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Thread: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

  1. #1
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    Default Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Ottertex is a company that makes PVC-infused fabrics, both a heavy polyester canvas and ripstop nylon. They are completely waterproof, but don't breathe, of course. I am currently making a cockpit cover for the Piper One Design, which when the mast is up, will serve as a boom tent. The boom overhangs the cockpit by almost 3 feet, so it will be open at that end, so I'm not worried about condensation. Ottertex canvas doesn't breathe, like Sunbrella does. On the other hand, it's $6-7 a yard instead of $24 a yard.

    I bought my yardage of Ottertex canvas from Fabric.com along with some outdoor polyester thread. The stuff is easy to cut, likes to lie flat on the floor to make panel layout easy, and it's easy to sew on with a home sewing machine.

    https://www.ottertex.com/

    It's available in beaucoup colors...LOTS of colors and prints as well. Fabric.com is currently out of Teal, as.....I bought all of it!

    I'll post a pic when the cover is done, but I thought you all might like to know about the fabric.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Good to know about! Thanks! Looking forward to the project pics.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    from their ad copy:

    "it is also UV resistant of up to 500 hours."

    That's a hair over two months of sun exposure @ only eight hours per day. When you get down to the brass tacks of marine canvas, that's not very good at all - less than one season's use, and UV resistance is a huge part of what makes a truly durable marine fabric. Sunbrella, Odyssey, Top Gun, Weathermax and several of the other marine cover fabrics have guarantees of UV resistance for periods like five years and will generally outlast that for several more years.

    There are certainly some applications where this fabric should work fine, but do be aware that it will never be a suitable replacement for the others in many marine applications. One of those "if something looks too good (or too inexpensive) to be true" things......

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    THANKS for the link

    i like your project & would love to follow along w/ your progress

    take lotsa pics and post w/ narrative(specially the wrong moves so the rest of us don't have to reinvent that wheel)

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    It appears to be similar to Surlast, which I used to make my sail covers a couple of years ago. I was also concerned with saving money, which was a little tight at the time. They function well and are so far unchanged by weather in spite of year round use.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    from their ad copy:

    "it is also UV resistant of up to 500 hours."

    That's a hair over two months of sun exposure @ only eight hours per day. When you get down to the brass tacks of marine canvas, that's not very good at all - less than one season's use, and UV resistance is a huge part of what makes a truly durable marine fabric. Sunbrella, Odyssey, Top Gun, Weathermax and several of the other marine cover fabrics have guarantees of UV resistance for periods like five years and will generally outlast that for several more years.

    There are certainly some applications where this fabric should work fine, but do be aware that it will never be a suitable replacement for the others in many marine applications. One of those "if something looks too good (or too inexpensive) to be true" things......
    The comments I've read refer to fading, but not loss of waterproofing. Considering the price, if I get a years use out of the cover, I'm good. The cover I'm making is very simple, not even a full days work to make it. I considered getting the light gray color, so the fading won't be as noticeable, but we'll see.

    ========

    for other folks, I won't be putting more information about this on the forum, as the Piper One Design is a fiberglass boat. If you would like to see pictures of the original hull #1, which is wood, look here.

    https://www.topsail.co.uk/boat.php?refnum=1786#images

    The cover I'm making is much the same as what you see in those photos.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Fading of outdoor fabrics is usually more a symptom than a problem. UV deterioration (aka "Sun-rot") involves a rather drastic loss of tensile strength over time - eventually to the point where you can pull the cloth apart easily with your bare hands. Loss of water resistance depends somewhat on what it was achieved with - coatings, laminated layers, fabric saturation with fluorocarbon treatments, etc. On typical boat canvas items, where substantial breathability is nearly always far better than none, that part is pretty easy to maintain and renew as needed. On an open ended boom tent, it won't matter much. Just be aware that what you have found has some very real imitations for marine canvas work.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    I'm curious to see how it works out for you. I tried using the coated fabric used for EasyUp / popup replacement tops, and even though the resulting boat tent was open along the sides and back, the condensation during rain caused it to be somewhat uncomfortable to be inside, with drips along the top and getting my head and arms wet when I brushed against the fabric.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    There certainly is a use for Ottertex... and the name is great.

    But let's be clear on one thing: Sunbrella is an amazingly tough, durable, and breathable fabric.



    It may cost three times more, but it is going to last five times more (or better) and perform well during the entire time.

    My boat has been outside for five years and has endured rain, snow, fog, etc.

    It rarely gets water inside it, never gets mildewy.

    And dare I get on my soap box, but from an environmental perspective, I think buying a quality product versus multiples of a lesser one than will likely end up in the landfill or worse, is sad.

    You probably invested a lot in your boat- it deserves a good cover.

