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High-performance sewing

April 1, 2017

Choosing the right sewing machine saves time and money. Every trade has its tools, and marine fabrication is no exception. A critically important tool of marine fabrication is the sewing machine. Regardless of the brand, a sewing machine has to be durable, reliable and easily maintained, because it is, after all, the workhorse of a …

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Carrying on traditions

December 1, 2016

William Miller is the owner, manager and fabricator of Colonville Canvas, a Clare, Mich.-based company that specializes in marine covers, enclosures, bimini tops and upholstery. Miller grew up learning about the industry in his father’s shop. He opened his own shop in 2014 and has carried on the family tradition of making quality products. Here, …

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Equipment purchasing: price and value

July 18, 2016

ROI is still an important factor in buying decisions, but qualities like reliability, durability and customer service are moving to the forefront. The return on investment (ROI) and how long it might take to achieve it is always a key consideration in most purchasing decisions, particularly during the Great Recession when pricing and ROI moved …

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The age of automation

December 1, 2015

Sewn or sealed, automation is trending as U.S. companies strive to increase efficiency and decrease costs. The art of sewing textiles is lacking in U.S. manufacturing as lower-cost labor in Asia has helped meet consumer demands for competitive retail prices. But automation technology is slowly advancing, helping companies bring production costs down while keeping quality …

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In the commercial upholstery market, is small beautiful?

September 7, 2015

Smaller shops may not always have the staff, but they’re local and they’re flexible, advantages that are still valuable in the business. With commercial furniture and upholstery becoming increasingly large-scale and increasingly technical in nature, is there still a niche for smaller shops? The answer is yes—if only by the skin of their teeth. Robert …

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Room for inspiration

August 1, 2015

The commercial upholstery market is becoming increasingly performance oriented, with noticeable growth in health care, hospitality and sports. New fabrics and coatings are in demand, and in development. When most people think of commercial upholstery, they think of offices . While that`s a big part of the market, it`s by no means where the most …

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Automatic upholstery

March 1, 2015

Giving cars a winning look. The best meals are cooked from scratch, the wildest adventures take place off the map, and some of the most impressive auto upholstery restoration projects are done without a template. Two entries in the upholstery category of the 2014 International Achievement Awards were just such projects, transforming torn, tattered and …

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First do no harm

August 1, 2014

Performance upholstery fabrics need not come with a steep environmental cost. New fabrics, blends and treatments are making sustainability an affordable option. By Sigrid Tornquist On an even playing field, when faced with a choice between an environmentally friendly upholstery fabric versus a toxic one, would anyone ever choose the toxic one? And when faced …

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Foam and flammability

The foam used in upholstered furniture can be another environmental concern if it’s treated with flame retardants. Until recently, the only way to meet the flammability requirements of the California Bureau of Home Furnishings Technical Bulletin 117 was to use flame-retardant treated foam. “The problem with that is that flame retardants are not molecularly bonded …

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Bottom line: evaluating comfort

November 1, 2013

Recall your last marathon all-day, all-night drive—and the aftermath. Remember the aching back and neck, headache, sweating torso and ice-cold feet, the feeling of other-worldliness? The symptoms of uncomfortable vehicle seats include decreased concentration and tiredness that can lead to accidents. The Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheim, Germany, has developed test methods for assessing the physiological comfort …