Leather covered solo seat

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by AmericanCthulhu, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. AmericanCthulhu

    AmericanCthulhu New Member

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    Leather covered cruiser seat

    Hey everyone. Been riding my sled a lot, and was wanting to get some sort of leather covered seat, in that sort of bobber-chopper-solo-pan type. I have a lowrider style Felt Bixby, and I want a seat in that sort of style. Looked all over the web, and couldn't find anything, (Choppersus.com has the closest, but their store has been down a while), and since my welding and metalworking skills are nil, I figured I'd make my own, and document the process here! I'm missing a couple pics at the beginning, but I'll do my best to explain what I did: I have a feeling my ass may suffer for sitting on the bare leather-covered seat, so perhaps my second try will be padded a hair.

    First, had the seat to my first frame (Schwinn Del Mar, catastrophic frame failure, swapped to the much more substantial Felt). Removed the staples holding the vinyl cover, and pulled the foam off. Mine has the sort of rubber donut springs. Not crazy about the look, but wanted to see if I could actually make something I liked, then keep my eyes out for a cooler seat base.
    After removing the padding, I was faced with the first two issues: the pan had a large hump running down the center, and two circular chunks of plastic which supported the springs.
    I used my heat gun to flatten the seat pan, heating then putting a block of wood down on it and stomping while pouring water down to set it, as well as using spring clamps to pull the nose a bit flatter. During that time, the top parts got a little "melty", so I used that to my advantage and heated the two cylindrical parts, and scraped at them with the wood. After cooling, I sanded the surface with my orbital sander, which brings us about up to speed! You can see where the two little cylinders were, as well as gouges where I got too heavy-handed with the plastic.
     

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    #1 AmericanCthulhu, Jul 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  2. AmericanCthulhu

    AmericanCthulhu New Member

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    Next, ran by Tandy Leather. They didn't have any scraps of heavy leather like I wanted, so I settled on a scrap piece of goat leather. Might end up finding I needed a thicker piece, but since I've never tried this sort of deal, figured it was a good place to start. Plus, the piece was 20 bones, right up my alley, and which I quickly found is pretty cheap for a leather store! I had been dreaming of one of the thick, alligator embossed pieces, but a smallish piece was almost $80, so I made do with goat. The piece I got also had enough to be able to squeeze out at least three covers, maybe four. If this one isn't too painful to sit on, and holds up, I'm going to try and burn a design into the next one before application.

    So, just a matter of giving around 2" of clearance on all sides, and cutting it out. I ruined my first piece attempting to soak the piece in water for 10 min, then in hot for 30 seconds to be able to stretch it over the pan, and have it harden. Not sure if it was the goat leather itself, or what, but the damn thing shrank down to about half size, so I am going with unsoaked leather this time! I stretched the piece over the pan, and clamped it overnight. Not sure if that did anything, but it seemed to settle into place, maybe was just my imagination.

    Using Barge cement, I first put down a strip on the center, waited 10 minutes, then pressed it down, and re-clamped the nose. Followed with each side. Up next, gonna heat up my awl, and punch through the lip of the pan for the final stitching! Anyone has any advice, I'd be happy to hear it!
     

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  3. AmericanCthulhu

    AmericanCthulhu New Member

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    Finished! Ended up using a small drill bit, and just eyeballing the distance between the holes in the pan for the stitching. Used waxed nylon thread for the finishing, which took the longest time BY FAR of the whole project. I'd advise anyone going to try it to grab a couple movies and beers, and settle in a comfy spot on the couch! My stitches ended up a little wobbly since I eyeballed the distance between drill holes, but still not bad for my first try. I'd like to try and burn a design into the next one, I have quite a bit of leather left, maybe I'll try and get the design on a different piece, the pull the stitches and lay the new piece over it.
    Haven't gone on a ride yet, but I sat on it, and it doesn't feel all that different from the padded one! I'll still be looking for an actual solo seat, but this looks cool for now!
     

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