Problem 1: With the TXi being primarily used in a school and ski type of mode, the rear bench seat is not the most functional of seats, gets stepped on all the time as people walk over the back to get to the platform (which eventually splits the vinyl) and is practically unusable if you have anyone slalom skiing. So one can get it out of the boat ... except when on a cruise day ... which is great, but then you are taking a seat in and out which is a PITA.
Problem 2: the Malibu factory jump seats are cumbersome and (relatively) expensive. They do come with a nice back rest, but if you use 2, one on each side of the engine, they make a small boat feel even more cramped.
Solution: So I decided to replace my 1 piece bench seat with a 4 piece seating arrangement that can be configurable. If all 4 are at the back, they replace the bench seat. but you can move 2 to right behind the engine, and use the engine as a back rest or you can move one on either side of the engine cover and people can sit on something while someone is skiing. Granted if I'm running a true course, we don't have too many people in the boat (usually 3 max incl. driver) but there are many times, especially in my adaptive ski program where we have 5-6 people in the boat and someone out the back skiing on the low rope.
- Starboard or the like. I used 3/4" thick white starboard, purchased at my local supplier. I even had them pre-cut the pieces. Actually only cost me about $10 more than buying the the amount I would need and then cutting it myself. Well worth it.
- Vinyl. I happened to order mine from a local upholstery shop that was able to source the same vinyl used by Malibu to get a proper match. In my previous boat (2001 Response) I went and got vinyl from the local fabric shop and got a close enough match (but they don't have the texture options).
- Carpet, marine quality ... to be used to cover the bases.
- Stainless stables
- Stainless screws (I used #10s, 1.5")
- Patio furniture foam (seat cushion, need to ensure mildew proof)
Process, per seat:
Build the base (see pic 6 for completed base)
- 2 of the shorter, inner base sides: 10.25"L x 5"H of 3/4 inch stock
- 2 of the longer, outer base sides: 12"L x 5"H of 3/4" stock
- On the topside, I left the corners square
- On anything that was going to be outward facing or on the floor, I rounded the corners using a woodworking tool (edger?) -- see picture 2
- Don't forget to countersink the screws (see pic 4)
Create the top
- 14" x 14" x 1/2" thick (don't need the extra weight of 3/4" and there is enough support from the sides you will not see any sag)
- 2 of 10" x 1" x 1" to allow you to attach base to top
- in order to get the base centred on the top, I measured and used a reference point (X) marked on the top. Then I marked the positioning of the supports, then drilled and mounted them to the top (see pictures 4, 5 and 7)
- Attach the base to the top (see pics 8, 9) --> DON'T fully screw anything in --> just prep and align holes --> still need to upholster and carpet
- I chose to drill drain holes in the top to ensure if the seats got wet, there would be an easy escape for the water/moisture (pic 10), I happened to have a plastic drain cover, so I made the centre hole much larger but also made a few smaller 1/4" holes throughout the seat
Upholster (no pics of the process, sorry)
- Tip: cut the foam 1/2" larger on each side of the top. This ensures there is no sharp edges to the top and creates a better cushion effect.
- Cut out the foam --> I made mine 2" thick
- I made my covers to match my interior ... yellow border, off-white textured top. I chose not to worry about beads (too much PITA)
- If you are doing the sewing yourself, ensure you use a weather resistant nylon thread -- I use the same thread as used in sails (and is UV protected as well)
- Once cover is sewn up, staple to top using stainless staples -- I played around with the lengths to ensure I got the longest staples possible that would still completely penetrate the plastic
- Now that the top is completely done, remount to the seat base and assemble completely (i.e. screw together)
Carpet the base. Because I wanted black, I used bunk carpet as it was readily available and is water resistant
- I ensure the carpet wrapped around the bottom of the base so that there is no plastic visible
- staple (stainless) the carpet to the base all around.
- 1 seat complete (see pics 11a/b)
See all 4 in my boat in different configurations (Picture 12 a/b/c/d)
** I am getting an error loading the remaining pics -- 200 file error; they are small (all under 300kb, so I am not sure why it won't upload). Once someone tells me why, I can upload the final pics of the seats in my boat) -- thanks