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JuneC
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« #15 : March 05, 2012, 08:02:45 PM »

Dont know where I read that Aqua Tite was "in".  Now that's gonna drive me nuts till I figure it out. 

June

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Therapy
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Therapy--ya its the boats name


« #16 : March 06, 2012, 08:44:52 AM »

  Wow  didnt no i was going to start a fire storm  :)
 my top is 6 years old and is in good shape
 it just needed some seam and ziper repair
 and i replace all the glass sides and back drape

  the top is a little faded  im thinking 2 years ill be replacing it
  ive been teaching myself how to pattern tops
  im on page 9 in the search area under pattern i think 2011
  
                                   Mike H
« : March 07, 2012, 08:04:59 AM Therapy »

Juki 563
Peppy
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« #17 : March 07, 2012, 07:27:13 AM »

I wasn't trying to start a fire storm, honest. I'm stating my opinion in the hopes I'll get some answers. Sunbrella has an excellent opportunity to do some outreach here.

We use a lot of labour in a boat top, we want to use the best materials. At one time that was Sunbrella hands down. But I'm convinced that it's not the same as it used to be. It seems to feel different, sew different, and more light can be seen through it (water too). We've spent quite a bit of time talking about this at the shop, but it's all conjecture. We don't really know anything. I really hope Sunbrella sheds some light on my concerns.

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regalman190
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Custom Marine Canvas Rochester, NY


« #18 : March 07, 2012, 08:34:00 AM »

I agree with you Peppy. I've notied a change in Sunbrella as well. The other thing I noticed is the 46" seems to have a firmer "hand" than the 60" But it all feels thinner. A few times lately, when stretching a top to tighten it up, the stitching might pull out (as you said, thinner), where that didn't happen before.
I'm using more Recacril this year. Customers like the Recacril "claim" to zero stretch. On the other hand, that causes some difficulties when fitting. Would definitely like to hear from Sunbrella.

Regal Canvas
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« #19 : March 07, 2012, 08:28:21 PM »

Bumping this thread for great justice. Sunbrella are you out there?

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Mojo
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« #20 : March 08, 2012, 07:20:53 AM »

Actually, the 303 treatment you want to consider is this product:

http://www.303products.com/shop303/index.cfm/category/29/303-high-tech-fabric-guard.cfm

The other product that Peppy posted is an awesome protectant for tires, vinyls, rubber products, etc.

Aerospace 303 supports my seminars with product samples, literature and giveaways. I encourage any of you that if you would like to sell their products to contact Roger at Aerospace and give him your company e-mail and he will send you a price list. They are very good at supporting their distributors as well as offering technical advice.

I recommend 303's Fabric Guard to all my customers and also tell them to apply it twice a year after washing their fabric. As with all acrylic fabrics they should be cleaned with a non detergent cleaner such as Woolite or Deft to preserve the finish. Steve from Sattler who did a seminar with me also recommended this process and the 303 fabric guard brand on all Sattler fabric. Recaccril and Sunbrella I assume also recommend non detergent cleaners as well as the Fabric Guard. The one thing customers want to avoid is harsh cleaners and detergent based cleaners not to mention any type of treatment that contains petroleum distillates. All of these will ruin the acrylic finish on fabric.

There. You just took part in a little of what I cover during my seminars. :)

I wished I could take credit for this knowledge but to be honest Aerospace 303, Miami Mike, Recassens and the fine folks at Sattler have spent a great deal of time edumucating me. The support I have gotten from all of these people have made a huge difference in my business. Like Steve from Sattler told me " the more successful I can make you, the more product you will use and the more money Mike and I will make." :)

Chris
Mojo
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« #21 : March 08, 2012, 07:54:36 AM »

Bobbin:

The vast majority of the fading I have seen has been in the darker red's, namely burgundys. The red pigment really takes a hit down here in Florida. The lighter colors do pretty good. I have not seen many fading issues with Recacril or Sattler. I just got in a 5 year old coach all done in Sunbrella. It was a charcoal tweed. It was my largest job to date from one customer - 4 slide toppers and 4 window awnings. I was impressed with the Sunbrella in as far as how it held up with its color. It looked very good. But the big issue was the thread breakage and stretch on the slide toppers. The awnings were all in good shape but the customer decided to change colors on everything at the same time. The slide toppers were stretched out and distorted badly and needed to be replaced.

