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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. I'm a new guy around here, but I'd like to assure everyone that I did a lot of searching before posting this question.

I'm getting these seats from Rootlieb:


They're fairly cheap, and I'd like to upholster them myself.

Upholstering the base should be pretty straightforward: I can staple or tack into the wood.

But how the heck do I upholster the seatback?

(Unfortunately Rootlieb wasn't a lot of help, either. I suppose that they expect you to take the seats to a trim shop.)

Thanks!
 

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Acoustic Rock ... for real.
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Hey, Matt

Do yourself a favor and buy this book :
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/offering/list/-/1555611400/all/ref=dp_pb_a/102-4537664-4269731" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/offering/list/-/1555611400/all/ref=dp_pb_a/102-4537664-4269731</a>

Custom Auto Interiors
by Taylor & Mangus

I just bought this book from Amazon.com (link above) for $15 and I'm amazed at all the cool info about how to do these projects!! I also got their other book "Automotive Upholstery" which has all the basics - tools and getting started info.

I would think you'll have to first pad the seat, then make templates and sew a cover that will slide over the back (like putting on a sock).

You'll definitely want to spray everything up with silicone when you try to slide the cover on ... a lot of pro's, instead of silicone, use the palstic you get from the cleaners when you have a suit dry-cleaned! Otherwise, you'll tear up the foam trying to slip your cover on, and you'll have to start all over.

Good luck.

Alan Horvath
<a href="http://AlanHorvath.com/" target="_blank">http://AlanHorvath.com/</a>
Acoustic Rock ... for real.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply, Alan!

I actually bought both of those books this past fall. You're absolutely right: they're a great source with a lot of helpful information.

These seats are a lot different than the normal metal-frame-with-springs construction. Here's a picture of them installed on an early Model T Speedster:


As you can hopefully see from the picture, it's not a sewn vinyl cover, like the kind you would use a lot of silicone to lubricate.

Instead, the metal backs of the seats are painted and remain exposed. The upholstery is tucked into pleats and rolled over foam, and is somehow secured to the metal upright. (Maybe with tacking strips?)

So, the part I really need help with is: how do I tack, or otherwise secure, cloth or leather to the metal seatback?
 

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If you look real closely at the pic you posted of the Speedster you can see some typical snaps going around the perimeter of the seat back. Installing male snaps to the seat and female snaps to the upholstery/padding would be a logical method.
The other would be to do it like the airlines do ~ their cushions and padding are installed using 'hook 'n loop' (Velcro). They typically use 2" strips securely glued onto the frame with mating 2" strips on the upholstery/padding.
 

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Acoustic Rock ... for real.
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Oh ... I see now.

'40Tudor had all the same thoughts that hit me ... I could see the snaps in your photo and though that would be more work than velcro I think it looks very cool! Also, velcro would probably shift and move alot when sittin' and gittin' in and out of the seats.

I'm also thinking, in terms of the tucking and pleating, maybe a chipboard backing with the seams of the pleats tacked to that, by hand ... althgough you wouldn't need the extra support with the snaps -- I'd definitely go with the snaps.

Keep us posted on this, eh? It looks like a challenging and fun project!

Alan
 

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You may be able to get bottom seat springs for these seats from Car-Line Mfg. in Beaumont TX.
That would certainly give you a better ride than the bed of foam method.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the great responses, guys.

In particular, '40Tudor's response lit off a light bulb in my mind.

For some reason, I was thinking that those fasteners were rivets or brass tacks. I never thought that they would be normal snaps. That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the help!
 
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