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Leather saddle DIY project

Old 12-11-22, 03:29 AM
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Leather saddle DIY project

I really want to manufacture my very own tensioned leather bicycle saddle, something like a Brooks B17. I want to bend the rails, manufacture the tensioning bolt set up at the front, press the rear metal frame and river the leather to the metal structure.

I’ve recently done a leather course and am confident that I’d be able to shape and make the leather part but less confident with the metal work.

Has anyone made their own or got any advice for bending the rails and making the pressed metal templates?
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Old 12-11-22, 06:17 AM
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Liam,
I'm a pretty decent hand with leather and metal. My advice is start with the leather project.

Totally beat up leather saddles (doesn't have to be Brooks) are cheap on ebay. Disassembling and cleaning up the metal will give you good ideas about how to do your own metalwork. Replace the leather on that one.

You'll be buying tools just for the leather work, and can plan out what tools you'll need for the metal.

Good luck, it's a real project!
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Old 12-11-22, 06:37 AM
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IMO you'd be vastly better off acquiring an old saddle frame, or a saddle with broken leather (but an intact frame), then refurbishing as you propose. This assumes that you don't have access to CNC machining and/or metal bending services.
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Old 12-11-22, 06:41 AM
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Old 12-11-22, 07:04 AM
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https://www.rhmsaddles.com
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Old 12-11-22, 09:05 AM
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Top advice everyone, I’ll get on the hunt for an old one to recondition. Also that website has a good blog that highlights If I want to use new leather then I’d need to remove as Mutch stretch as possible.
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Old 12-11-22, 09:24 AM
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RHM looks awesome.

they will make you a custom one it looks like.

wonder if that can re-apply the yellow/gold embossing on a 3ttt or Unicanitor.
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Old 12-11-22, 12:26 PM
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My Brooks Pro is beginning to show its 50 year age. We have been very close for a very long time and I would be devastated if I were to lose it.

That Brooks no longer makes these is disconcerting.
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Old 12-11-22, 01:51 PM
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My guess is that the price of the tooling for stamping or forging the cantle and nose pieces is going to make the price of a bender seem like pocket change.
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Old 12-11-22, 02:13 PM
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Depends on your available time and resources. I suppose it won't be too difficult to make metal templates for the cantle and nose pieces using grinders and files, then heating and forging sheet metal to shape, but you'll need some power tools and an oxy welding set at least.
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Old 12-11-22, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by obrentharris
My guess is that the price of the tooling for stamping or forging the cantle and nose pieces is going to make the price of a bender seem like pocket change.
Brent
Yep. There are times when I wish I had some real forming equipment, but no way I'd spring for it just as a hobbyist. Price punch presses, tool & die needs, etc. Huge tooling costs. One could hand form, but it'd be a lot of work.

-Former NC turret punch press and press brake operator. Amada/Cincinnati.
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Old 12-11-22, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
RHM looks awesome.

they will make you a custom one it looks like.

wonder if that can re-apply the yellow/gold embossing on a 3ttt or Unicanitor.
Ask Rudi..
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Old 12-11-22, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by liamM93
I'll get on the hunt for an old one to recondition.
I have a torn Brooks Pro. Where are you located?
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Old 12-11-22, 03:07 PM
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Yeah, i can explain how to form the leather, how to do the rivets, etc, just PM me if you have questions.

If you're serious about making your own frame, be sure to look at all the crazy things people have tried.
In particular, look at the Lepper saddles (in Netherlands) that have a hand brazed 531 frame. I've seen photos but i haven't seen one in person. I gather they aren't as robust as a saddle needs to be. At least one forum member has one.
Also be sure to Google Giorgio Siligardi, who made some very interesting (innovative!) saddles in the 80’s. They come up on ebay occasionally but unless they're woefully maldescribed or miscategorized, the prices are insane. Again, at least one forum member has (or had) one. Vonruden may have a comment to share.
Before you try making the frame, i would also suggest you look at as many different saddle designs as possible. Idéale had some interesting designs until some time in the sixties or seventies, after which all their racing saddles had the same design as Brooks. Brooks hasn't changed the design of the B17 series since 1950, at which time all they did was introduce a cheaper nose design.
So it's clearly a design that works.
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Old 12-11-22, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
RHM looks awesome.
thanks!

HE can make you a custom one it looks like.
fify!

wonder if he can re-apply the yellow/gold embossing on a 3ttt or Unicanitor.
Nope, sorry!
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Old 12-11-22, 03:17 PM
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All Brooks saddle parts, besides the leather, are readily available at reasonable prices.
As suggested, buy a Brooks saddle cheaply when the leather has failed. Generally, components can be bought if needed. https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/search/?term=brooks Occasionally the nose piece and or tension bolt is missing or need replacing.
The leather must be vegetable-tanned (not chrome-tanned) and go for at least 5mm thick. I buy half a side at a time.
Then you need to mold it. I use a form

and vacuum form over that with a vacuum pump and a bag.



Rudi (RHM) uses a different process. My first go (in 2009) is documented on LFGSS
I make my own rivets,

and fit them using custom tools. This is set out on the (Australian) BNA site

I enjoy the ability to customise the cantle plate shape as was done in the past, or to make a red Swallow style with large rivets.



I tend to make saddles for myself as there is no way I could charge at reasonable rates for my time. I use the process to arrive at a saddle that fits my sitbones, and in a style that I want. I find the process immensely satisfying.
If you are planning on selling them think about the point of difference, what would make your product significantly different to warrant the cost premium.
Any questions please ask.

Last edited by Big Block; 12-11-22 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 12-11-22, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Block




If you are planning on selling them think about the point of difference, what would make your product significantly different to warrant the cost premium.
COME ON! THAT saddle is awesome!
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Old 12-11-22, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag
COME ON! THAT saddle is awesome!


And that's before you say "oh yeah, I made that myself".
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Old 12-11-22, 07:47 PM
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Is that red thing a saddle or shoe horn?
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Old 12-12-22, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
Is that red thing a saddle or shoe horn?
a saddle
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Old 12-13-22, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
I have a torn Brooks Pro. Where are you located?
Hiya,
im located in Exeter, England.
Obviously more than happy to pay postage and supply some beers.
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Old 12-14-22, 05:52 AM
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Thanks so much for the top tips. The vacuum bag process looks to give a consistent shape to the formed leather. I have seen others hand sculpt and hammer the wet leather but think i'll paper mache a form of my B17, then cast concrete of something stronger to share the leather around.
I've managed to get my hands on an old stretched saddle so also am going to break the existing rivets and flatten the existing leather so i have a stencil to cut new leather from. All looking good i think i should have a finished project by the end of the week.
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Old 12-14-22, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm
thanks!

fify!


Nope, sorry!
do you recover selle flite saddles? I have an early 90's one but the leather needs to be re-glued and really should be replaced
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Old 12-14-22, 10:25 AM
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RHM has experience for those desiring cutouts in their suspended leather.


Large and maximal cuts

Or curved and “Imperial” looking (below)

btw, Scarface is an excellent saddle. AKA = rhm#186 on Rudi’s website.

Last edited by Wildwood; 12-14-22 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 12-14-22, 11:35 AM
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you may want to look at how the frame and set up is done on berthoud saddles




https://www.renehersecycles.com/shop...narrow-saddle/

you can even by the parts (but would be expensive) and do your own cover

https://berthoudcycles.fr/en/128-spa...nd-accessories
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