as an educated buyer asking a relevant question. The reason I am mentioning this is because the manufacturers warranties are null and void on seconds.

    Finally, I’ll also say that I am unaware of any of the other canvas shop's guarantees on their fabrication. I’m not saying they don’t exist, I suspect they have them, but it would be insulting of me to ask them what their policy is because I am a competing business owner so I am unaware of them. I consider offering a guarantee on my work a way of showing the confidence and pride in it and not a form of insurance on your purchase but that is important to the consumer obviously. When I met the other business owners, I didn’t spend time asking them what their policy is but you should ask each company you deal with if that is something you are interested in having. Despite the best techniques used, failures beyond a fabricator's control can occur which is why I stand behind my products guaranteeing them to be free from manufacturing defects for a period of 1 year. Should a problem occur it is covered free of charge for one year from the date of purchase – to protect yourself ask your canvas shop what their policy is and hopefully they have one in place.

    If you made it this far, congratulations and good luck in purchasing your new canvas or cover. If you would like to learn more about my products feel free to contact me using the information listed on the “Business Directory / Non-riverfront Businesses” section of BoatPittsburgh.com

    I rely on forums of various topics from home repair to boat / auto repair for help on a weekly basis so I'm happy to share my knowledge with the community. If I can help at all, don't hesitate to ask and if I don't know the answer I'll be honest and tell you before finding it. As I stated in my profile, I'm a boater first and a business owner second! I have an idea of how I like dealing with businesses as a consumer which is how I try to conduct mine. This is why I have an open and honest policy with everything I can share. I've found that my customers appreciate the brutal honesty, but I'm just here to inform you all and help your purchase regardless of where you decide on. While my intent is not to wrangle you in as my customers with these posts, I won't turn you away - so if I can help please mention you heard about me on BoatPittsburgh.com.

    Thanks,
    Greg Nelis

  10. #10
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    Default who said it was free ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by ANTI-2665 View Post
    Nice post thanks for the break downs on everything. It was useful for me and im not even getting new canvas, and im sure its educational for everyone in the market or just personal knowledge so thanks for the free canvas class!!!!!
    My pleasure everyone... but i never said it was free! If we meet at an event or on the water somewhere I've been known to drink a beer or two in my time off so feel free to toss one my way as payment!

  11. #11
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    Default

    No prob we always got extra cold ones and with that info you could drink all summer for free ha ha



  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ANTI-2665 View Post
    No prob we always got extra cold ones and with that info you could drink all summer for free ha ha

    Greg - you better stop by my boat to get that beer... You have to get up pretty early in the morning to find a full beer on ANTI's boat!!!!

  13. #13
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    Default

    Sounds good Grant, when it gets warmer I'll look into tracking you guys down!

  14. #14
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    Default The Earl Scheib canvas fabricators

    ....One more thing I failed to touch on that I would love if every one of my customers knew concerns sticker shock.

    For those of you who have ever seen an Earl Scheib's $99 paint job or today's equivalent and compared it to a quality paint job costing $1k or more, you realize there is a difference. The same thing applies to canvas and boat covers.

    The same thing goes for factory paint jobs vs. custom paint jobs. If any of you are gearheads like myself, you've looked closely at the paint on a new Cadillac at the auto show and shook your head at the orange peel in the finish when compared to a properly wet sanded and polished paint job that looks like glass. The same thing goes for canvas - on most low to even the highest of mid level boats, the canvas / covers / etc are not the best thing out there.

    I'm not in the Earl Scheib category and instead consider my product to be up there in quality because of the techniques and styles used, and while that doesn't mean I am 10 times as much, I will tell everyone on the water I am not the Earl Scheib canvas company. However, I'm beginning to learn they do exist in our area. I'm in no way speaking badly of anyone and they're not names you hear a lot about if at all (I've never seen their names on this site so PLEASE don't think I'm referring to anyone in particular). Earl Scheib Canvas has its place in the industry as well so, again - please don't take this as an attack on anyone.

    I've been to marinas on the lakes and rivers where my jaw dropped at the site of a brand new cover with raw, unbound, scissor cut edges just dying for a wind storm to start to fray. The single stitched "one fabric laid on top of the other" attempt at a seam with the same raw cut edge frightened me. Pockets of fabric waiting to pool water. I said to a friend with me at the time, "I give that cover 1 year before its in need of repair and 3 years before its replaced" but there were dozens of them scattered all over that marina so people apparently like the product and its price. Despite the fact that I'd never accept such a cover for my boat - somewhere out there a group of people exist that are happy with it so it too has a place in the industry I guess.

    If you pick up two things from this let them be this:

    1. Earl Scheib canvas exists and so do high end canvas shops along with everyone in between so keep that in mind when shopping around. If you are quoted an Earl Scheib price and go for a second quote elsewhere - don't loft obscenities at someone whose price is 2-3 times higher (yes, it happens) because you're probably comparing apples to oranges. Instead, question why the other person is so cheap in addition to wondering if this second place is really that high. If you're truly comparing apples to apples - then its time to realize one person may be overcharging!

    2. Look for evidence of their quality of work. Pictures, other boats, work currently in the shop - anything you can see so your jaw doesn't drop when you see what I saw on the dock that day. Regardless of whether your satisfied with the Earl Scheib job or expect a higher quality, know what you are getting before putting your money in the business owner's hands.

    And finally, if you find yourself in a canvas shop that is bad mouthing the competition down the street think twice about them. You'll notice I'm trying to be as objective as possible as to explain how and why the prices can vary, but I'll never say "Earl Scheib Canvas does $%^%& work." I will encourage you to look at the difference between their technique, materials, and finished product and make your own decision - but I'll never tell you their work sucks even if that is my personal opinion because I'd rather you decide for yourself. I guess what I'm getting at is there is more to a good business than their prices so keep that in mind.

    Lunch is over... back to the fun part. I hope this helps



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Forest Hills
    Posts
    734

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Grantz View Post
    Greg - you better stop by my boat to get that beer... You have to get up pretty early in the morning to find a full beer on ANTI's boat!!!!
    I think I need to get him full of beers before he quotes me tomorrow. Must add case of miller drafts to my shopping today!!!


    Chuck

  16. #16

    Default new cover coming soon

    I'm needing a new cover for this season. I visited Nelis after the boat show. The stuff he had in his shop last month looked to be top notch work. Nice fit and finish compared to my last cover. I'm penciled in to have him make me a 2 piece cockpit cover for my bowrider once I pull it out of the mines next month. I'll be sure to give a review after the work is done.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Near Saxonburg, PA
    Posts
    67

    Default Thanks greenyone & chuck

    Chuck - that is exactly why I don't drink and estimate work... I'd be out of business in a week. Speaking of which - your quotes are in your inbox. Thanks again.

    Greenyone - I appreciate the support.



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