Active Active   Unanswered Unanswered

More 17 barrel interior questions

Leather, Tolex or Russaloid. Linoleum or black rubber matting. If it's in the cockpit or in the cabin, post your questions and answers here.

Moderators: Al Benton, Don Ayers, Don Vogt

Post Reply
User avatar
Bill Basler
Posts: 1996
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:48 pm
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA

More 17 barrel interior questions

Post by Bill Basler » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:44 pm

I am following "Seat Cushions for a 1940 17' Barrelback" with interest. My 1942 17 Deluxe had its interior "modernized" in the 50s with a red vinyl interior. I have very little left from the original interior. I had a spring frame from (presumably) the front seat although it was so rusted a fell into pieces when I picked it up. The seat backs appeared to be filled with Kapok. The rear seat components were 100% absent.

My hull card, 71938, calls for Aquamarine Leatherette. As I understand it (and verified by Brian in the post above) the Leatherette available today (aka Vinyl) is not even close to the original. I am trying to figure out a plan as to which way I'll go.

My boat had a couple of scraps of the original Leatherette, behind the side pockets in the front cockpit.

Image

The scraps were certainly in poor shape...and very likely way off color. I just wish I knew "how far" off color. The original pieces also have a very distinctive "grain" to them. This grain does not look like the "pebbled" finish of many modern day vinyls. In fact my Leatherette scrap feels as much like a fabric as it does a "plastic". It almost seems like a fabric with a very thin "veneer" of synthetic material. I know that "fabric with a very thing veneer of plastic" is essentially similar to a modern day vinyl, but when I say thin veneer, I mean really thin.

So here are my questions:

What the heck is Leatherette anyway. I have asked many, but I have yet to get the scientific answer I am looking for. Since Leatherette was offered on some of the more bargain hulls (my 17' Deluxe), while other models (19' Customs) continued with Leather, one could draw several conclusions:
1. Leatherette is not Leather. Why else would CC have two different materials in the same year?
2. Leatherette was less costly than Leather. Is this an assumption I am making that may be incorrect? I can't think of why else Leatherette would have been used instead of Leather other than for cost reasons....although....What if this new Leatherette stuff was a futuristic man made material that would not fade, crack or otherwise detoriate as quick as Leather. Maybe Leatherette wasn't cheaper at all...maybe Chris-Craft, being the leader they were, wanted to migrate to these new "futuristic" materials?
3. Assuming someone can answer what Leatherette is (was), does anyone know who the supplier was for Chris-Craft? Could this company still be in business? Next thing you know, we'll find out it was NAFI, the automotive industry supplier, National Automotive Fiber Industries, who later purchased Chris-Craft. Wouldn't that be strange.
4. Is is possibly to replicate Leatherette using any vinyl-like product? Maybe Leatherette looked the way it did and felt the way it did because it really wasn't made quite like vinyl at all?
5. I think Russeloid preceded Leatherette, based on hull cards from the late 30s. What is Russeloid? Not generally speaking....but specifically....does anyone know? How was it different from Leatherette? I guess the Russeloid...ending in "oid" brings to mind Celluloid, which was one of the very early plastics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic

Celluloids then yielded to other advances in plastics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic

I guess my labored point is that if Russeloid was an early "plastic" and Leatherette was an early "plastic" then what are the differences between the two?

Can Leatherette be made to look and feel like Leatherette without resorting to some old school process?

These questions are ridiculous at some level...but I just have to know!
Last edited by Bill Basler on Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
Bill Basler

User avatar
Bill Basler
Posts: 1996
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:48 pm
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA

Post by Bill Basler » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:46 pm

Just google searched Russeloid and interestingly found the following from
April 13, 1911 - The Home News (The Jefferson Courier)

"Wm. A. VanAken, representing the Russel & Dexter Co. of Penn Yan, is in town interesting the farmers in Russeloid roofing."
Bill Basler

User avatar
Brian Robinson
Posts: 777
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:49 pm
Location: Southern California

Post by Brian Robinson » Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:07 am

Bill,

You are pretty much right on with your conclusions. However, Leatherette is Russeloid. Chris-Craft used the term "Leatherette" probably because the brand name "Russeloid" was copyrighted. The Russeloid Company advertised its products use in Chris-Craft boats thruout the pre-war years. Hull cards used the "RUSS" term as not to confuse the product used with leather which could be easily misinterpreted with the term "Leatherette".

Yes, Leatherette was cheaper than leather, this is in the dollars and cents of the specification sheets.

I think the Russeloid came from the same supplier that CC got their leather from (I think this because in most cases the Russeloid had to be an exact match for the particular color leather because both were often used in conjunction with each other, the article I wrote for the winter '07 Brass Bell will discuss this). Anyway, that supplier was Eagle Ottawa Leather Co. in Grand Rapids MI.

