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Author Topic:   To Mills Or Not To Mills
David Pendleton posted 07-23-2001 11:28 AM ET (US)   Profile for David Pendleton   Send Email to David Pendleton  
I am considering buying a 'Bridge Cover' for my 23 Conquest. Mills manufactures a beauty that's available in any color I choose. This will cost $400.00.

I've also spoken to a very reputable local canvas shop and they can duplicate the Mills cover in the same fabric for less than $300.00.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but is the Mills cover really going to be that much better?

Thanks all.

where2 posted 07-23-2001 12:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
If you say it is a very reputable local shop, then I can think of no reason why not. My family has used a reputable local shop to do our canvas work on the various family boats for 20 years. Mills has a great reputation on this list, but they are not the ONLY shop capable of fabricating a high quality product. Just be sure that you're comparing apples to apples in fabric and thread quality.
Dan posted 07-23-2001 10:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
Go Mills -- better fit. They have all the paterns. The local shop will measure and your piece will be the test piece.
Dick posted 07-23-2001 11:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
As an ex Whaler dealer I think Mills canvas is good, but it priced high. The fabric they use is Sunbrella, it is available to any canvas shop. If you have a shop that will come to the boat and pattern what you want and then fit it, the finished product should be just as good as Mills. If it doesn't fit right you have a local shop to make it fit right, not one many miles away.
If you have a good local shop I am sure that they can do just as good a job as Mills can. Possibly even better because the can fit it to your boat, not a pattern.
jimh posted 07-24-2001 11:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For a simple cover, it may not be necessary to go to the expense of a Mills & Co. cover.

What makes the Mills & Co. canvas so desirable is the amount of engineering and design they have put into some of their products. When you see how the canvas stows, how it deploys, how it uses very crafty devices to avoid putting straps in the way of fishing, then you appreciate the fine design and craftsmanship of Mills & Co.

Their products are expensive, but they have a very good track record with regard to durability and long wear.

Now fitting the canvas...that is a job. I have spent quite a bit of time tweaking the installation of my Mills canvas and there are still a couple of fasteners that I think I want to move a quarter of an inch or so to get it just right. So if you need to factor your own time into the deal, you might find the local vendor's canvas is an even better bargain! However, as is often the case with labor intensive things like this, you might be able to do a better job than the guy at the production shop who is working to a certain time allowance.

Also, with Mills you are getting a proven and well designed product. Your local guy may not have made canvas for a Whaler before. Maybe he doesn't know where the wood backing is for certain fasteners, etc.

Then their is the value of the Mills canvas as a recognizable standard. If you go to sell your boat and you say it has 2-year old Mills canvas you will get much more respect than if you say it has 2-year old "Ye Olde Canvas Shoppe of Harbortown" canvas, or some other fabricator who is not known.

Again, for a simple cover, none of this may be an issue.


David Pendleton posted 07-25-2001 08:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Thanks for all the input, guys. I appreciate it.

My Whaler has never had canvas, hence there are no fasteners installed. The Mills cover will come with fasteners that I can install myself, the custom shop will either install them for me, or leave it to me.

I found someone who owns the Mills cover, and I'm trying to get a better idea of how suitable their cover would be.

I suppose one advantage of the Mills cover would be that I would get it much sooner than the custom cover. Like most canvas shops, the one in question is pretty backed up.

Thanks again, all.


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