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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-28-2009 07:58 PM
horvath Thanks, Dan!

I'll be sending you a sample of both buffalo colors I'm going to be using in the interior; Dark Chocolate (which they call "black") and Cream (which they call "palomino"). If you can hook me up with matches for making buttons, it sure will help me out.

I'll be using the larger 3/4" buttons on the backs of the seats.
01-28-2009 01:41 AM
DanTwoLakes Alan: You should be pleased, they turned out great! I love the way you're doing the back of the seat backs with the buttons. Send me a piece of the buffalo hide that you want to match, and I'll see what I have in my arsenal to make buttons out of. What size buttons are you going to use?

I can't tell you how good it makes me feel that you guys are succeeding at doing this!
01-28-2009 01:11 AM
horvath I'm finished with my seats -- I wound up using buffalo hides and I couldn't be more pleased!

Here's a picture of the Before & After:
http://alanhorvath.com/54chevy/chevypics/seats_az.jpg

And here's the whole photo-tutorial, from start to finish:
http://alanhorvath.com/54chevy/new_seats.php

The whole project spanned a period of ten days and I found a whole new level of respect for you pro's! Man, I'm tellin' ya ... I'm real pleased with the way they came out, considering this was my first time and I didn't make any serious blunders, but I wouldn't want to do it a second time. LOL! My hands are killing me! This is, seriously, TOUGH work!!! Sewing those French seams around the parameters of the seat backs and bottoms was nearly impossible!

Anyway, the best part is, I did it and I did it well ... buffalo hides have the most beautiful grain on the planet ... and the most difficult part of doing my truck interior is behind me.

Special thanks goes out to you, Dan D., for all your wonderful help and support.
12-23-2008 11:10 AM
horvath Well, my project is moving along.

Here's the start:
http://alanhorvath.com/54chevy/new_seats.php

Then, a couple of days ago, I covered the seat-back handles:
http://alanhorvath.com/54chevy/new_seats_2.php

And yesterday I covered the seat side control modules:
http://alanhorvath.com/54chevy/new_seats_3.php

Merry Christmas everyone!

Alan
12-18-2008 01:59 PM
horvath Excellent.

Thanks, Dan. I'm psyched! This is gonna be such a fun project.

Now I need to calculate how many hides I'm gonna need to do the whole interior.
12-18-2008 08:08 AM
DanTwoLakes Yes, the sew foam will keep the leather parts from stretching. That's why I sew the perimeter parts to 1/4" sew foam too. I used to do that just for leather, but now I do it for everything. It just makes a higher quality job, keeps the parts from stretching too much, and pads the parts that touch the seat frame to prevent the seat cover from being cut if bumped.
12-18-2008 01:13 AM
horvath Report on Buying Hides: I called both leather suppliers (listed/linked to above) and The Hide & Leather House had the best prices by far! Elk hides, being approximately 20 square yards, are $160.00 each at The Tannery compared to only $100.00 at The Hide & Leather House ... and The Hide & Leather House assured me that these were top-grade hides (the Tannery did not)!

Also, The Hide & Leather House seemed to be much more knowledgeable ... he was concerned that I was using elk hides for seats and said the elk hides, like deer hides, stretch too much for this type of use. I told him I would be using sew-foam to compensate for that and he didn't say any more.

Is the sew-foam going to help keep the elk hides from stretching too much? Or is it possible I'm making a mistake here?

Alan
12-17-2008 11:19 AM
horvath Thanks, Dan. I hadn't thought about condensation -- that's another *really* good reason not to do that bagging routine.

Honestly, I didn't think it would come to that because, like you pointed out, these seat backs are obviously not going to be a battle; they are, from top to bottom, a straight run that gets wider as it goes down.