You have to remember that most slide toppers are level and horizontal and collect water in the center. On a large slide topper the fabric can hold 3 or 4 gallons of water. This is over 30 lbs of weight. The sun then comes out, heats the water and distorts the fabric and creates permanent dips and bowls in the fabric. Sattler and Recacril seem to hold up well to this process because of its weave process. This is why I have standardized on these two products and actually I now use
90 % Sattler products.

I get very few jobs because of fading. Most of the orders come from broken thread and stretched fabric. The biggest culprit is broken thread. As long as Carefree, A & E and Girard keep manufacturing their slide toppers and awnings with V-92 Poly thread I will have a lot of business. The minute they all switch to Solarfix or Tenara I am probably going to close my doors. :)

The Poly thread they are using is lasting 2 to 3 years from what I am seeing. Some have made it 4 and 5 years if they are in Northern climates. I recently got a customer who had degraded and broken thread on his toppers on his 2011 coach. I just recently shipped several orders to Arizona. Obviously Florida is a huge market for me. :)

I want to thank the Poly thread manufacturers for the business as this has been a banner 12 months. :) Speaking of which I just did a quick estimate of how much fabric I have burned through in the last 6 months - 400 Yards. Yikes. That is a whole lot of sewing for a one man shop. I wont get into the crying jags I have had over ordering spools of Solarfix. I have used up several of those spools as well and I am still crying every time I order more. :)

Chris
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Marine canvas & upholstery SWFL


« #22 : March 08, 2012, 01:51:41 PM »

Chris why don't the toppers angle down to shed water you. Ever see a awning straight out to collect water

Mojo
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« #23 : March 08, 2012, 02:06:52 PM »

No idea. Some of the newer coaches have the slide toppers mounted higher on the coach side which sheds water. But most still have the coach side and slide out side about even. It is a crazy and stupid design.

Chris
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« #24 : March 12, 2012, 06:51:46 PM »


The Poly thread they are using is lasting 2 to 3 years from what I am seeing. Some have made it 4 and 5 years if they are in Northern climates. I recently got a customer who had degraded and broken thread on his toppers on his 2011 coach. I just recently shipped several orders to Arizona. Obviously Florida is a huge market for me. :)


We get 5 or more years from our thread. Most customers don't care after that since they'll have sold the boat by then. Our customers will not pay more for tenara. Obviously boaters and RV'ers are different animals. Sailboaters usually do plan on keeping their boat longer, but their also too cheap to pay more for their already "outrageously overpriced" canvas. Besides, after 5 or more years they likely need other repairs on their top, and a restitch is no big deal. And it sells a bottle of 303.

Too bad Sunbrella won't respond.... You should give them a few tips on marketing Mojo. I don't think they get how this social networking works.

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Peppy
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« #25 : March 13, 2012, 11:17:08 AM »


[/quote]
Too bad Sunbrella won't respond.... You should give them a few tips on marketing Mojo. I don't think they get how this social networking works.
[/quote]

Well shut my mouth. Sunbrella phoned me today. Had an interesting talk. One thing- seems the 'made in China' thing is a half truth. He said the stuff made there is furniture fabrics for all the furniture made there. And that it loses it's NAFTA cert if the yarn is spun elsewhere and imported (USA, France or China). I learned some other things too. Thank you for getting back to me Sunbrella!

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ahkahn
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« #26 : March 14, 2012, 07:54:14 AM »

You know, seeing these comments about Sunbrella, how bad it fades, and the fact that Glen Raven won't respond [EDIT: the ultimately did] really makes me curious why people continue to use it. 