    Now stepping off soap box. (And no I'm not a Sunbrella rep. )
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    I had a sunbrella cover on the skerry. It lasted for 4+. years and was entirely waterproof for the first two. After that, if water pooled up, it would leak, and not through the stitching. It leaked A LOT. Upshot was, every month or so during the winter, I would have to take the cover off and bucket out the boat. At the same time, water would pool up a couple inches deep in low spots, and nothing I could do in terms of adjusting the cover would prevent it, so I had to live with it. So much for the ultimate waterproofness of Sunbrella. Now, I'll say this...the cover did not fade, though it mildewed. I could hose it off on the driveway with light soap and water, then run it through the washing machine and it looked great again. It stayed strong for all those years. It's a wonderful product.

    In this particular case, I wanted WATERPROOF. We'll see how it works out.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Yep, covers which are poorly designed and/or poorly constructed and pooling water will have those types of problems, and even the best fabrics won't make up for that. Likewise, not bothering to find out how to properly maintain the fabric (information which is readily available for free from Glen Raven Mills, the manufacturer of Sunbrella) will eventually allow their performance to diminish. Sounds like you struck out on both counts. Bummer.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    the condensation during rain caused it to be somewhat uncomfortable to be inside, with drips along the top and getting my head and arms wet when I brushed against the fabric.
    I think that's a problem with all tents in the marine environment regardless of ventilation. Once the air hits dew point, it gets drippy. I've tried a lot of things. The best that I've come up with is a two-layer tent. The outside has waterproof nylon fabric and the inside is, gulp, Sunbrella. I get it for about half price by buying remnants from a sail loft.



    Over the course of a five week trip, I stayed comfortable the whole time. Not perfect, but I was never woken up by an interior rain storm!
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    After this not terribly pleasant exchange.....not pleasant, but informative I will grant you all.....I'm still going to make the cover. It will go on the boat, over the mast instead of the boom for now, as I still don't have the upper shrouds sorted yet and the rig is down. It will stay there all winter, unless of course it disintigrates, which y'all seem to be telling me is absolutely certainly going to happen, probably within weeks. I'll report back in March....or earlier, if you're all correct.

    I'll snap a few pictures when I deploy it. It just seems very odd to me that the company markets a fabric that they specifically recommend for boat covers, if it's as grossly inappropriate for that use, as you gentlemen suggest that it is. What EXACTLY does "500 hours UV Resistant" mean? Does it mean 500 hours of direct sunlight, or does it mean something else? I don't know. Maybe you're right. I guess we'll find out.
    Last edited by Alan H; 11-01-2019 at 03:36 PM.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    I can confirm the value of well-constructed and fitted covers. Ours came with the boat (built in 2006) when we got it in 2012. Since then we have had the boat in the water with the covers on daily, year round, including winters through snow and storm for four of the years. We do clean and waterproof them yearly, and have had to had some restitching done during those winters when we have not had the boat in the water. I have been amazed by the value of Sunbrella when expertly done.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan H View Post
    After this not terribly pleasant exchange.....not pleasant, but informative I will grant you all.....I'm still going to make the cover. .
    Alan, I hope no hard feelings. We're all boaters, all love the water, wood, and paint fumes. The comments made are in the spirit of information sharing. Nothing personal.

    Maybe your vision will yield results and we'll all learn something new.

    Best wishes, happy sewing.

    -Bruce
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    The cover is now on. pardon the crummy picture, I took it almost at sundown and the light was bad. The cover very close-fitting, now, there will be a lot more ventilation in January when the mast goes up and it functions more as a boom tent.

    Piper-cover.jpg

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    I'm sure it will breathe well just as it is, being open at both ends.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    I was out at the boat again today. Despite dire predictions that the cover would disitingrate in 500 hours, it's completely fine.

    IMG_1946.jpg

    IMG_1945.jpg

    So the cover went on, essentially on November 10th. It's now January 20th. That's 70 days of, on the average, about 9 1/2 hours of sunlight a day. That adds up to 665 hours. I see possibly some dye fading, but the material is solid and the inside of the boat was bone dry....not a drop in the bilge. So the dire predictions of utter collapse, because the material is cheap garbage seem to be off the mark.

    So... a couple of things. First, how is UV resistance of fabrics determined?

    https://solarlight.com/product/accel...or-uv-testing/

    In essence, the fabric sample is exposed to a high intensity lamp for certain amounts of time and then material strength is tested. There are international standards for testing and reporting that testing, but few if any manufacturers actually report which standard is being used. However, after doing some reading on the topic, I've come to the conclusion that a statement that.... a fabric that is reported to be "UV Resistant for 1,000 hours" really has little to nothing to do with the number "1,000". Instead, use that number to compare the fabric to other fabrics, tested to the same standards. In other words, a fabric that is supposedly "Resistant to UV for 1,000 hours" is MORE resistant than one that's rated to 500 hours but less resistant than one that's rated to 2,000 hours. Obviously.

    What you don't know is whether the manufacturer is stating UV resistance as measure by ASTM standards, ISO standards, or some other in-hour measuring system. So "UV Resistant for 1,000 hours" by ASTM standards may be very different from "UV Resistant for 1,000 hours" by ISO standards.

