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Friday, May 4, 2018

Turning a Futon into V Berth bedding

V berth bedding from futon

Liveaboards, in my experience, fall into two categories: 1) We have enough money to do this, so we're doing it, and 2) We don't have any money so we're doing this. We rather fall into the second category.

One of the greatest discomfitures of living aboard boats tends to be bedding. The reasons are many: Weirdly shaped spaces mean traditional mattresses often simply won't fit (and often won't even go belowdecks). A thick mattress takes up space you don't have, and, let's face it, most boats are regarded even by their manufacturers as pleasure craft, intended for only temporary habitation at best, and if your drunken friends wind up passing out on a three inch mattress, so be it. None of the preceding are conducive to a good night's sleep.

So it was with Tesla's Revenge. We've been sleeping in the V berth on 70's era foam which was, to say the least, beat down. It was long past time to do something. After casting about and looking at the amazing expense of foam, let alone the cost of custom cushions, we decided to take matters (and mattresses) into our own hands and try to find a mattress we could modify for the space.

Both being a fans of futon mattresses (okay, so we're old hippies), we thought we'd bite the bullet and see if we couldn't modify one to fit our V berth bedroom. After a bit of casting about, we managed to find an inexpensive, American-made (how the hell did THAT happen) futon mattress at a Big Lots for just under $100. The conversion proved to be surprisingly simple, and the results surprisingly comfy, so we thought we'd share.

Here are the two halves of our old, beat to crap V berth cushions and a new, American made futon mattress from Big Lots.

Peel back the cover, clipping the places where the mattress is sewn through the cover.

Here we go.  Here's the old cushions atop the stripped mattress.

Using a long carving knife and scissors, cut away the excess mattress stuffing.  Some of these mattresses are just filling, some have a foam center.  Either way, the process is the same.

Cut the excess mattress material away to match the original cushions.
Here's the trimmed mattress batting.  We left the top intact as we didn't need to cut it.

Pull the mattress cover back into place and fold it over the removed sections of the stuffing. . .

...and stitch the mattress cover back in place.

So here's the cut mattress with the cover stitched back into place, folded over the removed sections.
And here we are in the V Berth.  MUCH more comfortable.
The whole process took only about half an hour and I'm amazed we hadn't tried it before.  We slept on the new bed last night, with plenty of padding and no low spots.  This really worked well.  We're contemplating trying the same idea for new galley cushions.  Give it a shot.  There's really nothing to it.

We got lots done today on Tesla's Revenge, setting in new snaps on our roll-up plastic glazing (okay, so I miscounted when we installed it and wound up just screwing some of it in place), and putting in new lifelines to replace the nasty plastic covered stainless steel cable ones we inherited with the boat (the new ones are an aramid, and just as strong).  The new battery boxes showed up yesterday, and the new batteries Tuesday.  We're getting there, folks.

More shortly.

M

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