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Old 08-17-2008, 10:55 AM
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Re-padding an old car seat.

As promised here is the rear seat bottom out of a '53 Chevy 4 door sedan. It, and the seat back, are all original. Right now, I am only going to deal with the seat bottom. When I get to the seat back, which is slightly different, I will post some more.

The first picture is obviously of the seat before I get started. The second pic is to show the seat construction. You can see that sometime after WWII, Chevy changed from coil spring construction to sinuous wire springs. My '48 Chevy coupe still has the coil springs in it. Sinuous wire springs (also called "ziggers") are a great improvement over coil springs in my opinion. The next picture of the seat bottom shows that there is some mouse damage. You can see the little pieces of cotton the mouse was making a nest with. The next pic shows an area behind the front kick panels that was also going to be a mouse nest. The two yellow pieces are fiberglass insulation that was behind each of the kick panels. You can see that the mice love this stuff as much as they do the cotton and burlap. The last picture shows the fine yellow dust from the disintegrating original latex foam.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 08-17-2008 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 08-17-2008, 11:20 AM
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The 5th picture shows the original latex seat foam which was just under the original seat cover. It's hard to see in the picture, but there is a small mountain of the latex dust on the left side. This stuff makes a huge mess, almost as bad as drywall dust or plaster dust. The seat cover is fabric only, there is no sew foam at all. The 4th pic shows the backside of the latex foam which has little round pockets in it. Latex foam was and is great stuff. It has two problems. The first problem is that exposure to air over time causes it to get hard and brittle and eventually turn to dust. The second problem with latex foam is that it is extremely expensive, twice the price of polyurethane foam. It has some good qualities, too. It is made from natural rubber, is naturally anti-microbial, dust mite and mildew resistant. Bacteria just can't live in the stuff. It also provides excellent seating.

Under the latex foam (third pic) is the forerunner to modern deck pads. This is a layer of cotton sewed to a layer of burlap. The burlap was bigger than the cotton all the way around, and provided a way to hog ring the cotton in place so it wouldn't move under the foam. Later on, this gave way to bonded cotton which was used as a deck pad. Bonded cotton was compressed and made a heavier layer that didn't break down as easily as regular cotton. It still needed something over the springs to keep the bonded cotton from being damaged by the springs themselves. The 2nd pic is of the permalator, which is a wire grid embedded in a layer of burlap. It is also available without the burlap. As I stated before, the permalator was there to keep the cotton from being pushed down through the springs and ruining the cotton. The 1st pic is of the entire spring unit down to bare steel. It is in very good condition for being 55 years old, and will make a good base for the new seat cover. A couple of the springs had come loose from their mounts, but that was easily fixed.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 08-17-2008 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 08-17-2008, 12:23 PM
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O.K. now comes the easy part. We're going to replace all of the crappola we took off the seat with two individual pieces.

The first picture shows 3 choices for a deck pad. The gray stuff is re-bonded felt. This is a lighter weight stuff that would be good on a seat back. I would not choose it for a seat bottom. The white stuff in the middle is called "laminated deck skin" by my supplier. It has a really tough backing on the underside, and a soft layer on top. The other stuff in the roll is called Flex Pad. It would work fine on the seat bottom, but the other white pad is tough as nails and will be what I will use. All I did was turn the seat upside down and trace around the border wire about 2 1/2" away from the border wire all the way around. I then cut this shape on the deck pad and attached it to the seat bottom with hog rings, folding it under as I went along. Before I did that, I traced that same shape onto a piece of 1" thick 2665 firm polyurethane foam. That will be bigger than I actually need it to be, but now the foam size is more manageable. I will trim it to fit better after I glue it down to the deck pad. I use foam to foam glue to do this. I am sewing the top of the seat cover to 1/2" sew foam, so that will effectively replace the same thickness that was on the seat bottom originally which was about 2" all together. My 1" foam, 1/2" sew foam, and 3/8" deck pad make the total thickness of the new padding 1 7/8" thick. This is going to make a fabulous, comfortable seat. That is something to remember.......it is just as important to make the seat comfortable to sit on as it is to make it look good. I've seen some beautiful work put over the top of lousy old padding. What a waste.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 03-14-2009 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 09-08-2008, 05:14 PM
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Another great post, Dan! What is the name of the stuff you're using for the deck pad? I used the felt on the Chevy Truck seat, but I knew when I used it that it wasn't the best choice. I'm doing the seats in my wife's hot rod Dodge Dart, and don't want to use the felt again.
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Old 09-08-2008, 07:06 PM
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The name of it is laminated deck skin. I got it from one of my suppliers on a closeout and was surprised what good quality it is. Now I bought a whole bunch of it because it works so well, especially on car seats.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 03-14-2009 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:25 PM
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Perfectfit has something called Deck Pad:

http://www.perfectfit.com/154725/pro...ing-64009.html
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:36 PM
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The stuff that Perfectfit McDonald has is a gray re-bonded felt, which is what Dusty used on his truck seat. The stuff I used is white and has a firm, tough, shiny reverse side and had no particular brand name. I also use a product called Flex Pad which is also white, is 1/2" thick, and comes in 20" and 24" rolls. It doesn't have the tough shiny reverse side. That is a regular product at one of my suppliers. Both of the white products are heavier and better quality than re-bonded felt.
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:57 AM
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Never heard of the pad, but it does sound like good stuff. I have always used felt and such for my seat needs. Although I think I am going to start looking into this now.

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Old 09-12-2008, 12:52 PM
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The felt works fine for seat backs, but seat bottoms get a lot more pressure applied to them, so the heavier pad works the best in my opinion.
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Old 09-23-2008, 06:52 AM
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Here's the new seat covers on the old frames which were both completely re-padded. I forgot to mention this before, but another benefit to re-padding the seats is that the new padding weighs considerably less than the original.
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