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upholstering a saddle

Old 11-13-10, 02:11 PM
  #1  
FeatherLight
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upholstering a saddle

Can anyone tell me why this would be a bad idea?
I am planning to buy a beat up used fizik arione saddle and a small sheet of leather from JoAnns.
Is it hard to upholster an old saddle?
Thanks.
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Old 11-13-10, 02:40 PM
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Just remember to use contact cement to glue on the new cover and back it up with small uphoulstery staples if they used them un the original cover. Many had made the mistake of thinking that spray on adhesive will work to glue on new saddle covering (3M 77 "industrial spray adheasive") They just end up slowly letting go specially when the bike is left under the sun for any legnth of time. Contact cement gets much harder when cured than spray on adhesives and is not prone to softening iwth heat.
Do a search in the C&V forum as there had been a few posts this year on how to re-cover saddles.

Good Luck with the saddle project!

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Old 11-13-10, 02:41 PM
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do a search for recovering, there are a few threads on this topic in the C&V forum
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Old 11-13-10, 02:50 PM
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it is very diffcult. I did an old flite saddle, by the THIRD try it looked so so. Hot tips, get the most thin and supple piece of leather...and buy enough to do it several times. Also it is about 3 steps to glue on the leather, first the front to back of the saddle direction with glue just down the middle. Let dry. Then around the outer perimeter of the saddle....with lots of streching. then the impossible part of wrapping the leather around and glueing to the underside of the saddle. Buy a new saddle...IMHO
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Old 11-13-10, 03:32 PM
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Unless your JoAnn shop is different than those around here I don't think they sell actual leather, just vinyl imitation. You want the real thing so you will probably have to find an upholstery shop and see if you can buy a suitable small left-over piece.

As Chombi noted, use real contact cement, I believe "Barge" is one good brand name.
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Old 11-13-10, 04:21 PM
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It's readily doable, but a bit of leatherwork experience is handy. I've done a few saddles, some using leather from a discarded leather jacket, one with leather from an old laptop bag. Never used contact cement.
I use industrial-grade hot glue, only on the underside of the seat pan. I soak the leather in hot water to make it more pliable, then I do a couple of test fits to get sufficient stretch over the nose of the seat before I start folding the edges around and up against the (lip of the)pan where I glue it. Industrial-grade hot glue sticks well enough even to wet leather.
What often can be the biggest challenge is to get the old cover off, w/o damaging the underlying foam. Pretty much any splinter removed will be visible through the new cover.

I've also seen some guy who do mail order saddle refurbishment. He charges a bit but still less than a brand new high-end saddle.
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Old 11-13-10, 07:31 PM
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Thanks everyone,
Question, will the staples go through the seat, because the fizik is very thin...
And the seat does not already have staples in it, so will that matter?
I think it is a plus to reupholster because then my seat will look like a generic brand so it will not get stolen.
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Old 11-13-10, 11:30 PM
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Alternately, you can have a cobbler do it for you. My local shoe guy charged me $40 to recover a vintage Flite Ti in white leather. Came out a lot better than I could have done it.
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Old 11-14-10, 03:40 AM
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My first bike was one my pop and I got from the tip. We put new leather on the saddle frame and riveted it down.
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Old 11-14-10, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by FeatherLight View Post
Question, will the staples go through the seat, because the fizik is very thin..
A hardware store that knows its business should be able to sell you staples of different lengths, although I don think staples are actually required. Here's an old post of mine:https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=1#post6809631
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Old 11-14-10, 04:08 PM
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Thanks,
Thats how I kinda imagined it to go
Hope its as easy as it looks
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Old 11-15-10, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by FeatherLight View Post
Hope its as easy as it looks
I guess that would depend on what skillset you bring to the table. I have some experience of leatherwork, so I have some grasp of how much it can be coaxed to stretch, where it needs to stretch and where it doesn't. Given that I pulled it off at my first attempt w/o any cussing. Then again, with a whole scrapped leather jacket as material source I could easily have tried again if I'd gotten it wrong.

Do note that some think that the cover needs to be glued down over the whole surface.
I don't think so, but if you want to try the tip is to use contact cement and to get a good shine of water onto the saddle before placing the cover. The water will prevent the cement from latching on immediately, you can slide the cover around a bit and the cement won't engage until you basically press the water out - pretty much like when you tint car windows or apply stickers/decals the professional way.
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Old 11-15-10, 10:24 AM
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I used Barge Vinyl stick cement a Shoe store order
to rebuild an old saddle whose original glue
had given up, aged
I used Chamois from the Auto parts department to cover mine.

I did not need staples in the underside , stretching the leather from the center of the top down.
then trimming the edge, and then folding it under worked for me
I expect the synthetic Fi'zi:k covers their products with, can be left in place,
and glued over. the foam may tear if cover, glued down is removed.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-15-10 at 10:29 AM.
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