Our top 3 professional fastener installation tools

If you’re working on a project that involves installing a lot of snap fasteners, you might want to invest in a high quality snap fastener installation tool. Professional grade installation tools make installing snaps so quick and easy that you’ll be glad you made the purchase. There are many different snap fastener tools on the market so choosing which one is right for you can sometimes be challenging. Today we’re going to break down the different strengths of three popular snap installation tools; the SnapRite® System, the Pres-n-Snap Tool, and the DOT® Snapmaster Hand Press.

The SnapRite System


The SnapRite System Complete Kit

The SnapRite System was created by Sailrite owner Matt Grant and it uses a unique set of 4 dies that work with a standard rivet gun to set button, socket, stud and eyelet snap fastener components in one step. This system also installs Pull-the-Dot components and gypsy studs without requiring special dies, but it can be expanded with the purchase of 2 additional dies to install studs to hard surfaces and twist lock fasteners.

The SnapRite is a lightweight and portable tool (all the dies will fit in one small pouch!). It’s great for installing snaps on covers because the dies work as a positioning tool to help you place snaps on your canvas exactly where you need them, so you get a super snug cover. The SnapRite also has no throat restriction on the tool, so you can place snaps anywhere on fabric, even in the middle of a large boat cover.

Drawbacks to the SnapRite System are that it requires the use of SnapRite Mandrels for setting snaps and must also be used with special SnapRite buttons and gypsy studs that have a hole in the center to accommodate the mandrel.

Great SnapRite Features:

  • • Sets in one step without pre-punching a hole
  • • Conveniently portable
  • • Allows for perfect positioning without tool restrictions
  • • Works with any standard rivet tool
  • • Installs DOT snap fasteners, Pull-The-Dot, gypsy studs and more

The Pres-N-Snap Tool


Pres-N-Snap Installation Tool with included dies

The Pres-N-Snap Tool is a professional grade tool that allows you to set snaps with just a one-handed squeeze. This tool uses dies that work in pairs to install snaps in one step. The dies snap into the Pres-N-Snap so they won’t get lost during installation and include gaskets that keep the snap components securely in place. The tool itself comes with six dies to install standard snap fasteners (buttons, sockets, studs and eyelets) and #1 plain grommets. It is the only snap fastener installation tool that also install grommets and that can be mounted on a tool bench (with the addition of the Bench Mount).

To further expand usefulness of this tool, additional dies can be purchased to install Pull-the-Dot sockets, gypsy studs, and spur and plain grommets.

The drawbacks to this tool are that adding extra dies can get expensive and that the throat of the tool restricts where you can install snaps on the fabric.

Great Pres-N-Snap Features:

  • • One-handed installation
  • • Punches holes and installs snaps in one step
  • • Conveniently portable
  • • Can be bench mounted
  • • Installs DOT snap fasteners, Pull-The-Dot, gypsy studs, and grommets

DOT® Snapmaster Hand Press


DOT Snapmaster Hand Press

This tool is great for the professional who installs a lot of snaps and fasteners. The Snapmaster Hand Press is a lightweight and portable, professional grade tool that installs all the most common marine fasteners on the market. It has a comfortable grip and an adjustable lower die. This tools also offers the flexibility of interchangeable upper and lower die seats, so there’s no wrong way to install the dies.

The Snapmaster uses dies that pair together to install standard snap fasteners (buttons, sockets, studs and eyelets) as well as Pull-The-Dot, Common Sense, and Lift-The-Dot fastener components. Installing Common Sense eyelets and Lift-The-Dot sockets requires using a pair of cutting punches and then a pair of setting dies.

All of the dies are sold separately from this tool, which is really its biggest drawback. While the Snapmaster does a great job setting snaps, the cost of the tool and all of the individual dies can really add up. Like the Pres-N-Snap, you are also somewhat restricted by the tool’s throat.

Great Snapmaster Hand Press Features:

  • • Aluminum/Steel Construction
  • • Heavy-duty toggle link mechanism
  • • Adjustable lower die and dual bushing system
  • • Extended throat depth
  • • Punches and dies interchangeable in upper and lower die seats
  • • Installs DOT snap fasteners, Pull-The-Dot, Common Sense, and Lift-The-Dot fasteners

To see a comparison chart that further breaks down the features and installation capabilities of each of these tools view our Snap Fastener Tool and Components Guide.

All of these professional snap fastener installation tools are available at www.sailrite.com.

Which of these fasteners is your go-to tool? Why do you love it? Share your opinions with us in the comments!


Cam-Lock Support Pole in the Rubber Swivel Pad Pole Base

Last week we shared with you a great tutorial on How to Make a Pontoon Boat Cover.  Today we’re going to highlight a piece of that tutorial that you can use for any type of boat cover—how to support and vent your boat cover.

When you’re making a cover for a pontoon, or any other kind of boat, it’s important to keep the cover taut and tented so that water won’t pool on the top. Puddles of water cause the cover to sag and moisture to leak under the cover, which can allow mold and mildew to grow. It’s also a good idea to add a vent to allow cool air to enter and exit the cover, preventing condensation.