PS - I bought a compressor yesterday so I'm ready to use my glue gun!
12-17-2008 07:44 AM
DanTwoLakes No problem with using a strip of plastic on the edge of the seat back. I'm talking about covering the whole thing in plastic which isn't necessary. I also know from experience and the style of Alan's seats that they will go together with no problem without using any plastic at all. Remember, the seats you are copying were made on a production line where speed is just as important as quality. I'm trying to get you guys to think in terms of making custom seats, where "good enough" isn't good enough and taking any extra 10 minutes to put a seat cover on will teach you a lot more than slamming something together as fast as you can.
What I'm trying to get across to you guys is that if you do the seat covers right in the first place, you won't need to heat anything or steam anything. The only thing I use my steamer for in my shop is to form carpet. I use my heat gun to make vinyl repairs.

Mark: I'm sure when you worked on dental chairs you were using contract grade vinyl like Naugahyde Spirit Milenium which is very heavy, stiff, and hard to work with, and made to take a beating and be impervious to staining and yes, steam and or heat would help with that situation. The modern vinyls, 100% polyurethanes like Ultraleather, and leather are soft and pliable, and don't need heat or steam.
12-17-2008 07:13 AM
Pope From the factory my seats came with a 5" strip of plastic all along the outside edge. I cut a heavy-duty garbage bag down the middle, 5" wide and about 55" long. Slight mist of foam spray on the plastic and installed it by following the outside edge of the seat top and wrapping all 3 sides. I am not recommending this to anyone. I did it because that is the factory way for my seats. Made things very easy to slide on and allowed lots of foam to foam contact so things wont shift, also no condensation problem.
12-17-2008 05:09 AM
Dusty82
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes
DO NOT, under any circumstances, steam the inside of leather!! You will shrink it. DO NOT, under any circumstances put water on the inside of leather, for the same reason. ( leather can be cleaned with just a damp cloth after the seat cover is on)
I have never heated or steamed a car seat cover to get it on in my life. If it doesn't look good after the first time you put the seat cover on, there is another problem that needs to be addressed. Steaming or heating is not a substitute for cutting and sewing the seat cover correctly.
Steaming seat foam may get indentations out of a piece of foam, but steaming will not completely revive old foam. Even the best seat foam loses its density over time, and nothing will make it come back.
I'm not trying to preach, and I'm also not trying to criticize you, Mark.

See Alan? I told you Dan would have some input...

No offense taken, Dan. I wondered about that as I was typing it, and that's why I mentioned you, and the fact that I hadn't worked with leather yet. I was hoping you'd say something if I had some bad advice.

I do have a comment though. I did upholstery in a factory setting, as I may have told you - I upholstered dental chairs. We used steamers and heat guns all the time to get the vinyl (Naugahyde) to conform to the contours of the seat forms. Now please understand that I'm not questioning you, but isn't the use of a steamer and/or heat gun considered 'par for the course' when it comes to upholstery? Some corners are pretty tricky, and sometimes you don't want a wrinkle where it seems to want to be - you get my drift. Steamers and heat guns softened up the vinyl enough to kind of trick it into doing what you wanted it to do, whether it wanted to or not.

As far as a steamer 'reviving' seat foam is concerned, no - it'll still be 20 year old foam. But it'll sure be softer, puffier, easier to handle, and won't have that 'nasty old foam' smell. It'll also bring the foam back a lot closer to it's original shape.
12-17-2008 01:08 AM
DanTwoLakes
Quote:
Originally Posted by horvath

