& Covers - canvas and fabric -
TV Fabrics, Fabrics for Industrial, Marine applications
We carry the finest names - Sunforger, Odyssey III and Top Gun.
Distributor of fabrics including canvas, nylon, polyester, vinyl & acrylic fabrics. Fabrics are used for industrial, marine, recreational & active/outerwear applications.
Sunforger 100% Cotton Boat Duck, Marine Finish, Boatshrunk
-Weights: 10.10 oz and 12.63 oz/sq. yard
-Colors: Pearl Gray, Colorless, Suntan. Also available Colorless, FR per CPAI-84
Sales: $10 - 24.9 Mil
Activities: Distributor, Manufacturer
Year Company Founded: 1974
Brand Names: Sunforger
Officials: Robert Burns, V.P.
Covers: Boat Information
Distributor of boat canopies, covers or tops including cotton boat duck. Specifications of boat tops include 10.10 oz./sq.yd. & 12.63 oz./sq. yd. weight. Boat tops are available in pearl gray, colorless & suntan colors.
The canvas and Care
Most boatowners would be shocked at the amount they have invested if they took the time to add up the cost of all the canvas products onboard. A professionally made and fitted set of canvas for many midsize cruisers can run well over a thousand dollars, while a large yacht’s complement of fabric can top $10,000. Caring for this investment pays dividends not only in the boat’s appearance and resale value, but in its maintenance costs as well.
Even the smallest boat usually has at least one canvas products onboard. It may be as large as a full boat cover to keep the boat clean or as small as an outboard motor cover. Larger boats often have an impressive array of canvas from expensive bimini tops with elaborate cockpit enclosures or sun awnings to covers for barbeque grills, hatches and the windlass. Sailboats almost always have even more canvas in the form of sail covers, dodgers and winch covers.
The first line in defending the longevity of all canvas products is to keep it clean. Mold and mildew trapped in the fibers will not go away of their own accord and, once started, will continue to multiply. These organisms usually only develop in the presence of dirt and the moisture, which is why they first appear at seams and areas that stay damp. The stains they leave only become harder to remove with time.
In addition, grit from dirt and sand abrades the fabric. Salt is even more invidious when left on the canvas as it is not only abrasive, but keeps the fabric moist. This combination of abrasiveness and moisture absorption promotes both structural fabric destruction and even more mildew growth.
It’s best to have a cleaning routine after each use of the boat that includes hosing the canvas off. Blasting the fabric with a stream of clean fresh water after each day’s outing will remove most loose dirt and salt. Make sure that water doesn’t puddle on any area of the canvas—this indicates a low spot due to poor fit and will promote mold and mildew in that one area. If the boat is stored outside and used infrequently, the canvas should be hosed off at least monthly. If stored inside on a trailer or in a high-and-dry, make sure the canvas is completely dry before putting the boat away. Boats stored indoors in dusty areas should be covered with a cotton sheet. Don’t use plastic for a cover as it will not allow air to circulate over the canvas.
Even with regular hosing, fabrics eventually accumulate enough dirt and grease from handprints and other ground-in debris to require a more through cleaning. Fish parts, potato chip oil, drips from boat maintenance, sun screen oils and other sources are inevitable. If the boat is stored in the water at a slip, the dirt, dust and pollution in the air alone will form deposits that a simple hose job won't remove. Perhaps once during the middle of the season, and again just before laying the boat up, the canvas deserves a complete cleaning job—in an especially dirty area, attention should be paid more often.
Cleaning and Inspection
For complete cleaning of fabrics, they must be removed from the boat. Choose an area with a smooth, nonabrasive surface to conduct the inspection and cleaning. Never pull canvas across concrete—not only is the driveway dirty, but cement and asphalt are very abrasive. A grassy area can be acceptable if there are no sticks, stones or kid's toys to snag the canvas (you may have to rinse some bits of grass off when you are done). Best is to lay down a plastic tarp or vinyl sheet to provide a clean, smooth surface.
After removing all the canvas from the boat, inspect each piece for damage. Look for areas that are frayed, chafed, or have the stitching unraveling. Test the fabric around the seams by gently pulling on the. If the fabric is a victim of UV degradation, or the stitching is on its last legs, the seam may well give away. If you find a major problem area and are laying the boat up at the end of the season, now is the time to take the canvas in for some professional attention. If this is a midseason cleaning and tying the canvas up would be inconvenient, you have to judge whether the problem warrants immediate work. If you decide to wait, make a note in your maintenance log to remind yourself that repairs are required.
