Nav Station Cushion

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January 2004 --

This is my very first boat cushion.

I spent two years looking for a fabric for my cushions,
and bought this sample yard in 2002 just to observe and make plans.
This is "Amulet Royal Blue Fabric", from SailRite.

It figured it would work well, as there are large patterns and small patterns, and dark colors but a light color that reflected light a bit and didn't make the fabric seem dark. It is just the kind of thing that will hide a stain well... just the kind of thing that you can drip used motor oil on and not spend the rest of your life pissed off about it.

I marked on it with a few different pens and markers, and couldn't detect a stain. Then I draped the fabric over the interior benches to see if I could live with it. I decided it would work great.

In 2003 they discontinued the fabric. That sucks.

Rather than start the search over and delay completion of the Nav Station project,
I decided to use the Amulet fabric for that one cushion.
It's the one cushion that'll get the most abuse,
so what the heck. Let it be different.

I tried this "Dry Fast"
foam from SailRite.

It's interesting because they load the foam with hydrogen and then explode it, so it blows all the cells open.
It doesn't soak up water.

Water will stay in due to surface tension,
but not like a sponge.
For the Nav station, that'll be good, since
it's right below the companionway.

You can cut foam cushion stuff with an electric knife, but a Ginsu works
just as well.

(And it will still slice a tomato.)

I smoothed down
the sharp corners
with scissors.

I made a little pattern out of paper to use when cutting the foam.

It'll come in handy when sewing, too.

To allow water to drain out, the bottom is "Nautolex Vinyl Underlining", a vinyl coated dacron fabric mesh,
that also has non-skid properties.

I want this cushion to dry out easily.

To make it more comfy looking,
I covered the foam with polyester batting. It's glued to the foam with
" 3M Super 77 Multiuso Adhesivo."

This cushion is very light, and needs to be held in place
so it doesn't fly off.

Under the cushion, I attached plastic D-rings,
using 1 inch nylon to spread the load out across the bottom.

Depending on the stiffness of the foam, it might be necessary to put a layer of closed cell foam (with lots of drain holes punched through) on the bottom to that it's not obvious when the cushion 'bottoms out.'

However, the 'Dry Fast' foam is much stiffer than expected, so I won't use it this time.

It's a spray-on contact cement, and works really well.

The rings hook onto these stainless 'hammock hooks' from ABI. Normally the hooks are a bit bigger, but I stuck a 1/8" piece of steel in the hook and pounded it with a hammer to
make them flatter.

It occurred to me that this is actually a perfect use for Velcro.
I just didn't think of it.

As far as first time experiments go, this worked out fine.
It looks nice in the New Nav Station.

However, I think I'll hire somebody else
to do the rest of the cushions,
unless I suddenly find myself with
a lot of time on my hands.

It's a bummer that this fabric isn't available any longer, as it has a nice pattern to hide stains and dirt
without looking really dark.

The 2" Dry Fast foam is stiffer than I'd expected,
and it raises the nav station seat up a bit
more than I would have liked.

Update: After sitting on it for a few months,
it seems to be settling in nicely.
(Or else I'm getting used to it!)

Note: I remade this cushion in 2009, when
making cushions for the entire boat.
Details at the bottom of the page.

Update 2009 --

Well, since I decided to make all new cushions around the entire boat, it seemed like a good idea to make the nav station cushion match.

I decided to make it a bit thicker, and overstuff the fabric better, so the edges were covered with s
ome high quality
one inch foam.

Actually, I had to take the piece off of the back, as it was
too much.

The new foam was covered again with Dacron batting, held in place with
spray glue.

So, this is now it looks in 2009.


Here's the project where I finished the job with all new cushions for the entire boat.