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Recover Your Saddle

Old 08-09-12, 09:04 PM
  #151  
just dank
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i'm going to the fabric store tomorrow to look at some white leather, going to give it a try
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Old 08-17-12, 10:39 PM
  #152  
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using this technique to put a cover back on thats half off thanks!
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Old 08-17-12, 11:16 PM
  #153  
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I recently successfully re-covered a couple of saddles. One was reluctant to let me pull away the old leather without tearing the foam. Since the old leather was quite thin I just cleaned it, trimmed and removed the folded-under skirt and used the original as a substrate for the new cover. Worked out nicely. The new surface is very smooth and taut.

J
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Old 12-08-14, 09:25 AM
  #154  
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To preface: I have not yet recovered a saddle. That said, the best foam I have found was through a reupholsterer. My wife and I redid the chairs in our dining room back before we had kids and had a nearly infinite amount of time. The foam he supplied is of great density - the chairs are super comfortable for multi-hour sittings. If you could get a thin foam from a reupholstery shop, I would probably go that route.
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Old 10-17-15, 06:29 PM
  #155  
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i am gonna try this on my selle saddle from by bianchi....thanks for the info and inspiration.
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Old 01-29-16, 03:19 PM
  #156  
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I have a WTB saddle I would like to recover, but the existing cover cracked and the foam in that area is torn. will I be able to glue the crack together n the foam and re-cover it?
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Old 03-08-17, 05:50 PM
  #157  
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Hey guys. I found this thread and wanted to give this a shot. I recently picked up a Diamondback Master TG to build for a buddy. The bike was a 9/10 except the saddle. I went to the local thrift store and picked up a leather jacket for 10 bucks. I also used the 3M Super 77 like OP mentioned.

This overall process was much easier than I thought. A few things I will do different next time:
I had way too much material. I tried to trim it down but I didnt trim enough. It ended sticking to stuff and itself and generally got in the way. I also battled with glue on my hands that then got on the leather itself. What a pain that was.

Overall it was not as hard as I thought and it looks pretty good for my first try.










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Old 03-08-17, 05:51 PM
  #158  
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And here it is on the bike:





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Old 03-08-17, 08:29 PM
  #159  
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Nothing wrong with that. Looks really good. A before picture of the saddle would've been cool to see.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:36 PM
  #160  
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Originally Posted by tyler_fred View Post
Nothing wrong with that. Looks really good. A before picture of the saddle would've been cool to see.
Scroll up. Theres a few. The original cover literally blew off when i was spraying it down to clean.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:46 PM
  #161  
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Came out great. I've been wanting to try leather. done a couple of seats with old tee shirts. (Cool graphics). I like how you left seat on the bike for the stretching. That spray adhesive is sticky for sure.
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Old 03-08-17, 08:57 PM
  #162  
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Here's a Flite done from a Ladies skirt.

Attachment 555338

Last edited by Wileyone; 01-21-18 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 03-09-17, 06:01 AM
  #163  
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Originally Posted by primo123 View Post
Hey guys. I found this thread and wanted to give this a shot. I recently picked up a Diamondback Master TG to build for a buddy. The bike was a 9/10 except the saddle. I went to the local thrift store and picked up a leather jacket for 10 bucks. I also used the 3M Super 77 like OP mentioned.
Well done, looks good. My first recover is going on 8 years old now and doing just great. I've done mine with the same sort of leather as you chopped out of that jacket. I've now done 5 saddles and on my 6th (all Vetta TriShock saddles) and have two 'tips' that have served me well.

On the first one I made a template from a piece of vinyl - shaped and sized just about right to cover the saddle and leave enough, but not too much, material for the job. Easier to handle this without the excess material. Good decision as I've used the template 6 times now to cut the actual leather.

Once I have the leather cut out, I soak it in warm water for a few minutes. Mounted the saddle on a post and secured that upright in the vice. I position, shape and stretch the wet leather over the saddle and hold that down with some weights hanging from the excess (clamps, etc) so it holds the right shape as it dries overnight. Next day remove the shaped leather and further let it dry real well for a day or two. Then glue it down.

I've used 3M spray adhesive too and it works great. However for the underside, securing the 'skirt' folded over the plastic pan, I just use Weldwood contact cement. That has surprised me with how long lasting it is and the contact cement is much easier to control than spray on the underside of the pan.

On my latest re-cover I'm going to experiment a bit. The original Vetta vinyl cover was not glued to the foam . Just the lower edge was glued. So I'm going to try that - just glue the leather around the outside and inside of the plastic pan's edge, using contact cement. Time will tell how that works out. If successful, it would be much less mess than using spray adhesive.

My problem has been how to best fold, tuck and finish the leather at the nose of the saddle. I'm sure there is a better way that will look nice. I'm not there yet. Maybe on my 14th saddle........
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Old 03-09-17, 07:44 AM
  #164  
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@primo123 - looks great! Fantastic actually!

The one thing I have done also is I also use my bike stand to hold an old seatpost, but after the first I took an old beach towel, cut a small hole in the middle and put it over the seatpost so it covers my bike stand from the over spray..

I have done a leather one, but my recent ones have all been old T-shirts and even one of my old dress shirts..

Her's my very first, a 1994 Flite in white perforated that I bought new in 1994, now has 2.5 years and holding well:





And a Concor in one of my business shirts:





A Selle Italia from the late 80's wrapped in one of my Dad's 80's triathlon t-shirts that didn't fit anyone in the family anymore:





And another flite done in Star Wars:

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Old 03-09-17, 08:18 AM
  #165  
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^^^ Very interesting recovering! I'm into it. I am; however, slightly concerned the screen printed portions won't allow you to slide around as easily on the saddle. Also, is the material too thin? Any reports about those points?

