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gtpvette 11-21-2011 01:00 PM

Covering An Aluminum Bucket Seat
I'm new here,,, great site. I need a few opinions on upholstering my seats. I'm not sure if what I'm thinking is the best way,,, would like your opinions as I've seen the talent this forum has.

I have a pair of aluminum seats that that I made that I'd like to get covered in leather. My though is to use 2" foam for the side bolsters, under my legs, rear end, then have it taper off to 1" as it moves up my back toward the headrest and shoulder support area. My initial thought is to have the two bolsters around my hips and legs to be separate pieces and then have the center section snap in place below my legs and above my head/shoulder area. Maybe held in place via some Velcro.

I'm thinking my ideas are probably not the best,,, so the question is how would you go about upholstering a seat like this?


DanTwoLakes 11-21-2011 01:10 PM

These are larger than most Bomber seats. I'd do them pretty much exactly like you said. The sides will have to be very thin, at least on the inside, or you won't have much seating area left, I would sew the outside back, outside sides and inside sides all together using French seams, put that all on first, and then velcro in the seat bottom pad and the seat back pad. The seat bottom and lower seat back would be rectangles, and the upper seat would flare out on both sides and top.

The bolts are for some type of restraint system?

gtpvette 11-21-2011 01:50 PM

First, thanks for your thoughts. Iíve spent a bit of time reviewing you posts and tutorials over the last week or so,,, you really do fabulous work.

The bolts you ask about are really clecos I was using to hold the shoulder supports in place prior to welding. The car will have a 5 point harness and I have since cut some holes in the back of the seats for the shoulder harness to slide through. I do have the correct grommets for these.


Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes
I would sew the outside back, outside sides and inside sides all together using French seams, put that all on first, and then velcro in the seat bottom pad and the seat back pad. The seat bottom and lower seat back would be rectangles, and the upper seat would flare out on both sides and top.

Iím not sure Iím exactly following you here. Are you saying you would make one piece that would wrap around the upper (area above the side bolsters) back and part of the front of the seat and I would assume glue in place? The seat pad would be 1 piece that would cover the area from under my legs all the way up to the headrest as well as the shoulder area? I assume it would would then overlay some of the first piece?

As for the side bolsters, the seat is wider than it looks as I need a bit more room than I used to. That said,, how would you construct and attach these?

Thanks again!!!

DanTwoLakes 11-21-2011 02:43 PM

I would make one large assembly that would cover the outside of the seat, after it is padded, and lap over to the inside of the seat and be glued down. I would make the inside part that you sit on in three pieces which would be 3 separate individual cushions attached by velcro. One piece would be the seat bottom, the next piece would go from the top of the seat bottom to where the top area flares out, and the third piece would cover the rest. If you drilled some holes through the metal seat frame, you could also attach some buttons right straight through the back cushions to the back of the frame to help hold those cushions in place.

Did you make these yourself?

gtpvette 11-22-2011 06:12 AM

Makes sense now,, thanks. Making the center section in multiple pieces has the added benefit that I can get to the bolts that will hold the seat in place. When I first started down this path I looked at a number of seats in the junkyard and in particular one out of a 914. The center section of that was removable like we are talking about and it was backed with a thin piece of fiberboard that the material was glued and stapled to. Should that be the way these should be built?

As for me building these,,, well I sort of did. I mocked it up in wood and cut the metal,,, then had them welded up by a local shop as I donít TIG.

The wood mock up

DanTwoLakes 11-22-2011 07:26 AM

You did a nice job designing the seat frame! Yes, you can make the reverse of the pads or cushions or whatever you want to call them by using a thin piece of plywood, ( or my choice would be 1/4" PVC foamboard, but I keep that at my shop all the time.) and staple to it. Glueing the fabric would be not be necessary.
The seat bottom area could be held in place by drilling holes through the frame and "T" nuts installed in the plywood under the cushion foam. Then you could bolt the seat bottom down from the under side of the frame.
I would pad the outside and inside of the side bolster areas and the back side of the frame with 1/4" closed cell foam (brand name Volara). This is pretty rigid, so it is good strong padding with less thickness and less weight. You will need to glue this stuff to the frame. Be sure to scuff the shiny outside of the Volara so glue adheres to it better.

bookm 11-30-2011 05:19 PM

An excellent discussion
I'm very impressed with your ability to mock-up the seat in wood, and the guidance you've received is superb. Good luck on your project!

gtpvette 12-01-2011 10:57 AM

Necessity was the driver on this,,, I don't fit very well in anything else I've found. :D Dan's advice seems to be spot on in all the treads he posts in. I'm afraid after looking at a bunch of those threads I'm looking into sewing machines to give upholstering a go. I bought a bunch of black hides on ebay some time ago and although I don't believe they are the best,,, I'd like to give it a try.

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