Dan: Thanks for the heads up! PS - Have you ever heard of using bags from the cleaners before? I never tried it ... but it's something I heard a long, long time ago and filed it in the back of my head. It does make sense that sliding one of those bags over the seat before slipping your cover on would make things go easier ... I've just always wondered if you might hear crinkley-noises every time you shifted in the seat (THAT would suck!).
That's exactly why you don't use bags from the cleaners. If you use anything, it would be silk film which wouldn't make any noise, and there are some seat backs where you might need to do that just at the very top, (like Ford truck seats that have headrests as part of the seat back) but there are no seat bottoms where any plastic should be necessary. You show the seat covers after you took them apart on your website. Was there any plastic over the foam in the first place? I didn't think so. There couldn't have been or the velcro wouldn't have worked. Plastic is big in boat seats because you are trying to pull a plain vinyl seat cover over foam, but your seat covers are going to have sew foam that will let the covers slide right on over the foam. You could also spray them with silicone.
Let me throw this one out into the universe.........plastic encourages condensation with temperature changes, and would trap any moisture that might develop. I've had this discussion before when someone asked if you'd need plastic under a seat cover in an open roadster that may get trapped out in the rain, and also in a thread about cleaning seat covers....... Look at post #18 in THIS THREAD to see some pictures of why I don't like plastic under seat covers. Also read post #20.
12-17-2008 12:18 AM
horvath I love Hotrodders.com -- it's great to be back and into a good thread again!

Barry: LOL! Let me tell you ... if it was necessary, I would take up tanning!

Pope: That's a great link! Thanks! Dan also sent me one:
The Tannery: http://www.thetanneryinc.com/leather.html

Dusty: Thanks, Bro'. I was thinking about the inside-out routine and I will try that first.

Dan: Thanks for the heads up! PS - Have you ever heard of using bags from the cleaners before? I never tried it ... but it's something I heard a long, long time ago and filed it in the back of my head. It does make sense that sliding one of those bags over the seat before slipping your cover on would make things go easier ... I've just always wondered if you might hear crinkley-noises every time you shifted in the seat (THAT would suck!).
12-16-2008 03:33 PM
DanTwoLakes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dusty82

The steamer also sometimes helps out when it comes time to pull the finished covers over the seat. Heating up the corners of the new cover softens everything up and helps it to form around the contours of the foam. (Dan may have some input on this too. I have to say that I haven't worked with leather yet, so I don't know if steaming it is necessary when it comes time to pull a leather cover over the seat.)
DO NOT, under any circumstances, steam the inside of leather!! You will shrink it. DO NOT, under any circumstances put water on the inside of leather, for the same reason. ( leather can be cleaned with just a damp cloth after the seat cover is on)
I have never heated or steamed a car seat cover to get it on in my life. If it doesn't look good after the first time you put the seat cover on, there is another problem that needs to be addressed. Steaming or heating is not a substitute for cutting and sewing the seat cover correctly.
Steaming seat foam may get indentations out of a piece of foam, but steaming will not completely revive old foam. Even the best seat foam loses its density over time, and nothing will make it come back.
I'm not trying to preach, and I'm also not trying to criticize you, Mark.
12-16-2008 02:56 PM
Dusty82 Welcome back Alan! Good to see you!

I checked out your site, and have a couple of suggestions for you. First would be to get hold of a steamer and go over your seat foam with it. It'll soften and puff up the foam and remove some of the dimples and divots left by the old upholstery.

Take care of that foam, BTW - it's expensive to replace. (I checked into new foam for the Chevy truck seat I did in class, and the cheapest I found was $300 - and that was just for the seat bottom!)

The steamer also sometimes helps out when it comes time to pull the finished covers over the seat. Heating up the corners of the new cover softens everything up and helps it to form around the contours of the foam. (Dan may have some input on this too. I have to say that I haven't worked with leather yet, so I don't know if steaming it is necessary when it comes time to pull a leather cover over the seat.)

The picture is the steamer I have, and I use it quite a bit for a number of things.

You may or may not need any of that plastic film to pull your seat back cover over the seat foam. I was going to use it on the Chevy bench seat, but Dan told me to give it a try without it first, and I didn't need it. The way I did my seat back was to turn the cover inside out, steam the corners, line up the top of the cover on the seat foam, then start pulling the cover down over the foam, turning it right side out as you go. (Does that make sense?) Remember that I was using vinyl and cloth with no sew foam sewn onto the back of it. I know that foam against foam doesn't slide much at all, but the fabric backing on the sew foam should help.

Welcome back Alan, and good luck on your seats!
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