To keep your boat cover securely tented most people use some sort of adjustable support poles. Poles can be attached to the boat cover by a snap or a grommet and stud and rest on a rubber end cap. However, these poles can be hard to place is tight corners and don’t really work when support is needed over seats or other obstacles. If you need to support your cover in an odd location, try using a Cam-Lock Support Pole and the Rubber Swivel Pad Pole Base.

The Rubber Swivel Pad Pole Base, as the name suggests, is a sturdy base for support poles that has a swivel mechanism. This base not only allows you to swivel the pole exactly where you need it (even over seats) but it also helps to disperse the weight over a wider area than a traditional pole base. The only downside to these bases is that they must be used with the Cam-Lock Support Poles, so you won’t be able to re-use existing poles.


Installed Boat Vent II in a pontoon boat cover

A great bonus piece that works with the pole base and the support poles is the Boat Vent II. These boat vents look great and can be installed in any cover (even existing) to help keep condensation out. The Boat Vent II also acts as an attachment point for the Cam-Lock Support Poles.

You can get all these great products to help you boat cover perform the best for years to come at www.sailrite.com.


Finished Pontoon Cover

As summer draws to a close, many boaters are gearing up to store their boats for the winter. If you need a new cover for mooring, trailering or storing your pontoon boat, why not make one yourself? For only a little more than the cost of an average pre-made cover you could sew your own perfectly fitted, custom cover that will last for much longer.

We’ve already shown you how to cover your sailboat and powerboat, and now we’re bringing you a video specifically focused on covering your pontoon. In our How to Make a Pontoon Boat Cover Video, we will walk you step-by-step through the process of sewing your own custom cover.

For our pontoon cover, we chose to use Surlast Fabric. Surlast is a solution-dyed polyester with a urethane coating on the underside to increase water and mildew resistance and to add stability. Surlast is a great cover choice for boats in the Midwest or other more temperate climates. If you live in the tropics, where the sun is stronger, you might want to use a Sunbrella Marine Grade fabric, which will offer even better UV resistance.

This style of pontoon cover fastens to the boat via snaps around the perimeter and features a venting system. The cover is tented to prevent water pooling using Cam-lock support poles. In this video, you will learn how to determine the amount of material needed (0:33), install boat vents (6:22), create darts (11:43), add chafe protection (39:07), and install snaps and support poles (59:10).


Materials List:

All of the materials needed to make your own custom pontoon boat cover are available at www.sailrite.com.

Have you ever made your own boat cover? Share your tips and advice in the comments!


French Mattress Style Cushions with Sunbrella Icon Collection Fabrics

Who doesn’t love a comfy seat? A great way to turn any bench, window seat, chair or floor into a soft place to sit is to add a French Mattress Style Cushion. These plump, plush cushions feature a rolled edge and tall boxing reminiscent of a mattress. They make excellent floor pillows because the stuffing and tall profile of the cushion provide a lot of padding between you and the floor. These cushions are also easy to sew and have a finished look without adding piping. Let’s take a look at how to make a French Mattress Cushion.

Mattress style cushions can vary in look depending on your application. Some cushions feature large rolls at the edges, some are tufted, some are very plump and some are a bit flatter. In the video, we give patterning instructions for creating a plump, floor pillow stuffed with Polyester Fiberfill and also for making a flatter cushion with foam inside. If you choose to use foam as your filling, wrapping the foam in batting will help you create a fuller look, while still not being as puffy as the fiberfill.

These cushions sew together just like a typical box cushion with one exception–the rolled edge. After you assemble the cushion, turn in right side out and topstitch along the edges to create that piped look. We chose to make our cushions in a Sunbrella Upholstery fabric, but you can use any home décor fabric that you choose. If your cushions are for the patio, use an outdoor home décor fabric like Sunbrella, Waverly Sun N Shade, or P/Kaufmann Outdoor.

In this video you will learn how to pattern your fabric, create boxing, sew the cushion together, add the final mattress style seam and fill the cushion.


Materials List:

You can find all the materials needed to make your own mattress style cushion, including the new Sunbrella Icon Collection fabrics featured here, at www.sailrite.com.

How would you use a cushion like this? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!





We often have customers ask us where they can take their Ultrafeed Sewing Machines to be serviced. Our answer might surprise you, we tell them not to take it anywhere. At Sailrite, we are committed to helping you to learn how to service your own sewing machine, right in your own home. You may be wondering if that’s a practical option, and we whole-heartedly believe that it is.


The Ultrafeed’s all metal, mechanical parts

The DIY spirit is all about self-reliance and knowing that you can do things yourself. We take this same approach to our sewing machine service. It is our goal to make sure we provide you with all the resources you need to effectively and confidently service your own sewing machine.

Our sewing machines are made from mechanical parts instead of electrical boards and circuits, so you don’t need to be a skilled electrician to tune them. In fact, anyone with even a small amount of mechanical skills can service their own Sailrite sewing machine.

