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Saddle Recover - Part Deux (well, three or four...)

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Saddle Recover - Part Deux (well, three or four...)

Old 03-24-10, 09:28 PM
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khatfull
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Saddle Recover - Part Deux (well, three or four...)

Some of you remarked that my first effort to recover the saddle from my Club Fuji looked pretty good:




I wasn't happy with it. I thought the folds of the excess material were too big and too pronounced. So, I decided to try again. However, in removing the vinyl bits of the padding came up with it, leaving a slightly pockmarked surface. I thought the vinyl would bridge these and so I covered it again. No go, the "dimples" showed. So, I went Googling to figure out what to do. I came across an uphostery page that mentioned using 100% wool felt as a covering material in such cases. Off to Jo-Ann which happened to have it. I covered the saddle in the wool felt and this is what she looked like:




(Please excuse the messy workbench).

I then covered the saddle and it looked great! But I had gotten some contact cement on the cover and in a fit of stupidity I tried to clean it off with, yes, the big can in the background there, acetone! Dulled the vinyl immediately. Damn.

So, with one correct size piece of vinyl left I pulled that piece off...the wool stayed just fine and actually made the release of the vinyl easier. Shot the vinyl and wool with adhesive, waited and covered again, this would be (if you count the wool) 5th time I covered this saddle!!

However, I'm very pleased now with the results. It's just a tad softer with the wool under there but I think it will be just fine. Now, before the pics, a few tips since I was asked:

1) The vinyl stretched more in one dimension, I didn't notice this until the second to last cover. It was MUCH easier to work out the edges when I put the stretchy length of the vinyl on the long axis of the saddle.

2) Overlap the edges farther than you need to and trim back. You'll see the cleaner edges in the pics.

3) This time I glued three times...first time, the trimmed, found out where adhesion was lacking, pulled back and reglued. A couple of spots I did a third time to get it to lay as good as I could.

4) I cut a little cap piece of vinyl to cover the folds at the nose. Once all the adhesive dries well I'll hit the bit of exposed adhesive with a Sharpie to blacken and hide it. Same with any visible cut edges.

That's about it. This poor saddle ended up being my guinea pig but I feel MUCH more confortable now and really think I could recover about anything. And one more thing...the proximity of the rails to the sides of the saddle on this thing was a royal pain in the arse. This would be SO much easier on a modern saddle...much.

Ok, pics:





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Old 03-24-10, 10:03 PM
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There's something very, very wrong with you.



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Old 03-24-10, 10:06 PM
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Very nicely done! I just happen to have an old Fuji Saddle that is coming apart. Send me your address and I'll ship it right over!
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Old 03-24-10, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
There's something very, very wrong with you.
You know, nobody has ever mentioned that before...

Originally Posted by CMC SanDiego View Post
Very nicely done! I just happen to have an old Fuji Saddle that is coming apart. Send me your address and I'll ship it right over!
Haha, if you're serious PM me...I'm on a roll now
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Old 03-24-10, 10:43 PM
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That's pretty cool. And chance you'd be willing to recover my SLR?

Just joking.

...I think.
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Old 03-24-10, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by DRietz View Post
That's pretty cool. And chance you'd be willing to recover my SLR? Just joking. ...I think.
All I know is it would be a ton easier than what I just did...without the rails right up to the edge of where the cover overlaps. T'was a pain.
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Old 03-24-10, 11:06 PM
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Nice job - I'm going to study this a little more - there's a few saddles here that need some new covers.
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Old 03-24-10, 11:11 PM
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thanks for posting this, I've got a saddle recover coming in the near future and really appreciate the tips!
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Old 03-24-10, 11:28 PM
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Looks good!

Inspiration for a future project...
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Old 03-25-10, 04:32 AM
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Gene, a friend of mine has been altering and recovering his Turbo saddles for years now. He so likes the Turbo that he absolutely refuses to ride anything else these days. When he does a saddle, he first trims much of the bottom edge off, offering a lighter or cleaner look. The comfort factor is not impacted at all and the results look just great. Now days, I grab every cheapo Turbo saddle I can get my hands on.