    Secondly, UV exposure, obviously varies by location and season. A winter in Northern California is not the same as a summer in Arizona.

    I'll keep reporting on the condition of the Ottertex, as the months go by bu I'm pleased to say that the dire predictions from a few folks, have not come to pass....the cover is quite solid and shows no sign of strength loss.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    I understand that lasting two months and change is nothing remarkable, btw... Let’s see how it looks in a year, after a summer in the Delta.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Thanks for the update. Real world reviews are the best.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    A buddy went by the boat.....I'm locked down with "shelter in place" but he has to drive long distances for his job....and took this picture.

    Ottertex-5-months.jpg

    It looks like I need to get out there when I can and re-attach a couple of the tie downs. I'd like to see if there's any water in the bilge.

    Gaaa.....I've been working on parts for the boat, I made a boom and have sewn up some parts for it...a saddle for the mainsheet and a tack-hold-down strap. I've cut out a replacement bit of plywood for a part that has completely rotted out, but need to 'glass it in.

    Anyway, let's see. November 10th to April 5th is just about 5 months. That's 150 days, more or less. If we use an estimate of 10 hours of exposure per day, that's 1500 hours of UV exposure, or three times the "500 hours" that upset some people on the forum.

    Let's see how it does through the Spring, when the insolation numbers will go 'way up.
    Last edited by Alan H; 04-07-2020 at 12:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    i'm lovin it so far

    sw
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    steve

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    It's now June 8th. I was out at the Piper to do some work on Saturday. We're now about 1/3rd of the way through a California Delta summer, which is about as brutal for UV exposure as you can get. Where I have the boat it wide open to the wind, which is persistant and strong in this location. The ottertex cover has faded quite significantly. There's one stress point where it's been pulled tight over a protruding ring, right at the ridgeline and it's worn through. There are a few lines...maybe almost "cracks" in the PVC coating, which are visible on the inside, so it's not totally waterproof any more.

    However, the fabric structure is still strong, no stitching is tearing out, the tie-down points are very strong and the cover, while it doesn't look anything like what it looked like in November, is quite strong. I'm sure it will last through the summer and into the Fall, no problem. If I were to do this again, I would purchase a much less vibrant color, probably a light gray, so that the fading wouldn't be as noticeable. I didn't realize that this little ring stood proud of the mast structure, it's pretty normal to wear through a point like that, so I don't see that as some terrible failing of the fabric.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    The cover went on, on 11/11. It's now 6/8... That's close enough to 7 months. 7 months = 210 days. If we average it out to 12 hours of sunlight a day...less in the winter, more in the summer, that's now. 2, 520 hours of UV exposure.

    Rather more than the 500 hours than the company claimed....and it hasn't disintigrated, yet. I think at this point that I will get a full calendar year of use out of it, which is what I hoped for.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Thanks for the update. My sail covers are Surlast, I made them a couple of years ago. This Spring I made a helm cover from the offcuts, it's darker than the slightly faded sail covers too.

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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    OK, a buddy went by the boat and reports that the cover is in tatters. I'll need to get out there ASAP and tidy up.

    So the Ottertex canvas cover lasted almost exactly a year. That's acceptable, but less than stellar, IMHO.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Well, well well. The fabric didn't disintigrate at all.

    I went to the Piper yesterday, to put the boat back in the row of boats/trailers, tidy up, and possibly use an overhead branch to step the mast. Well, there' was no mast-stepping.

    1. there were two pieces of broken glass on the foredeck
    2. the mast is down. The way I left it, the upper part of the mast overhung the bow by about 3 feet. Well, the mast had been pushed back about 4 feet on the deck. The back was still in cradle I'd made for it, the front was out of its cradle.
    3. The spreader that was still on the mast (I'd removed one, to get the shroud off) ...was broken
    4. worst of all, the s.s. shroud bases were bent.
    5. and the ottertex cockpit cover was ripped in three places cleanly, from fore to aft.

    about #5.... it was ripped, cleanly. No fraying, nothing. It's as if someone cut the fabric with scizzors. When I pick up the pieces and tugged on them, the fabric is still solid. None of the sewn loops came out, all the seams are solid. What happened?

    It's pretty obvious that someone drove down the steep driveway into the storage area, missed the hard left you have to take at the bottom and clipped the Pipers mast, probably with a boat windshield. The impact lifted the mast up and ripped the ottertex. Fortunately, the mast extrusion itself is not damaged, there's no kink in it. I can drill out the s.s. rivets that hold the shroud base to the mast and straighten it. It sucks, but it could have been worse. Since this thread is about Ottertex, I'll reiterate.

    The fabric is still fine. It's severely faded, but strong. A year in the California Delta didn't destroy it.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Bummer!

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Ottertex canvas fabric, two thumbs up

    Sorry. That stinks.

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