After 11 years doing canvas in the Galveston area, we have seen most every problem that you might have with your canvas. This page is intended as a location for us to post issues that you will probably face with your canvas over time. While you see the problems with the canvas on your boat, we see the same problems on all the boats we service. Hopefully as you look through these tips, you will be able to glean a little insight into what you've got on your boat and how to take care of it. If you have any specific questions, email or call us and we'll do our best to come up with an answer for you.
Thread -Ties It All Together
Thread is the thing that holds all canvas projects together. Yet thread is also the weak link whether on the canvas or sails for your boat. The 2 types of thread that are used when making any canvas product for a boat are either Polyester or Tenara. As with everything thing there are always tradeoffs which we will consider.
First let's talk about Polyester thread. While polyester thread comes in everything from 46 to 138 weight, generally for canvas it will be made with 92 and sometimes 138. It is the least expensive thread available for these products. Polyester thread continually loses strength over the lifespan on the product. You need to make sure that the thread is UV resistant, otherwise the sun will quickly eat it up. Most often your project will be sewn in either white or black thread. Obviously for lighter colored canvas, white will be the obvious choice. The disadvantage to the light colored thread is that it doesn't last as long in the sun. Generally you can expect it to last 2 to 2 1/2 years before you need a restitch. Dark thread lasts about twice as long. Since Sunbrella (most often used in Texas) has a life span of about 10 years, you will need to have it restitched at least 2 or 3 times. Cost is dependent upon the size of the project but any restitches over time adds to the cost of the product.
Tenara on the other hand is more expensive, being about twice the cost of polyester thread. It doesn't have the initial strength of polyester thread. The advantage to Tenara is that it doesn't deteriorate in the sun. That means barring abuse (ie. extremely high winds, abrasion etc.) you will not have to restitch your project during it's life. If you are planning on keeping your boat, an initial outlay for Tenara will pay off over the lifespan of your canvas.
How can you check the thread to see if it is still strong? If you have what a seamstress calls a seam ripper or something similar, put just the tip of it under a stitch and pull up. If the thread is still good it will not not break. If it does, then you need a restitch of your canvas.
The choice is yours, but it's better to make an informed decision that can save you money in the long run. At Sundowner Canvas, we always use Tenara on your project at no additional cost to you as the customer.