Covering the wheel with leather

Covering the wheel with leather

There is nothing wrong with the stainless steel wheel.  But there is nothing exceptional about it either.  At first I wanted to replace the metal wheel with a teak one, but the cost was ridiculous.  And, I would have to do the varnishing.

Next option was to cover the wheel with leather, an attractive and very comfortable alternative.  My research took me to Boatleather, a company in Seattle with a good selection and reasonable prices.  This happened when there was a boat show in Oakland and Boatleather had a booth there so I could see the product, the colors, and feel the difference it makes.

I chose a dark teak color and opted for the foam padding to get an extra comfortable grip.  They sent everything I needed to install the cover and their website, http://www.boatleather.com, has a link to very helpful video instructions. Here’s the progression of the project:

 

It took one full day to complete.  My right hand was cramped for a few days after completion, but it was worth it.  The only problem was a section where the pre-punched eyes in the leather ripped when I pulled the thread tight.

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I called Tom at Boatleather and his explanation was that real leather can have weak spots and unfortunately I got one.  He didn’t recall this happening before.  I wasn’t about to ask for a new cover and start over so I went back and “overstitched” the torn punch holes.

Not perfect, but if I don’t point it out, no one notices (except me).

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I’ve had the leather on for a few months now and  can say that from an appearance and handling perspective I am very happy with the results.  Here’s Rhonda with a “good grip” on the wheel:

 

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