Introduction: Motorcycle Saddle

This was a project a long time coming and i couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I live in the grueling Phoenix valley and the sun here destroys everything very quickly. That being said the vinyl seat the bike came with dried up and crusted to death leaving me needing a cover before the foam pad got destroyed.

Materials and tools used:

5 oz leather

waxed thread

5 in 1 leather punch

Laser engraver (optional)

leather needle

various leather dyes

air compressor and air brush

rubber mallet

Step 1: Make a Template

Simple step was to disassemble the old saddle cover and trace it on a large piece of cow hide picked up from my local Tandy leather store. I used 5 oz leather for this project because of how I wanted to make the seat. After finishing the project i think a lighter weight leather would have been easier to work with and achieved a slightly better result.

Step 2: Tooling the Leather

There are many ways to put designs/patterns in leather. I chose to use my laser engraver to get the images I wanted with as little effort as possible. I found all my images by doing google searches for video games I loved as a child and turned them into usable SVG files.

Once the images were ready the only thing left was placement and burning. After burning all images I used a creasing tool to trace a path 1/4" all the way around each piece. That was followed by punching holes for stitching. I could have made this process faster by using the laser. (lessons learned)

If the laser had a larger work surface then i would have cut each piece in the laser instead of by hand.

Step 3: Coloring/Dying and Stitching

I went back and forth at this point between Fiebings and eco flow leather dyes to get the colors I desired. Some pieces were dyed with the swabs while others were dyed using an airbrush. Some of the coloring was also done with acrylic paints. Dye the leather to your desired vibrancy of color.

As can be seen in the photos are the wholes for stitching all pieces together. I used a basic double saddle stitch to make sure this would never come apart without great effort. My hand hurt for weeks after the stitching due to not making the holes big enough for easy work. Lesson to be learned is make the whole bigger

(steps missed/forgotten: beveling and burnishing the edges. Things I learned about after doing this project. And gluing down of seem strips.)

Step 4: Stitching/Finishing/Mounting

As previously mentioned this saddle was all hand stitched. Many videos exist on how to do this. I would rather have used a machine to stitch this project. 20ish hours were used to hand stitch this saddle cover. (too many).

After all pieces are assembled use a saddle sealing product to protect the leather from sun damage or you'll be doing this again very soon.

Leather Challenge

Participated in the
Leather Challenge