Don has worked with Eagle Ottawa and MBBW to come up with an exact match for the Spanish Maroon, Aquamarine, and Pigskin leathers. Making these same colors/textures in Russeloid/Naugahide/Leatherette/Vinyl is another story, but the bottom line is that it is NOT going to happen anytime soon. The best we can do to date is shaving the leather down and gluing a fabric backing to simulate the Russeloid effect.

What I had meant in my previous post about the Pigskin is that it is so unique in its genuine form, it is essentially two colors in one product with a unique texture - sort of a yellow/tan base with an orange speckle. The closest Vinyl is mono-tone tan which has none of the life and character of the original specimen. The debate is: Do we upholster the boat that was originally Leatherette in leather that looks almost exactly as it did when new? or do we upholster it in the closest Leatherette like product available (aka Vinyl) which is blah and lifeless when compared with the original? - the jury is still out.
-Brian
1923 Hackercraft 23' Dolphin #03
1938 Gar Wood 22' Streamliner #6256 Empress
1952 Chris~Craft 19' Racing Runabout #363 Thunderstruck
Robinson Restoration, LLC (760) 468-1009

User avatar
Al Benton
Club Executive Team
Posts: 3549
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Post by Al Benton » Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:52 pm

It seems ironic that a company can not (or will not) manufacture a product that replicates the color qualities of a product that was made 65 years ago that was cheaper than leather. There must be more to it than meets the eye.

Al

User avatar
Brian Robinson
Posts: 777
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:49 pm
Location: Southern California

Post by Brian Robinson » Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:08 pm

Al,

It is a quantity issue. We could probably have it made with a $100,000 investment. Short of that, I am open to ideas.

Edit- It has been brought to my attention that in fact Eagle Ottawa was the leather supplier only. I digged around a little this morning and found the Russialoid (yet another spelling) supplier to Chris-Craft was The Pantasote Company in New York. The two companies must have worked closely with one another which is obvious when comparing the two products side-by-side which were often used together in the same boat. The Russialoid at least, was meant to look as close as possible to the leather - but at a lower cost.
-Brian
1923 Hackercraft 23' Dolphin #03
1938 Gar Wood 22' Streamliner #6256 Empress
1952 Chris~Craft 19' Racing Runabout #363 Thunderstruck
Robinson Restoration, LLC (760) 468-1009

User avatar
Don Ayers
Club Executive Team
Posts: 1681
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:05 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Post by Don Ayers » Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:23 pm

Okie Dokie, I’ll step in now that Brian has done all that wonderful typing for me. Ha!

First, Bill your original Aqua Marine material is the exact same as the current Leather product as available through MBBW. So if you want your boat to look as it came from the factory then that is what you will have to use.

Secondly, the production of a "non" leather material that looks correct is not possible because of the limited market. I have been working on this for years with no luck. You see the textile industry works in terms of THOUSANDS of yards and no one person can pay for that.

Working with leather manufacturers is another story because these can be made in smaller quantities but the down side is that it costs a lot more than your average vinyl product.

One would think that if a leather maker could make a hide look correct then why can't they make a vinyl the same. But it just does not work that way and the two industries are miles apart in production and processes.

The easy answer is use the right looking leather and lets work with the judging aspect so that it is more important for the boat to look authentic than what the stuff is made of.

Maybe someday someone will have a solution to this but until then we are stuck in some respects.

Hey, but is it not great that we are having this discussion in the first place!!!!!!! :D

Comments welcome.
Don Ayers
1959 Riva Ariston
www.RivaForum.org
www.barrelback.com

User avatar
Don Ayers
Club Executive Team
Posts: 1681
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:05 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Post by Don Ayers » Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 am

Now I can post some pics.

Image
Image
Image
Don Ayers
1959 Riva Ariston
www.RivaForum.org
www.barrelback.com

Roger Smith
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 4:55 pm
Location: Smith Mountain Lake, VA

1940 interiors

Post by Roger Smith » Sun Nov 05, 2006 7:55 am

This has been a good discussion which I've followed with interest. I have some of the original Russaloid pigskin color upholstery from my boat ( hull 71657),and it doesn't look nearly as luxurious as the suggested leather substitution shown in the photo. It does have the "spots" but absolutely no texture. In fact. its about 1/64" in thickness and is very cheap looking. Now wobndering how to proceed with replacement. Has anyone pulsed Mike Sonny about this? His upholstery kits are about the best around in my opinion.

boatmanscm
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 2:37 am
Location: Sacramento, CA.
Contact:

Post by boatmanscm » Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:25 am

leatherett whow ever you spell it is man made vinyl with a simulated texture and feel. the peice from the pocket could possible be worn down and old to where it feels thin. belive me the old days vinyls were non expanded which makes them thinner. try astrup.com for marine yardage.
Stanley Marshall CUSTOM UPHOLSTER ,
Over 100 boats , @[email protected]

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests