View Full Version : HOWTO: Reupholster rear bench cushion ('93 Prostar)

03-27-2006, 02:08 PM
The rear bench seat cushion in my '93 Prostar had seen better days. After 13 years of being stepped on the seams were pretty ripped up. I was quoted around $300-400 to have some one else re-upholster it, more if I wanted it made into 3 seperate cushions so I could remove the center section to prevent it from being stepped on. So I ordered the replacement skin from Bennett's and decided to do it myself. I've seen a lot of posts asking about this so I thought I would post a step-by-step guide complete with pictures.

So here is what I started with, totally ripped out seams.


Next start pulling staples. I used a small screwdriver, the staples are relatively easy to pry out. It just takes a lot of time as there are a lot of them. Here is the trim removed.


With all the staples out flip it over and pull the vinyl off.


There are actually 2 seperate pieces of foam in the seat. There is an extra flap in the vinyl that is stapled to a strip of plywood between the 2 pieces. This gives the seat the thicker front edge.


03-27-2006, 02:08 PM
My boat has been in garaged storage all winter, about 5 months... the plywood and foam was still wet inside!! The foam in the back is glued down, it pulls off pretty easily to expose the rotted piece of wood.


Remove the rest of the foam and the rotted plywood pulls right off. For some reason they didn't use stainless staples to attached the plywood to the plastic seat base. These staples are embedded in the plastic base and were a pain to pull out.


The foam was pretty dirty but otherwise fine. I decided to reuse the foam rather than try to find the proper firmness. I laid the foam out so it would dry while I continued on. I needed to replaced the plywood with something and I didn't want it to rot, so I got a composite deck board and cut it into the proper shape.


The composite deck board it really hard! You can't staple or nail anything into it. I attached it to the plastic base from the bottom with countersunk stainless screws. Then I put the rear piece of foam in place and test fit the new vinyl skin.


03-27-2006, 02:09 PM
I used stainless screws and finishing washers to attach the center flap to the deck board. I measured the old piece to determine how tight to pull the flap down before screwing it in. In the end I think I pulled it a little too tight, but there was no way I was re-doing all those screws!!


Now we can put the other piece of foam in and flip the seat over and start stapling. I used 3/8" Stanley T-50 narrow crown stainless staples. I bought an electric Stanley stapler that would accept these staples. The narrow crown staples won't fit in an oridinary T-50 stapler. It probably doesn't matter as long as you use stainless staples. The problem I found is that the staples wouldn't drive all the way in. The problem is that the plastic base is resting on foam which will absorb the force. I found I could pull the vinyl tight and press the stapler against it to hold it. Then I used the other hand to hold the plastic base firm and shoot the staples. Complicated, but it worked.


Here are some tips that I wish I knew before I started. You don't need to pull the vinyl really tight!! I was pulling it pretty tight and when I turned it over it didn't look right. I ended up pulling the staples out and letting it out. On the same note, there is plenty of extra material, set the inital staples back from the edge to do a test fit. If it looks ok, you can set the staples near the edge and pull the others out. Then you trim the extra off with the holes in it. I set the initial staples at the edge and when I had to let it out from being too tight, the small holes were exposed.

The wrinkles at the corners are hard to get out completely, not pulling it really tight helps. You can also cut the seam out to help adjust the corners.


Here it is fully stapled. I pulled some of the staples around the curves to get some of the wrinkles out after this picture. There is only so much you can do, I'm hoping it will stretch and form a little better over time. Most are on the back side so they are not typically exposed anyway.


03-27-2006, 02:10 PM
Looks ok to me so far.


Trim the excess material, staying pretty close to the staples so that the trim piece will cover everything.


The replacement skin I bought didn't come with the piece of piping that trimmed the front bottom edge. I bought some white marine vinyl and piping cord at the fabric store and made my own. You could probably just skip it and never notice. It helps if you know someone that sews. Just cut a strip of vinyl, fold it over the piping and sew it up. Staple the piping across the front edge.


Probably the most frustrating part is putting the final trim piece on that hides the staples. You have to hold the trim open to place the staple inside. My stapler had a safety tab on the front that had to be depressed to allow the stapler to fire. I could use this tab to hold the trim open to place the staple.

Bottom done.


03-27-2006, 02:10 PM
Front edge with piping. The material from the store is whiter than the Mastercraft skin. I'm hoping they will blend together from sun and dirt eventually!


I hope this was helpful for those wanting to replace their vinyl. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and saved a few bucks in the process. I have tons of other pictures if anyone wants to see anything else. I also re-covered the back of the rear bench. I'll start another thread for that.

03-27-2006, 02:16 PM
Thats great Brian. I'll probably have to do this same thing thanks to me dripping motor oil on mine last fall.

03-27-2006, 09:15 PM
Brian, awesome job, thanks for the detailed step by step. I have to do my bench cushion too.

When I re-did my observer seat, I got my skins from Rambo Marine, they included the piping and this clever peice that hides the staples to connect the pipeinig and cover all the skin staples too. It was a lot to staple through, and I had more than a few that didn't make it all the way to the base. But the finished piece looks so nice.

03-27-2006, 09:31 PM
If anyone needs one, I have one like new. That is a nice job!

03-27-2006, 09:32 PM
I guess it would help if I said from a '91 prostar 190 huh.

03-29-2006, 03:48 PM
When I re-did my observer seat, I got my skins from Rambo Marine, they included the piping and this clever peice that hides the staples to connect the pipeinig and cover all the skin staples too. It was a lot to staple through, and I had more than a few that didn't make it all the way to the base. But the finished piece looks so nice.

Yeah, I got the piece that hides the staples, just not the piping. You need 3 hands to hold the trim open while you shoot the staples so that they are hidden!

04-05-2006, 03:24 PM
I am putting new skins on my 87 Prostar also. While at it, I would like to go ahead and replace the old foam with foam they install in new boats. It is coarse, and the water drains through it and away from your skin. I have not yet had any luck finding anybody that can tell me where I can get enough to do my boat. MC has told me I can't get it to fit my boat, but if I can find some in a bigger piece, I could cut it down to fit. Any suggestions? :huh:

04-06-2006, 08:42 AM
If you Google for 'upholstery foam' there are lots of places that sell foam in bulk that you can cut into the proper shape. The hard part is finding the proper firmness.

04-06-2006, 09:03 AM
I will add one thing, when removing staples, wear eye protection, please!

Great job! I did a similar job but dried the plywood and coated it with epoxy to keep the water out

04-06-2006, 10:15 AM
Fabric stores carry foam in different grades and thickness. ...I think its a national chain just cant remember the name of the place.....the little old ladies in these stores are really helpful.

04-06-2006, 10:25 AM
Use stainless staples and if the foam is replaced, an electric carving knife is the way to go for shaping it. Use any old pieces as patterns and make them a little oversize. An actual staple remover makes that part of the job a lot easier and mark the center points on the front and rear of the pieces- it'll help with alignment and the center of the old piece can be transferred to the new one by laying it on top and centering it.

I think Hancock Fabrics is the national chain being referred to. Otherwise, there are upholstery suppliers in every major city, or go to an uphostery shop and see if they'll sell to you- most will.

east tx skier
04-09-2006, 05:12 AM
As far as foam goes, Hancock did not have anything firm enough (at least the one around here didn't). I've had good luck with getting foam from a local auto upholstery shop.