Bicycle Mechanics - Leather Tooling
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02-11-09, 11:51 AM
Can a leather saddle be tooled after its made to customize it?
02-11-09, 11:54 AM
If you mean cut parts away ... yes. Check out the wallingford website and Sheldon Brown. There are some people that have done some pretty extreme stuff to their leather saddles.
If you mean tooling like cutting pictures and such like on a horse saddle, it might be difficult. To do that sort of work, you need to have the leather flat on a hard surface, which you can't do when it's stretched on a saddle frame.
Assuming you're talking about a Brooks (or one very similar), you could drill out the rivets and remove the leather, do the tooling, then re-rivet it to the frame. Replacement rivets are available from Brooks. Wallingford (www.wallbike.com) carries them. According to the info there, only the copper rivets are replaceable, the steel rivets require a machine to set them. Some steel rivets are copper plated, so just because it looks like a coper rivet doesn't mean it's replaceable. You could use a magnet to check. The page with the info is at http://www.wallbike.com/accessories/rivets.html
I'd guess that if you have steel rivets, you could still drill them out and just replace them with copper. It'd be an upgrade. But I'm not certain that the holes in the leather and frame would be the same size for either type.
I've never had to replace a copper rivet. I'd assume you put the head on the outside of the saddle against a solid surface like an anvil, and hammer the shaft flat from the inside. Then use a ball peen hammer to smooth the head down on the outside. Probably not an easy task the first time one does it.
But a nicely tooled bike saddle might look pretty cool.
Dangit, now that you've got me thinking about it, I want to try it (I've done some leather tooling a while back). I just ordered a B-17 Champion Special from wallbikes a few days ago, and I'm really tempted. Maybe it's a good thing that he's out of stock on the 13mm rivets. I suppose I could upgrade to the 16.5mm that are used on the Team Pro. Hmmm, now I need to think of what I'd want to carve on it. Hmmm....
BTW, the B-18 (http://www.wallbike.com/b18.html) Lady has an embossed saddle top.
02-11-09, 04:38 PM
Check this out: http://www.zobags.com/
02-11-09, 06:27 PM
Yup. At least as long as you have a solid surface to work on, it doesn't matter what the shape. In fact, you'll get a better representation of your design if you do it after it is in its shape than when done before and stretched.
02-12-09, 10:36 PM
Talk to CyclArt: http://www.cyclart.com/leather.html
02-22-09, 11:14 PM
Whoa! What a saddle! A bit....abrasive to ride on? And I just wanted a big "R.F." on a green B 17 to make it 'officially' Rat Fink!
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