Start your inspection and cleaning by removing any vinyl windows that are not sewn directly to the fabric. These clear plastic sheets, often erroneously called Eisenglass, are especially prone to scratching and can be very expensive to replace. They can be cleaned with a mild soap solution, or with a very light glass cleaner such as Windex, but never with harsh detergent or any cleaner with solvents, silicones, alcohol or bleach.
After a complete rinse, dry with a soft cotton or terrycloth rag, make sure the washing and drying cloths do not have buttons, zippers or any other sharp threads that can scratch the window's surface. Do not dry with newspaper since, unlike glass, vinyl windows will be scratched by newsprint, and the wet inks may stain adjacent fabric. Once the vinyl windows and their surrounding frames are completely dry, apply a plastic cleaner. This will remove hazing and helps to keep the vinyl windows clear and flexible. There are several vinyl cleaning products on the market, some multi-part systems, designed to remove scratches in vinyl that work well.
Canvas products made of an acrylic fabric such as Sunbrella or of vinyl should also be cleaned using a mild natural soap in lukewarm water. Do not use water that's uncomfortably hot to your hand and do not use detergent or chlorine bleach. Areas with stubborn stains may take a little work with a soft-bristle brush, but take care how hard and how much you abrade the fabric as it reduces its life. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly under running water to remove all traces of the soap, dirt and salt before allowing the fabric to dry completely.
Pay special attention to snaps and zippers, especially metal ones. Clean all dirt and corrosion from their surface, an old toothbrush is a useful tool. When clean, apply a dry silicone lubricant which does not contain oils that will leave a residue.
While the canvas is drying off the boat, is an excellent time to work on the stainless steel or aluminum dodger or bimini frames. Now is the time to clean any spots of corrosion and remove salt and dirt. After washing with soap and water, a good automotive cleaner-wax will remove most stains—don’t go after deep rust with a cleanser such as Ajax or Comet, or an abrasive pad such as steel wool. Use a good rust remover for tough rust that has pitted into the metal. Never use chlorine bleach products on stainless steel because they attack the metal. Coating the metal parts with wax or a product like Boeshield after it's dry helps keep it shiny for a long time.
Canvas products Storage
The life of all canvas products is enhanced by proper storage. The first rule is to never store dirty fabrics—the cleaning guidelines above should be performed before canvas products are put away. The second rule is that they need to be kept dry. Don’t put the parts away wet and expect a pristine appearance when the next season begins.
Whether the boat is up north for winter storage or being laid up in the tropics for the hurricane season, the canvas should be removed from the boat and thoroughly cleaned before the off-season. Even when stored inside a building, biminis and dodgers are often damaged by boatyard workers or by dirt and dust in the air. Frames for winter covers, and the cover itself, should never be allowed to rest on top of dodgers or biminis since this allows chafe and usually results in discoloration. If the area is subject to heavy accumulations of snow or ice, the metal canvas frames should not be used as part of the cover structure because they might become misshapen by excess weight.
After cleaning and coating, vinyl windows should be stored lying flat - rolling them in a large, loose coil is a second-best method. But never fold windows because this almost guarantees permanent creases or wrinkles in them. And it should go without saying that heavy weights should never be placed on top of the vinyl. When storing windows place a cloth such as a bed sheet or towel between each panel. Never use anything with an embossed monogram or logo as the pattern will transfer to the window during storage.
The acrylic and vinyl fabric portions of the canvas can be folded and stored flat or loosely rolled after cleaning and drying. Don't put a lot of pressure on folded parts and never store anything heavy on top of them to avoid breaking the fibers during storage. If you live in a damp climate, you should choose to store them inside the house for the off-season. If they must be left in an attic, garage or basement, slip each canvas item into a plastic bag to keep dirt, insects and rodents at bay.
Now is the time to send any damaged canvas off to the shop for repair or replacement. Many canvas shops are overwhelmed with work at the beginning of the new season but some are so slow during the off-season that they offer special prices on repairs and replacements.
The Bottom Line
Taking care of canvas may take a few extra minutes every time the boat is used, an afternoon at midseason and a little extra time during the layup process. But the rewards are many, a boat that always looks clean and bright, windows that you can actually see through, and zippers and snaps that really work, especially when the next season rolls around. All of these things increase the value and resale of the boat. But perhaps most importantly, getting six years use out of a set of canvas instead of only three adds a lot of extra dollars to the boating budget.