Machine Bicycle Co.

handmade bicycles.

Recovering a saddle

Kyle Ward6 Comments
 Im by no means a pro at recovering saddles but I wanted to share the learning journey with you. I had an old Specialized Toupe from my racing days and it was worn out. I want to use it for a show bike and the colors will be the basis from which the bike gets painted.

Im by no means a pro at recovering saddles but I wanted to share the learning journey with you. I had an old Specialized Toupe from my racing days and it was worn out. I want to use it for a show bike and the colors will be the basis from which the bike gets painted.

 These little tabs came right off. Actually they didn't, I had to cut the melted plastic from underneath. When they injection molded these, they made little pins that went into holes on the saddle and melted them in. The piece was made like a clip too.

These little tabs came right off. Actually they didn't, I had to cut the melted plastic from underneath. When they injection molded these, they made little pins that went into holes on the saddle and melted them in. The piece was made like a clip too.

 The liquid leaf paint I used is metallic and in my experience metallics aren't the best for these little airbrushes because the hole that the paint comes out is so tiny the flakes can clog it, or at least prevent good atomization. You can get different size needles and tips too. I wasn't concerned since these things are small.

The liquid leaf paint I used is metallic and in my experience metallics aren't the best for these little airbrushes because the hole that the paint comes out is so tiny the flakes can clog it, or at least prevent good atomization. You can get different size needles and tips too. I wasn't concerned since these things are small.

 I feel at home doing this type of work (gluing foams) so I just start working like I know what i'm doing so pardon the caption if it's not what you're expecting. I'll try to be informative but not boring. I wanted to add some cushion because the old stuff had seen better days and because I wanted a nice new surface to glue the sweet "Kermit the frog green" I chose. I used 40 durometer which is pretty soft, two layers of 2mm. The Barges contact cement is what I used when I worked in the Orthotic industry and it's great for this application.

I feel at home doing this type of work (gluing foams) so I just start working like I know what i'm doing so pardon the caption if it's not what you're expecting. I'll try to be informative but not boring. I wanted to add some cushion because the old stuff had seen better days and because I wanted a nice new surface to glue the sweet "Kermit the frog green" I chose. I used 40 durometer which is pretty soft, two layers of 2mm. The Barges contact cement is what I used when I worked in the Orthotic industry and it's great for this application.

 The contact cement for those of you who don't know works by applying it to both surfaces and allowing it to dry for five minutes (up to 4 hours it says but who waits that long?) 

The contact cement for those of you who don't know works by applying it to both surfaces and allowing it to dry for five minutes (up to 4 hours it says but who waits that long?) 

 By laying the material on the table the way I did and applying the complex curve item it sticks on the high parts. From there I work the material on working out from those contact points. Oh, in this picture you can see the holes that the plastic tabs use to indicate.

By laying the material on the table the way I did and applying the complex curve item it sticks on the high parts. From there I work the material on working out from those contact points. Oh, in this picture you can see the holes that the plastic tabs use to indicate.

 Here's a top view of what i looked like once I got the foam applied to the whole surface. 

Here's a top view of what i looked like once I got the foam applied to the whole surface. 

 Rough cut with an exacto. My preferred Exacto is the one they call OLFA 5019 SVR, it's awesome. It's small and I can turn the blade over cause I'm a lefty. (you can see it in the picture before this one on the left)

Rough cut with an exacto. My preferred Exacto is the one they call OLFA 5019 SVR, it's awesome. It's small and I can turn the blade over cause I'm a lefty. (you can see it in the picture before this one on the left)

 After a bit of a cleaner cut I used a sander. Ideally I would use a bench belt sander but since I don't have one I had to make a compromise by using a flap wheel in a drill (then clamped it in the vise so it was stationary) After this picture I made a bit more in efforts to slim and refine it.

After a bit of a cleaner cut I used a sander. Ideally I would use a bench belt sander but since I don't have one I had to make a compromise by using a flap wheel in a drill (then clamped it in the vise so it was stationary) After this picture I made a bit more in efforts to slim and refine it.

 An important part was to remove the original cover careful enough to salvage it so you have a good template for tracing. I guess it's not needed but it makes things a lot easier.

An important part was to remove the original cover careful enough to salvage it so you have a good template for tracing. I guess it's not needed but it makes things a lot easier.

 Here's that exacto. I cut just inside the line so I didn't have sharpie to clean afterwards

Here's that exacto. I cut just inside the line so I didn't have sharpie to clean afterwards

 When glueing this stuff it always curls in like this so its a good idea to have something to weight it down near by. Also use multiple layers of glue because it gets absorbed. and you want good adhesion here.

When glueing this stuff it always curls in like this so its a good idea to have something to weight it down near by. Also use multiple layers of glue because it gets absorbed. and you want good adhesion here.

 I filled the back clips with neon dyed epoxy. I love contrasts of similar color. And her are a few pictures of the finished product.

I filled the back clips with neon dyed epoxy. I love contrasts of similar color. And her are a few pictures of the finished product.