Both the Ultrafeed Guidebook and the Ultrafeed Set-up, Use & Maintenance DVD are great resources for information on both routine maintenance and more advanced troubleshooting. If you run into a problem that you can’t solve through the included materials, give us a call. When you call in, we’ll start a custom support case for you to document any and all issues you may be having with your machine. This also helps us track your case until all issues are resolved. Then, you’ll be promptly contacted by a member of our sewing machine staff, often with a custom support video specific to solving your problem. If you find after the video that you need still further assistance, a staff member will work with you over the phone. No other sewing machine company provides this level of service.

Of course, there are at times reasons to have a machine professionally serviced like if your machine fell overboard or if you simply don’t have the time to service the machine yourself. For these occasions, Sailrite has a full service repairs department.


To learn more about the Sailrite Ultrafeed Sewing Machines and Sailrite’s top-notch customer support visit www.sailrite.com.

Have you ever had to troubleshoot your own Ultrafeed? How did it go? Share your experiences with us in the comments!


Finished Lifesling Cover on our Islander37

A Lifesling is a very valuable piece of safety equipment to keep on board your boat at all times. This man-overboard recovery system makes it easier than other recovery methods to hoist crew members back on board. However, the number one complaint of sailors is that the deployment bag that stores the Lifesling doesn’t hold up to UV rays and chafing. We’ve received many requests for instructions on how to make a sturdier Lifesling cover. We listened to those requests and today we’re sharing our latest how-to video that will detail how to sew your own Sunbrella Lifesling cover.

We modeled our cover off of the original pouch that comes with the Lifesling. To give our cover better UV protection, we used a Sunbrella Marine Grade fabric. Many sailors like to use a Sunbrella that matches the rest of their boat canvas for a cohesive look. We also added a chafe protection patch of Phifertex Plus Mesh to the back of the cover where it will rest against the stanchion. We also added Phifertex Mesh to the bottom of the cover to help promote drainage and airflow.

To give the cover a sturdy shape, we created internal pockets to house plastic stiffeners. You can buy thin sheets of plastic at a hardware store to insert in your cover, or repurpose the sheets from your existing Lifesling cover. Although we do not show this in the video, it is also a good idea to cut out the instructions from the original Lifesling bag and sew them to your new bag so they can be easily seen.

In this video you will learn how to pattern the panels, create the inside pockets, attach a back flap, and assemble the cover.


Materials List:

You can find all the materials needed to make your own Lifesling Cover at www.sailrite.com.

Have you ever made a Lifesling Cover? Share your experience, tips and advice in the comments!


Even though the summer is starting to draw to a close, there’s still plenty of time to go outside and have a picnic! Why not picnic in style this year with a custom, quilted picnic blanket? Picnic blankets are great to store in your car for kids sporting events, concerts, and, of course, picnics. Stow a picnic blanket on your boat for a nice place to sit on trips to shore! Today we’re going to show you how to make your own quilted picnic basket and also include a tip for making sure it won’t blow away on a windy day.

There are many different styles of picnic blankets, and we’re going to outline one way to make one today, but you can customize your design to be exactly how you want it. To make our plush picnic blanket, we chose two outdoor fabrics, which will make the blanket durable and reversible. As added protection against the wind, we added grommets to the corner of the blanket that can be staked into the ground with golf tees or other stakes, so wind won’t disrupt your meal.

Picnic Blanket Materials:

How to Make a Picnic Blanket:

1. Decide which of your fabrics you want to wrap around the other. That will be your top fabric and the other will be the bottom during construction. Also determine the finished size you’d like your blanket to be. Ours is 47” x 64”.


2. Cut the bottom fabric and the batting to the desired finished size of the blanket. Measure and cut the top fabric to the finished size plus 2-3/4” on each side. This extra fabric will make the border.


3. Stack all the pieces so the top fabric is on the bottom, then the batting, and then the bottom fabric.


4. Run a row of basting tape along the edge of the larger piece of fabric.

5. Fold the fabric over the tape to create a small hem.

6. Baste along the hem and fold over the batting and smaller piece of fabric.


7. To create a mitered corner, pinch the fabric at the corner and fold the extra fabric to create a triangle. Fold the triangle of fabric under one side of the border so the border creates a 90-degree angle at the corner. Pin the corners in place.


8. Sew a row of stitches around the perimeter of the border about 1/8 inch away from the inside edge of the border.

9. Find the center location of each side of the blanket and mark it with a fabric marker.


10. Using a ruler, connect the center locations to form a large diamond. Run a row of stitches along the lines you traced to quilt a diamond in the blanket.

11. Measure out from each sewn line 6 inches on either side and draw a line. On the inside of the diamond, measure in 6 inches and create another diamond. Continue to measure and create lines and diamonds until you have your desired quilted design.


12. If desired, add a grommet to each of the four corners of your blanket to accommodate for stakes to windproof your blanket.

13. Have a picnic and enjoy your new blanket!

All of the materials needed to make your own picnic blanket, including a great selection of outdoor fabrics, are available at www.sailrite.com.

Where is your favorite picnic spot? Have you ever made a picnic blanket? Share your experiences and stories in the comments!


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