Upholstery XIV

Upholstery XIV: First Completed Seat

I picked up some chrome polish on the way up to East Coast Trim so I could clean up the tilt mechanisms for the seats. This was not only important to look good, but also to keep dirt and grease from soiling the new leather seat covers.

In order to polish the chrome in all the nooks and crannies, I popped off these plastic bolt covers. You have to get a thin wide screwdriver to get underneath the cover to pry it out.

The chrome is in O.K. shape. I won’t win any concours because of the light pitting, but I really don’t have much money (or time) left to have these pieces chromed!

The second set came out about the same way. The center rod that holds the two side pieces simply slides out.

After some vigorous buffing, the pieces were ready for installation.

I took some upholstery pins and pushed them through the mounting holes to locate the holes I would need for the bolts. I made “X” cuts and made sure the leather and under lying foam wouldn’t foul up the threads of the bolts.

The first trial fit looked promising. It was such a nice sight to see a seat finally going back together!

There were still some alignment issues that needed to be addressed. Frank had advised me to temporarily tack the centers of the seats so we would have the ability to adjust and here is why.  Notice how the pleats don’t quite line up. Keeping the cushion and seat back partially tacked gives us the minimum adjustment needed to make this correction.

You can see here the pleats line up much better, It’s a very subtle change, but very important when doing top notch work. I feel like I have to apologize to Frank for giving away his trade secrets, but it shows you what to look for when selecting a good upholsterer. If other upholsterers benefit from this, then we as owners win again!

Before I covered up the mounting holes for this trim piece, I fitted it to the seat back. It seems like a million years ago when I first covered these pieces. Boy, have I learned a lot since then!

Some hand sewing was also required of this seat. Believe it or not, there was evidence of this hand stitching from the factory. There really isn’t any other way to join this piece of leather together without it. It’s not a very visible area, so my first attempt was not bad considering this will be the only time anyone will ever see it!

The row of staples you see is what the trim strip from the previous picture is meant to cover.

Frank showed me how to sew this piece together by first poking holes in the leather, and following them with the curved needle. Even with the pre poked holes, it took a lot of effort to push the needle through. It also didn’t help that my hands didn’t have the callouses for this kind of work!

By the end of the day, I had completed one whole seat (Yeah!). I glued the foil strip on the bottom cushion, and the various trim pieces to make chair complete. I won’t bore you with the details, but maybe I will on the next seat!

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