I will try to get some pictures or try it myself.

As for khatfull's efforts and results. Good job. This is the sort of thing I really appreciate Bike Forums for.
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Old 03-25-10, 06:53 AM
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Very, very cool.

Have you tried doing the job with leather yet?
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Old 03-25-10, 07:04 AM
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I recently recovered an old vinyl Brooks saddle (from a Raleigh Sport) with leather. I used 3M 77 and clamps to hold it around the edges. It turned out really well except for near an area where the original seat liner was torn and the plastic underbody had shattered. I had layered some strips of duct tape to reinforce it but there is a wrinkle where the tear/cracked vinyl is. But for a $9 scrap of leather it looks (and feels) so much better than the original malformed saddle. If I'd do it again, I'd find a better way to reinforce the plastic underbody, but nothing liked sticking to it.

Your saddle looks very nice. Great work!
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Old 03-25-10, 07:28 AM
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Nice job Keith! The wool felt is a great idea and one I'll try on my next vinyl saddle rescue.
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Old 03-25-10, 08:52 AM
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Cool, is that 3M 80 Adhesive the only thing holding the vinyl to the base? My favourite saddle needs to be recovered (or chucked out) and it has staples
holding the cover down, this spray is strong enough?
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Old 03-25-10, 08:58 AM
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Professional looking re-cover job there!
Do you plan on using perforated leather on a future recovering job?? That would be awesome if you will.
You can make a small business out of this for bikers that want to revive their old favorite saddles or do custom jobbies.

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Old 03-25-10, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jet sanchEz View Post
Cool, is that 3M 80 Adhesive the only thing holding the vinyl to the base? My favourite saddle needs to be recovered (or chucked out) and it has staples holding the cover down, this spray is strong enough?
Yes, just the adhesive. When I took the several day old cover off last night I actually ripped a bit of the vinyl the adhesive was so strong. Looks like it fully outgasses in a few days and gets pretty hard.

Originally Posted by Chombi View Post
Professional looking re-cover job there! Do you plan on using perforated leather on a future recovering job?? That would be awesome if you will. You can make a small business out of this for bikers that want to revive their old favorite saddles or do custom jobbies. Chombi
Thanks! Hadn't considered perforated although I had gone to Tandy and got leather, then chickened out and returned it. Now that I feel like I have the process down somewhat I'll probably try leather again. Cut up leather jacket from a thrift store? Hmmmm...custom recovering...hmmmm.

Originally Posted by Oldpeddaller View Post
Nice job Keith! The wool felt is a great idea and one I'll try on my next vinyl saddle rescue.
Again, it was only to cover my screwup in removing the first recover. The first one was nice and smooth without the felt. But if in the process of pulling the old cover you "roughen up" the surface it seems to fit the bill.
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Old 04-02-10, 01:19 PM
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I'm glad you posted this. I just got a cheap huffy with cool vinyl wraps that fade from light blue out to white. I thought of this post and decided it was the perfect practice bike. The current saddle is black, but a white one would bring this bike back into the time of Crocket & Tubs thus making it nothing less than a 'Totally-Awesome' Huffy. I got the adhesive, and I went to the fabric store and bought a yard of marine white vinyl which is suitable for boat seat covers. What I didn't realize was just how much a yard would be, I was thinking 1-square yard. In any case my new-to-me blue Schwinn Traveler is crying out for white wraps and a white saddle. I picked up some rubber cement and hopefully I'll have a chance Saturday to see what trouble I can get into with all of this. Quick question for you about the seat. I'm planning on using some pretty craptacular seats that I've had laying around, do you know if any felt will work? like craft felt that I already have laying around, or does it have to be special felt?
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Old 04-02-10, 01:40 PM
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Very good work, Keith!

