Feeling a little Out of Shade? How about some Wind Protection as you Sail? Some Closure with your Enclosure? Who You Gonna call?
Why, the Canvas and Upholstery Centre!!
One of the items on our Must Do list was to get Banyan's Canvas replaced.
It had certainly served us well for the 5 years we've been sailing, and survived well for the ten years it's been on the boat. Unfortunately due to Sun and Salt damage, the used-to-be crystal clear windows were now a hazed shade of yellow. We were running out of Packing Tape that was holding the cracked breaks in the glass together. The seams had been re-stitched a few times over and the holes were becoming larger than the needle used to pierce through them. The Beige was now a light shade of Unknown Green, just like us, every time we looked at it all. Not to mention the Many Shades of Green we'd have to spend to replace it all.
We liked our existing look.
We had lots of stand up room in the cockpit. We had great all around views. We had some side protection from the wind/rains. The panels could easily be removed and placed/stored in a zipper-type envelope on top of the Bimini. It all worked in an easy, functional way.
Back in Early November we were in St Augustine starting the arduous task of tackling our many Must Do and To Do items, and that day it was time to tackle the Canvas list.
One visit had us walking away very quickly as the many pets in the shop had animal hair on all the material, the place was still recovering from hurricane flood damage, and there was just no assurance that the sail machine could pierce the glass we would be ordering, without cracking it, at our expense, of course.
One call went something like this:
"We're looking to have our canvas replaced" I said as I described our requirements.
"Well, I think we can probably look at you sometime in March" was the response.
I have to admit I was at a loss for words when I double-checked my iPad calendar and confirmed we were early November. "I can recommend someone, though" said the kind gentleman on the phone "The Canvas Upholstery Centre
" he continued as he gave us Hunt's name and number.
I promptly called and left a message. I was pleasantly surprised when I got a call back that very afternoon, and even more surprised when we set up a meeting time for the next day.
Something about "Too Good to be True
" crossed our minds the next day. Not only did Hunt arrive but he was minutes early and actually waiting for us at the Green Cove Springs marina office.
Our requirements were simple, "We like what we have, so just Replicate what you see". Hunt agreed that it would be a simple enough project, quite doable, and he could probably start on it within a week, might take a week or two at most, and the dollars quoted were well below our budget.
We shook hands to seal the deal. He would take care of ordering the material and we were to bring the existing Dodger/Bimini panels to him so that they could be used as a template.
"Too Good to be True" we thought to ourselves as we disassembled the canvas and prepared it for delivery to The Canvas Upholstery Shop.
Their offices and warehouse are located upstairs at 404 Riberia Street (St Augustine, Florida). We were pleased to see the cleanliness of the place and the professionalism of the people we met there. Not only do they do Canvas, but tackle all sorts of upholstery needs.
Two days later had us dropping off another piece of canvas we'd forgotten. "We can double check that the right colour of canvas was ordered" I whispered under my breath, ever the doubter. And when we walked into the shop, not only had the material already arrived, but Faye had one of our pieces done. Finished. Zippers on, and all.
This time we walked away grinning from ear to ear and starting to believe that this might just come together, on time, in time, under budget, just as promised.
Sure enough, not even a week later, we got the call. "Canvas is ready, when can we bring it over to size it all?"
They arrived by truck, and brought piece by piece climbing up the ladder as Banyan was on the hard, and started the painfully long process of getting it all connected.
And then, due to no one's fault or any one set of circumstances, and given a few adjustments and readjustments, this whole process was repeated a few times over. End result, we had, as promised, everything we asked for.
What we really were impressed with? The courtesy and professionalism of everyone we dealt with. The attention to detail.
Being a sewer myself, I checked the stitching and seams and looking for the little things. I couldn't find any wrong edges or corrected seams.
I liked the attention to detail such as the leather squares to protect the canvas and hold in the rain.
They heard every eyebrow raise (and quickly reacted) by making sure we walked away and ultimately Sailed Away, happy and content and all under their cover.
We wanted to spend some time living with the canvas before we reported our experience with it. We are just as excited to blog about it today, as we were pleased the end result on Day One, as we were thrilled with the Best Service throughout all of it.
There are a few adjustments still to be made, that the Shop is aware of, but is no fault of the makers. We all just agreed it was best for the canvas to settle a bit, stretch a bit, get wet a bit and dry a bit, before we came back with any final sizings that might need correcting.
Our biggest lesson learned in all this? If we had to do it over again? As much as we liked our existing Dodger/Bimini we should've and could've asked for "what could we do to make it better?".
The protective window shades we had made that we thought would be such a great thing? In theory? Perhaps. In reality, not so much.
Also, a few suggestions and ideas were thrown around during the sizing sessions that we had never even thought of, but now, with the concept planted in our minds, we kind of wished we had had done.
So what started out as a potential "Too Good to be True" venture turned out to be Very Good and Very True Experience.
We're thrilled that we're looking might fine, thanks to the fine folks at The Canvas Upholstery Centre.
If you're looking for Canvas or Upholstery Needs, at a very reasonable cost, and want to deal with courteous, friendly, respectful and professional people, give Hunt at the Canvas Upholstery Centre a call. Tell him Banyan sent you.