It's widely known that the product has changed drastically over the last 10 years, but yet I still see comments in this thread that state "we exclusively use it".  I'm not here to bash a competing product than what we sell (we did sell Sunbrella, and dropped it about 7 years ago), but I'm blown away at the fact that people are so loyal to a product that has so many complaints.

Can someone please explain this phenomena to me?

Also, as a sidenote, 303 and Aqua-Tite will not do anything for fading.  They are strictly made to restore the water-repellant features to the fabric.

Thanks!
Andrew
Mojo
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« #27 : March 14, 2012, 09:03:19 AM »

I have never worked with Sunbrella. I have heard from industry experts that the Sunbrella product used for awnings and such has changed. Whether it is their yarns, weave process or what I do not know.

My business is all based on replacement work of awnings and slide toppers. I have done Sunbrella replacements from the late 90's through to 2008. I myself have seen the difference in the Sunbrella fabric and quality. As I stated before Sunbrella is not something I would use that has to support weight such as water. The stretch is to bad.

I did replacement fabrics for numerous 2000 - 2003 coaches that were all done in Sunbrella. I was surprised as it was in decent shape. They held up very well over the years. The color was still pretty good. I did several from 2007 and 2008 and those fabrics ( all Sunbrella ) were in worse shape then the older ones, some fading and a whole lot of stretch.

I do not want to bash Sunbrella either but due to the requirements of RV fabric installations it is not a good fabric for me. I believe Carefree and several other large awning manufacturers have all switched to Recacril. Their decision may have been quality driven or price driven. I am not sure.

My reputation is built on the quality of my materials and workmanship. RV'ers pay me a premium price for my slide topper and  window awnings and expect the very best in materials. This is why I only use Solarfix thread and Sattler / Recacril fabrics. Both are made in Europe, both have a different weave process, both have little stretch and both manufacturers use premium yarns.

I cannot afford to get returns because they are faded or stretched out. I would go broke and be out of business in a very short period of time. Problems with suppliers and jobbers spreads lightening fast in the RV world. Real fast. So I need to stay on top of my game with workmanship and materials.

I cannot comment on Sunbrellas factory support as I have never used their product. But I can tell you without a doubt the factory support from Recacril and Sattler is amazing. You have a problem and they are all over it and will make it right for you. For the head of Sattler North America to come in and do a seminar with me and provide me with giveaways for the attendees as well as conduct a portion of the seminar speaks volumes on manufacturer support. I have already commented on MiamiMikes support. Any issues I have had he has fixed ASAP.

I am completely happy with Sattler products as well as Recacril. Why some don't switch is beyond me and further more it is non of my business. People I guess need to use whatever they feel they need to use. :)

Chris

 
ahkahn
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« #28 : March 14, 2012, 01:06:05 PM »

Chris,

Thanks for your candid feedback - I agree 100%.  FYI, you know Outdura is a Sattler product now.

Take care,
Andrew
Peppy
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« #29 : March 15, 2012, 06:43:21 AM »


Can someone please explain this phenomena to me?

Customers ask for Sunbrella. They asked for denim backed vinyl once too, so that can change. But we're more than happy to piggy back on Sunbrella's decades of branding. If I convince a customer to go with a 'new' fabric (one that I don't know the strengths or weaknesses of) and it fails, it'll be me who's to blame not the fabric. We also have a whack of inventory and 20 years of jobs (needing repairs) done in Sunbrella. Now we have to stock 2 kinds of nearly identical fabric? That's why the decision to switch is not done lightly, or overnight.

It gives me hope that Sunbrella would phone lowly old me. It tells me they've heard about these problems a lot, and they're in damage control mode. No doubt they'll change the recipe ( and raise the price) and will go back to being good stuff. I hope anyway, or else we'll have to spend 20 years building up their rival brands like Mojo's doing.

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