Re-cover A Saddle Quick & Cheap.


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the tinker

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 4, 2014
2,689
5,776
Planet Mongo
#1
" Look....I need a saddle done in leather for the kid's cowboy bike and I need it before noon. Just get it done
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"Pauli wants his kid's bike seat re-done today before lunch. Whatta we gonna do Henry ?


"I know Jimmy, that guy the tinker.....he's kind of a schlock but I bet he could crank one out quick

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Crummy seats....we all got'em .....Take the pan apart and get all the rust off. & Re-paint if it needs it.
Grind off the spring rivet tops if the edges are sharp.
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Always keep a knife with you...... not only for protection but when you see an old leather couch out on the curb stop and cut out any salvage leather off it. I keep a knife in both our cars. The light brown piece I got on the way to church.....time to do it is when you see it.
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Those old heavy flannel shirts you got you're gonna use for rags....save em. Cut out a hunk large enough to wrap the pan with.

Cut out two other hunks each a little smaller and one little patch to cover the rivets.Cut them a little neater then the Tinker did......
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First spray some upholstery glue[From Home Depot] on the pan and attach the small hunk of cloth over the riveted section.......
Then spray the entire top pan and underside edges with glue and tightly wrap the large hunk of cloth around the pan. Pull the edges tightly, folding them over the edges onto the bottom edge of the pan.
Repeat for each hunk of fabric.

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Be a little neater then me..... I had to do this fast as I was afraid I was gonna get wacked if I didn't get it done quick.......
Next cut your leather.....and repeat ....I let the leather set on my hot truck dashboard in the sun while I was doing the other stuff to soften it up cause it has to be pulled real tight....Lastly install the bottom pan&bottom bracket.
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Done...[.One hour and 45 minutes]. Take your time......buy the foam instead of the old shirts but hey, this is the Tinker here....... what can I say?? I got the photo sequence a little screwed up here but you get the idea.

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Goodfellas-Wallpaper-3.jpg


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View attachment 328680
 
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the tinker

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 4, 2014
2,689
5,776
Planet Mongo
#3
Did up a bunch of old saddles. Little bit different then I posted before. First off I made a re-usable pattern for the material.
Second I was more careful to cut everything neatly......:) To glue everything up I used Weldwood contact cement for the padding only. I used Home depot's fabric spray cement for the leather , not contact cement. The fabric spray allows positioning ; movement and stretching unlike contact cement.:(
After the top leather was glued up and ready to go I placed it glue side up on top of my hot bar-b-q lid for a few minutes to heat up the leather.The hot leather is not as stiff.
I have talked to a fellow that does saddles that soaks the leather and then stretches it over the seat pan . He punches holes in the leather and laces it up like a boot under the pan. Allows it to dry and even puts a seat stamp on it and says you use little to no glue. His saddles turn out perfect. I may try that......someday.
For today's work I started at 0900 and covered 3 seats with leather by 1100. Nice enough for the old clunkers I have!
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All these seats shown will be covered for about $3.50 each. The cost of the glue. Padding was old but still nice bath towels .[ask the wife for them first] and my old heavy work shirts. Leather is from discarded curbside chairs.
I think for the average old bike this is a good deal.;)

I am going to add this edit: I don't know how others do it [ feel free to chime in here] but when applying the top leather I mold the leather on the top side first . Then flip over and start at the front horn part of the seat . Stretching and pulling the leather over the bottom edge of the pan. A few slits will have to be carefully made to do this as you work your way around the pan.
 
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the tinker

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 4, 2014
2,689
5,776
Planet Mongo
#7
Thanks everyone for the nice comments on the the saddles. So far I have done 17. The first 4 were not so good and had to be re-done. I never attempted this before and had no one to show me their little tricks . It was a learning experience.
I did 2 in imitation leather from Jo- Ann Fabrics and the real leather is much easier to work with and gave better results then the intimation stuff.
In the span of 3 weeks I salvaged real leather from 2 couches and 2 chairs. Also a fair amount of the fake stuff from other furniture cause it looked too good to go to the landfill. My wife actually said, "Maybe someone will want that furniture and here you are ruining it by cutting material off them".......sorry..:(

Laying the leather ,after it has been glued up on top [glue side up] of the hot bar- B - Q cover for about 3 minutes prior to applying seems to make the leather a little easier to work with
.
I will not mention the fellow's name who told me the "correct" way to do saddles as he is a great guy, he is just a lot fussier then the tinker.:rolleyes:
I want to add that he soaks his leather for about an hour in water prior to use. Then molds it over the pan,while taking string and tightly lacing it through punched holes that are placed every inch or so just like a laced up boot. Then it is allowed to set a day or two so it will dry, fully molded to the seat pan. Then the center of the saddle will be marked to receive the manufacturer's stamp .
That's about all I can remember as this was at a show and you know how that goes......
 

the tinker

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 4, 2014
2,689
5,776
Planet Mongo
#9
When I spotted this nice looking chair out in the trash this morning I drove right past it saying to myself'"That's gotta be vinyl". Got a few houses down and turned back thinking. "But maybe not."
Sure enough it's leather. Perfect for bike saddles. Will get at least 5 seat tops outta this . Almost a shame to cut this up as it looks like a nice chair.
This is exactly what you want for to re-cover your saddles with. It's the right thickness and is easy to work with and most importantly......it's free.:)
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the tinker

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 4, 2014
2,689
5,776
Planet Mongo
#11
Last night I sat in this chair.It is sitting out in the garage and I also looked it over really good. Being a retired carpenter I can appreciate the amount of workmanship that's in the wood base /stand. It is in excellent shape. I may keep it to replace the the almost 40 year old chair I have in the downstairs bike-room. It is very comfortable and reclines back.
The garbage truck was right behind me as I picked it off the street.
I hate the waste in this country.
 

the tinker

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 4, 2014
2,689
5,776
Planet Mongo
#13
Made the decision to keep it. Too good to cut up. More then likely will come across another . Most of these leather chairs the seats are shot. The sides and backs are what you look at for the saddle leather.
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You are right Trips , I will keep this one don't have the heart to ruin it.
 

the tinker

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 4, 2014
2,689
5,776
Planet Mongo
#17
I want to add this: Don't be in a rush when doing your saddle. Don't be a schlock like me and be in a hurry ... cut your padding neatly. I have used foam before but I did not like the "feel" of the finished saddle. The older saddles were not as soft .If I wasn't so cheap I would go out and buy some heavy felt for the padding, but that's just me.
Don't get discouraged if your first try turns out looking like a first grade craft product as mine did.
I had hoped that some of the other fellows doing seats would chime in here as far as how they do it, as I know it would be welcome to learn their way as to improve this thread, as I am indeed a "Schlock".
 
Likes: tryder

fat tire trader

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Oct 29, 2010
2,967
1,233
San Quentin, California
www.fattiretrading.com
#18
While getting ready to do my second saddle recover, looking for tips, I found this thread. The first saddle I did last summer for my Pea Picker. I would have preferred to use an original looking cover, but I had to do it in a rush with what I could quickly get my hands on.

This is the bike with the original cover.
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I removed the cover and cleaned the pan.

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I sprayed adhesive on the pan and covered it with foam.

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Then, I sprayed the foam with adhesive and covered the foam with leather that I bought at a local leather shop.

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The next saddle that I am going to do is for my 1943 Dayton military bike.

joes-saddle-1.jpg
 

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