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Subject:  Re: PU Bed Cover... Date:  6/27/2012  3:10 PM
Author:  MichaelRead Number:  2276 of 2553


I ran a canvas/upholstery division at my marine company and my advice is, if it is important to you, get it done by a marine canvas company. Reason one is you don’t have the tools yourself to make what is essentially a tonneau cover. Also you don’t have a supplier who can give you the material that’s rain/sun proof (doesn’t fade or rot). Do not use a drop cloth or old tarps: wrong material.

Snaps or grommets? Snaps. Reason is tightness of fit at vehicle speed. Same reason for not having tie-downs: air gets in an causes the cover to balloon and pulls heavily on other grommet areas which are, essentially, weak points.

Go to a marine canvas place and ask for samples of Sunbrella or similar. Lots of color choices and grades.

To make a good fit a pattern is made and the material cut to that pattern. Then it is sewn using HD sewing machines (specify sewing be done with automotive/marine grade thread that won’t rot in the sun) and the fit should be perfect.

Small point but obvious: making your own tonneau cover is like fixing a room in the house: your second room is always better than the first. When I hired our head seamstress who had a long experience in commercial work but not marine, it took her a month to turn out something that didn’t need redoing one way or another. She now can re-upholster and re-canvas a whole boat in a day or so and its experience that allows that. And, yes, she does covers for pickups. She was the one who told me some of the stuff above.

Price varies. Most canvas shops are $50-60 an hour and material at about $20 a square foot (depending on the canvas). It should take, roughly, five-six hours to pattern, cut, sew, install female snaps on the material, and drill the pickup for male snaps.

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