Dillon Francis

Custom Design - Manufacturing - Project Management

 Other Marine & Structural Stitching Projects


I have done all sorts of different marine projects from marina awnings to floating boat house enclosures and aquaculture spawning and farming nets even enclosures for yacht clubs and restaurants.

Aquaculture net design & Manufacture


The first net I built was a project I inherited after buying up a net manufacturing business for their walking foot sewing machines in Seattle.

This was back in 2003 and since then I have made one or two nets a year and repaired others where ever I have been in the world.

The designs and systems vary according to the farm and their systems in place. Most of the systems  are protected under IP rights.

I share where I can.




I have only made probably 25 sets of trampolines.

Every one has been different and each one has been virtually from different fabric or netting.

I take the fabrication of trampolines pretty seriously as I used to fly trapeze whilst at university. 

The stretching and lacing is an art in itself. 

Anyhow,  if there is anything you need to know about making, designing or fabric choice get in touch with me 


Catamaran WINDQUEST - Trampoline.jpg

flying trapeze 


A long time ago.....

Tension Structures


Starting out with Mark and Paul Du Plessis in Cape town and "Cape Shade" 20 + years ago we did some interesting projects. This included a 500 car port structure for Cape Town INTl Airport.

Some years later during a winter in Seattle I went to Dubai to design some shade awnings and carports for a housing estate.

From time to time in the sail and canvas business you get orders and inquiries. They break the monotony of making covers for boats. 

One project stands out. This was for a restaurant in New York I did with Mark Plough from Doyle Sails.


Residential & Commercial Awnings


As  a commercial canvas and sail shop with over heads and staff to maintain one can hardly afford to turn down work. 

 As painful as this work might be it pays the bills.

Sometimes you even get a cup of tea.

I have actually done some enclosures for some of the finest hotels and restaurants on the east coast of the USA.

Keeping close to home is always a good idea.

Commercial awnings are a pain in the ass in the USA. You have to deal with building regulations, fire departments and municipal authorities. When you are working in a hurricane belt area the paper work is mountainous.

The last project I did kept my secretary busy for two months just on the certifications and licences. The job was only around 40 k and I should have made a profit but buy the time the project was finally approved with all the materials and construction certs we lost terribly.

Knowing the local municipality and local politics can play a large roll in deciding which job to take and which to walk away from.


Restoration Project


Sorry folks I only ever did one of these.

This was a restoration where we did the seats in burgandy leather and the top with Tan - Sunbrella.

Fired two employees over this project.

There are windows and side panels to with.