Here is the cabin settee when we bought Bob. I’m sure it looked very cool in 1985.
Besides needing a fashion update, the foam inside was falling apart and leaving foam dust underneath the cushions. This meant the job would be more complex and expensive than if we simply had to change the covers.
We sourced the foam from a couple of factory outlets in southern Sydney. We got high quality foam, thicker foam for the aft cabin berths and had the factory cut it to size and shape using the old, manky foam as a template. This probably wasn’t necessary in the end but at least we know the foam will last a long time. With the settee foam we decided it would be cheaper if we got a couple of big rectangles of foam and cut the pieces to size ourselves.
I did some research online about different ways to cut foam. A lot of people had said how difficult foam is to cut. In the end I decided the easiest way would be to buy a special foam-cutting blade and cut it with my jigsaw. I got this Festool blade from Sydney Tools:
Using the old cushions as templates I marked the foam and then placed it on a couple of trestle tables with a narrow gap down the middle. It turns out that foam is very difficult to cut if the foam is allowed to bobble and wobble around, but if it is held relatively firmly it is pretty easy.
This setup worked wonderfully for cutting the foam straight through at 90 degrees. When we had to cut it at other angles for certain cushions though it was a bit trickier; I think this was because it was harder to get the foam not to bobble around without the shoe of the jigsaw to hold the foam in place.
Once all the foam was cut to size we needed to cover it. We had already bought the cover material from an online fabric merchant based in the USA. Unbelievably, it was cheaper to buy it overseas (about $160) and have it shipped ($180) over than to buy it in Australia. I really should get into the importation business.
I had this idea that we would learn a lot by making the covers ourselves. An experienced fasion designer and seamstress friend stated in no uncertain terms that it would be very challenging and helped us find a lovely woman in Chinatown who made each cushion cover for $30 ($50 for the two big berth covers). Yes, we had to schlepp the cushions in to town in two lots and back again but I’m sure this $340 saved our marriage!
All in all this project probably cost around 1.3 Boat Dollars. They make zero functional difference but they make us very happy!