Dillon Francis Oberholzer
Marine Upholstery Shop Layout &
Foam Forming Notes
I am just showing off. This is what I create in the final phase of initial production design. The factories like to see what an interior will actually look like prior to sending my patterns to a large manufacturer. This is where I walk away and get a cheque. Maybe I get a call when the next model comes out.
Normally the larger companies have three or more different companies or designers make up a model that their design teams evaluate.
This work is nice but sporadic and often leads nowhere.
Having a good embroiderer is one of the keys to finishing touches.
Marine upholstery is completely different from house or auto upholstery. I have taken on a couple of couches and cars but once your shop and staff are geared up to do marine work there really is no turning back or even sideways.
Your material supply and cutting orientation is of paramount importance to the patterning and final stitching and stretching. This makes all the difference.
Storage container for drying and job staging, measuring and prep.
Structural Repair / fabrication Area.
Patterning / Digitizing and drafting area.
New Fabric Cutting Area.
Sewing / stitching tables / compartmentalized.
Foam cutting area incl disassembled foam parts repair
New part assembly and pre-stretch area
Final Stapling and finishing area
Owning a shop where we did 8-10 full boat interiors a week, without separated dedicated tables and areas was impossible.
With compressed air over head and retractable electric cables with plug points on all sides of each table you can now be efficient.
Each work station needs to be set up with all tools and each employee needs to know the other's job is so that they can understand what they need to look for in the piece they receive and what the next person requires when they are finished with their part of the process.
I cannot stress this enough.
Your shop, your tables and layout is the most important tool. Clean it !
An upholstery shop is a well organized, tidy, oiled and tuned machine.
Every staff member needs to know this.
Depending on whether you are making a outside cushion, seat or bolster or an interior part you need to choose you foam appropriately.
The cutting, designing and foam forming is an integral part of the upholstery fabrication process.
There are multiple choices. Each has a different comfort level and specific application usage.
Most clients don't know the difference. However I hate doing a job again in three or 4 years. A good upholstery job should last 7 years .
Composite foams are the way to go for the ultimate comfort and longevity. E-Z Dry foam combines with synthetic tufting will give your cushion, bolster or seat the rigidity where it needs , comfort and push out the fabric nicely to take up any give or lack there of due to bad fabric cutting orientation when trying to get the most out of a roll.
There are a 1000 words I could write on foams, drop me a line if you need some info.
Marine Upholstery fabrics
Phifer-Tex / Mesh
Each has its own uses and temperament. Call me for more info
Once upon a time I did a line of over 50 full interiors..... The "F- ing" fabric started going pink and green from mold within 3 months !
The fabric supply company ( Bainbridge International) never reimbursed or took responsibility. That was over $150.000 I lost. It took me an entire year to work the the re-work in to my existing schedule, but it got done.
So a word of warning, check you fabric supplier ! This was from the biggest vinyl manufacturer in the USA!