Stamping Vinyl Seats

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Squiggle Dog

Finally riding a big boys bike
Many, if not most of the old Troxel saddles from the 1930s-1950s were made of vinyl. However, it is the norm these days to recover them in leather. I personally avoid animal products and do not want leather. I have a 1940s Troxel saddle which was restored at one point, and a good job was done of it. I would like to have the leather replaced with vinyl, but it turns out stamping vinyl is a lost art.

I think the key with stamping vinyl is heating the stamp, as heating the vinyl might not be enough to get a good impression without risk of melting it. Rustjunkie has been kind to oblige with testing some vinyl samples for me, but the results haven't been as good as he gets using leather. I hate to waste his time and am wondering if anyone has gotten good results stamping vinyl, and even better if you have a Troxel stamp and can stamp a piece of vinyl for me (I have the vinyl and can upholster it myself).

Stamps don't seem to ever come up for sale, otherwise I'd look into buying one and experimenting myself. As a last resort, I might see if I can get a company to make a new stamp which I can then use with an iron or such. But, that may be tricky as they have to have a high quality rendering.
 

Squiggle Dog

Finally riding a big boys bike
It looks like I'm going to have to draw a picture of what I want a stamp to look like, and send it to the stamp company in the post above to have one made. I guess if you want something done, you have to do it yourself.
 

bloo

Finally riding a big boys bike
Not available as far as I know (please post back here if it is). "Leatherette" in those days was either oilcloth (linseed oil based), Fabrikoid/Rexine (nitrocellulose based), or one other that remains a mystery. None are available.

Vinyl (PVC based) was not common until the mid 50s, and so most likely not what they were stamping on those old seats. Vinyl needs heat, and you would basically be melting the pattern into it. I would not expect that to look like those old stamps no matter what you do. I suspect thats why leather is used now. Well, that and the fact that leather looks more similar to those old materials.

2 or 3 years ago, while digging for a source of nitrocellulose-based artificial leather I heard of Piñatex, a new artificial leather made from waste pineapple leaves. I don't know how hard it is to get, and I've not held any in my hand to see if the texture is right, but it might be worth checking into.
 
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Squiggle Dog

Finally riding a big boys bike
Not available as far as I know (please post back here if it is). "Leatherette" in those days was either oilcloth (linseed oil based), Fabrikoid/Rexine (nitrocellulose based), or one other that remains a mystery. None are available.

Vinyl (PVC based) was not common until the mid 50s, and so most likely not what they were stamping on those old seats. Vinyl needs heat, and you would basically be melting the pattern into it. I would not expect that to look the like those old stamps no matter what you do. I suspect thats why leather is used now. Well, that and the fact that leather looks more similar to those old materials.

2 or 3 years ago, while digging for a source of nitrocellulose-based artificial leather I heard of Piñatex, a new artificial leather made from waste pineapple leaves. I don't know how hard it is to get, and I've not held any in my hand to see if the texture is right, but it might be worth checking into.

I did a Google search on oilcloth, and I found quite a bit of it for sale. I'd be just happy with pvc vinyl or whatever, though. You just want to use a quality material, and not the cheap crud I used on my office chair which dried up and cracked in a couple months of use.
 

bloo

Finally riding a big boys bike
Since the 70s and probably longer they have been selling "oilcloth" that is basically the cheapest tablecloth material you can imagine, vinyl about the thickness of saran wrap with a fuzzy back. Usually in red or yellow plaid or something. Definitely not the same stuff. That really confused me growing up in the 70s when I would see reference to "oilcloth" in old prewar books.

It probably wasn't oilcloth anyway. I doubt it was durable enough for a bike seat. Fabrikoid (USA) or Rexine (UK), is a much better bet. "Pyroxylin" is the nitrocellulose based material that is applied to the cloth. I don't know when the last of it was made in the US, but probably the late 50s or so. It was available much more recently in the UK, though maybe not the surface finish you want. All gone now. To make matters even worse, Rexine is a trademark owned by someone, so if any does surface, it is unlikely to surface under that name. To make matters worse yet, in India, the word "rexine" is used to mean any old vinyl or whatever, so you get a lot of false hits on the web. I believe small quantities have been reproduced to restore prewar Bentleys, and you can imagine the cost, but I don't see any of it for sale.

The rabbit hole is deep.......
 
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