Finally got a little time to do some work so I made new seats and motor box for the back of the boat. The plywood for the original motor box and seats was rotten to the the core so everything had to be rebuilt including new plywood, cushions, and vinyl. This is how I did it, take note, this is my first time sewing vinyl and I have not sewn since I was a kid so bear with me.
So this is one of my installments on restoring my 22 foot aluminum Sylvan boat. The boat is an inboard outboard so there is a padded motor box in the back with a custom sized jump seat on each side of the motor. The vinyl all throughout the boat was pretty much shot so in my ultimate wisdom I decided to take on the project and redo the interior. Heck, I sewed back in middle school, what was that.... 25 years ago...... I figured piece of cake.
Step one was to get a sewing machine so off to craigslist I went. $35 later I had a Singer 237 cast iron beast but in Italy in the early 60's and the thing has no problem chomping through eight layers of marine vinyl. So after about two weeks of sewing practice I figured I was ready to go so let's get started on this project!
Step 1: Procure Materials!
Well we now have the sewing machine so what else is needed? A lot, I will try to compile a list
Marine Vinyl (ebay has this pretty cheap)
Marine Thread (Bonded Polyester in the V69 size is recommended)
16 or 18 gauge ball point needles
Foam (Joaans fabric with 50% off coupon is not too bad on price.)
Plywood for the bases (more on plywood below)
Stainless Staples and staple gun
Paint for the plywood (I used some old leftover white)
Circular Saw (to cut the plywood)
Sander (plywood again)
Electric Carving Knife (for cutting the foam)
Scissors (Cutting the vinyl)
Double Sided tape
Zipper foot for sewing machine
I am almost sure I missing something, before you ever start do a lot of research, some good internet resources for marine sewing are www.sailrite.com and the forums at www.iboats.com.
Now, on plywood. There are many grades of plywood, some say marine grade is what you need, others say pressure treated. Here is what I found with research:
1. Marine Grade - This could be many types of softwood glued together with exterior waterproof glue. Marine grade is not treated for rot, it must be kept dry somehow (paint) and will rot. What makes marine grade is the waterproof glue and lack of voids within the layers, this provides superior strength for structural components like transoms of a boat.
2. Exterior Plywood - This wood made from many different materials uses a waterproof glue like marine ply but the quality of the wood is much lower. There will be voids and these days the quality of the wood is pretty darn low. I used Southern Yellow Pine CDX for this project, a 1/2" sheet cost me $13 vs about $50 locally for marine ply.
3. Pressure Treated ply - This plywood is treated against rot, caution must be taken when using any treated wood due to the toxic chemicals involved. This plywood is basically cheap exterior grade ply that is then treated for rot and insects. This wood is relatively cheap about $25 a sheet but usually comes wet so expect warping and twisting as it drys if not frames tightly.
For this project I went cheap with CSX exterior plywood and chose to paint it with exterior latex house paint, two coats. Since this wood is not structural to the boat and Southern Yellow Pine is about five times stronger than the fir used in Marine ply I should be fine. Now on to the instructions.