Still think it's real cool.
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Old 03-09-17, 08:26 AM
  #166  
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@romperr - I bought that fabric treatment spray at Wally World that you spray on couches and the such to help water/food stuff to bead up and roll off it and I spray that on the saddles after all glue has dried.

Water beads up on them, my bibs don't get hung up on them... all works out really well actually.

Also, the t-shirt material is much easier to work with than leather.

The Star Wars is the 99 cents fabric swatch from the sewing section at Wal-Mart - they have TONS of paterns including some with bikes on them. I did another one with the "Day of the Dead" Mexican skulls on it but have to upload the pics...

- Andrew
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Old 05-27-17, 05:40 PM
  #167  
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I used the time I had to take the Panasonic out of service to find a replacement binder bolt to recover the saddle. It's a very light Selle Italia Carbonio with minimal padding, and had no tears, so I didn't take the old leather off. The finish on the original leather was just shot, and was starting to rough up my short. Plus it's that funky design with the little cutout triangle in the back, and I didn't want to mess with that.

I used the basic technique outlined here - sprayed the top of the saddle, and the bottom of the leather, with 3M Super 77 spray adhesive, got a nice stretched fit, and then used Weldwood contact cement on the underside edges and the leather that wrapped under. Had to mess around with the nose and redo it a couple of times, and never got the under-wrap there as neat and wrinkle free as I wanted, but it looks great. After one ride it might even be a teeny tiny bit more comfortable.

Don't know why I didn't take a photo from a similar view, or why the first photo is upside-down. Anyway, I already had the spray adhesive and contact cement, so for about $4 in high quality scrap leather, I have a super light saddle that should be good for at least a few more years.
Attached Images
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WornSaddle.jpg (97.2 KB, 222 views)
File Type: jpg
RecoveredSaddlecrop.jpg (94.9 KB, 221 views)
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Old 05-27-17, 10:42 PM
  #168  
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Originally Posted by khatfull View Post
Wool felt under the cover will bridge the little "divots" you refer to without adding a lot to the thickness of the saddle.

And those wondering, vinyl is much harder to work with because it's less flexible and thicker. OTOH you can hone your skills on vinyl fairly cheaply.

One thing you may find is that Super 77 adhesive may get soft in the heat of summer. I switched to Weldwood contact cement and got much better results. I do like the spray for the top of the saddle but I use the Weldwood on the edges where it really has to adhere.

Nice job OP...that looks really nice. Donor leather jacket, whodathunkit.
I agree, super 77 gets slimy with heat. In Southern California good adhesive is a problem, local air quality regulations really have hit the supply chain. 3M super 90 might be better, if you can find it.
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Old 01-21-19, 09:09 PM
  #169  
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Bumping this back with kudos to the OP for starting this great thread.

I've got a couple of Avocet O2's I want to recover and need advice on what thickness leather to order. As near as I can tell the cover thickness as removed is about 1.0mm. What I don't know is how much the leather stretched to reach this level. 1.0mm translates to 2-3 oz leather but this is thinner than what was mentioned earlier in this thread (5-6 oz). Any suggestions that don't involve buying an old coat? I'm thinking of ordering from ebay.
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Old 01-21-19, 09:43 PM
  #170  
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You can usually find the right piece of leather as a scrap on eBay. Try to be sare you get 'a fairly new piece, though; old leather can dry out and lose its stretchiness.

3 oz sounds about right. A little more won't hurt as long as it's stretchy
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Old 01-21-19, 11:31 PM
  #171  
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1mm is about what I have pulled off old saddles. What I have used as replacement is “upholstery leather” that is more like 2mm. I would not try anything thicker than that, especially if you have any tricky compound curves like on the back of a Concor.
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Old 01-22-19, 09:26 AM
  #172  
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Okay, got some leather inbound. I also bought some "Barge" cement.

Question: does heating the leather help with stretching around the underside and getting it to lay down flat? I've seen automotive seats assembled and the workers used steam wands to heat up the cover for better stretching and working out wrinkles.
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Old 01-22-19, 12:09 PM
  #173  
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Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
Okay, got some leather inbound. I also bought some "Barge" cement.

Question: does heating the leather help with stretching around the underside and getting it to lay down flat? I've seen automotive seats assembled and the workers used steam wands to heat up the cover for better stretching and working out wrinkles.
Hard for me to imagine how that would work. 1) not much mass, so it would be hard to maintain heat; 2) heat will likely accelerate the adhesive; 3) steam seems at odds with contact adhesives; 4) doesn’t seem necessary if your leather is thin enough - it will be pliable enough. My .02.
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Old 01-22-19, 12:17 PM
  #174  
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That's shown here added padding too ..
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Old 07-26-19, 10:25 AM
  #175  
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Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
Okay, got some leather inbound. I also bought some "Barge" cement.

Question: does heating the leather help with stretching around the underside and getting it to lay down flat? I've seen automotive seats assembled and the workers used steam wands to heat up the cover for better stretching and working out wrinkles.
I recover my saddles either at room temperature or outside on a warm/hot day and find he leather I use stretches a bit and makes it a bit easier to get the leather on without it wrinkling. I start at the nose and pull the leather to the rear and attach it there and then pull the leather to one side and attach it and then attach it to the opposite side. I usually do NOT glue the leather to the entire saddle top. That way if I recover it again in the future removing the leather wont tear the thin layer of foam under it.

Btw, I found that the thin foam sold as camping pads is most excellent for putting a layer of foam under the leather if the original foam is too damaged or if i want just a bit more cushioning. The foam is thin enough that on a long ride it does not compress so much as to cause problems where it doesn't compress like thickly padded saddles (or shorts) often do.

Cheers
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