Where can I get these supplies? There's no Tandy store near me. Should I look at the hobby shops? Same for the adhesive spray?
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Old 04-02-10, 01:44 PM
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Thanks for this! I have recovered several saddles and I am always happy with the covering, but I always remove some of the padding with the cover.
Like you said the imperfections always glare through. The wool is an excellent idea.

Thanks again!
Jake
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Old 04-02-10, 01:49 PM
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Fantastic! I recovered a san marco concor a few months ago, what a pain! And the folds underneath are not too pretty. I ride it, but it's relegated to my campus bike. I'll have this thread bookmarked for future use, thanks!
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Old 04-02-10, 02:27 PM
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Thanks guys for all the comments!

Originally Posted by BigPolishJimmy View Post
I'm glad you posted this. I just got a cheap huffy with cool vinyl wraps that fade from light blue out to white. I thought of this post and decided it was the perfect practice bike. The current saddle is black, but a white one would bring this bike back into the time of Crocket & Tubs thus making it nothing less than a 'Totally-Awesome' Huffy. I got the adhesive, and I went to the fabric store and bought a yard of marine white vinyl which is suitable for boat seat covers. What I didn't realize was just how much a yard would be, I was thinking 1-square yard. In any case my new-to-me blue Schwinn Traveler is crying out for white wraps and a white saddle. I picked up some rubber cement and hopefully I'll have a chance Saturday to see what trouble I can get into with all of this. Quick question for you about the seat. I'm planning on using some pretty craptacular seats that I've had laying around, do you know if any felt will work? like craft felt that I already have laying around, or does it have to be special felt?
The wool felt is more "conforming" than standard craft felt. I took a sheet of craft felt and tried wrapping it around the saddle and knew instantly why the wool works better. It just bends around contours much better. Go heavy on the adhesive on the edges so the woll sticks real good there. I trimmed the wool flush with the edge of the saddle and you'd want to be sure it was stuck at the edges REAL well. Good luck! It took me 5 tries to get what I wanted but I don't think this is an impossible task by any stretch. Be ware though...at least the headliner adhesive I used took several days to outgas well and get real strong. When I pulled my original attempt off I had to use a screwdriver and needle nose to pull the vinyl off the edges. So, if you're not happy with the job you do DON'T wait 5 days before deciding to redo it. If I had done that I might not have pulled bits off and needed the wool.

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Very good work, Keith! Where can I get these supplies? There's no Tandy store near me. Should I look at the hobby shops? Same for the adhesive spray?
Adhesive was from Home Depot, vinyl from Jo-Ann. Jo-Ann has two vinyls....the marine that $12.99 and another thinner one that's $16.99. My second attempt was with the thinner one and I was much happier with it, both in appearance and in how the finishing went. There's also all kinds of funky alligator texture, ostrich...you could have a VERY unique saddle.

Originally Posted by junkfoodjunkie View Post
Thanks for this! I have recovered several saddles and I am always happy with the covering, but I always remove some of the padding with the cover. Like you said the imperfections always glare through. The wool is an excellent idea. Thanks again! Jake
Welcome, although I found the idea on an upholstery site somewhere...and of course forgot to bookmark it. The wool felt isn't cheap...but 1/3 yard would do quite a few saddles. I wouldn't have needed it the first time though....my cover came off very clean. I only needed it because of my shenanigans.

Originally Posted by KtotheF View Post
Fantastic! I recovered a san marco concor a few months ago, what a pain! And the folds underneath are not too pretty. I ride it, but it's relegated to my campus bike. I'll have this thread bookmarked for future use, thanks!
Welcome as well. Use thinner vinyl. Don't be afraid to pull up and reglue spots you're not happy with. I did that in several places on the final attempt. I also used a popsicle stick to help mush down the vinyl where I wanted. Also, check to see if your vinyl is more stretchy in one direction and orient that with the long axis of the saddle. You need the flexibility more at the nose and tail than you do on the sides.
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