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Making new bench seat Answered

I need to remake the rear bench seat for my boat. The old one is about 100lbs and I would like something a little lighter. I can make a new frame with aluminum, but I am stuck with what to replace the cushions with. Whatever foam they are using is super heavy as well. Is there some way to remake the seat with styrofoam beads beads or something and still maintain form?

I considered making a cheap gel seat using a thinned out mixture of silicone, but that wouldn't be any lighter than the original bench and would likely be heavier, actually.

I think foam beads would work pretty slick.

Discussions

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Downunder35m

3 years ago

Marine upholstery is usually designed as a floatation device, you should check local and manufacturers recommendations first to avoid trouble later on.
Having said that, weight is often an issue with boats...
A lot of weight is locked in the frame itself.
You can cut good sized holes into the big sheets and cover with flyscreen wire (aluminium) to reduce a few kg here.
For the foam go to a rubber or upholstery shop and ask for something that is in your comfort zone and offers water repelling features.
If no luck or too expensive use the standard foam and make sure to have enough open areas (the holes from before) so the foam can air out properly.
I would no go for an aluminium frame as unless you can solder/weld it the joints will not last long under the abuse caused by a rocking boat.
With proper plywood you use a thickness that suits and reduce most of the weight through cut outs, making it possible to use thicker sheets than the original while still lower on the weight.

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Cerd71Downunder35m

Reply 3 years ago

Seeing as how this one was bolted in, there is absolutely no way that these were meant as a flotation device. Also, even if the bench was not bolted down, the weight of the bench would be too difficult for anybody to throw. So far, I haven't found a water resistant padding. Molded cushions retain moisture. The only saving grace for them is the water resistant vinyl fabric that is over the top of it. I have some of the throwable flotation cushions in there as well and I can feel that it is just a bunch of layers of cheap plastic foam. That's why I was thinking about the foam beads.

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Cerd71

3 years ago

It looks very similar to this one. I was thinking that I could remove the plywood and make a fiberglass cast, then just add some lightweight filler. I just don't think poly beads will stay in place in that form.

boat_bench.jpg
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Cerd71

3 years ago

For now, this is all I have. You can sort of see it in the back. I can take a better one later. It will be freshwater only. This one was screwed in, but I would like to make something that I can snap into place, probably with some floor flanges and some aluminum posts.

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caitlinsdad

3 years ago

Got any pics of the old seat? What kind of boat, fresh or saltwater? Were cushions meant as spare life preservers/removeable?