Right, I found this stray bike to fix myself this cheap recycled bike to get around (another instructable topic). It had a decent Selle Italia saddle on it, however the vinyl cover on it was completely shot. Fortunately the foam was intact and in good shape. So I decided to refinish the saddle with some natural looking leather.
I got the leather pieces from ebay. If you search for leather at hobbies and crafts section, you'll find plenty of them at very good prices. Try to get a thinner (1-2mm) leather since it is easier to work on.
For this instructable you need:
- a saddle in bad shape
- scrap leather large enough to cover it
- impact adhesives (i.e., Evo-Stick for UK)
- a ballpoint pen
Below are the origins of the saddle and the final looks of it.
There are not many hazards/risks with this job. Watch out what you are cutting with scissors, I know one story involving scissors where a joke ended up with death. Impact adhesives are mostly solvent based, so I advise you to do this job at a well ventilated area, or you may get high (unfortunately :-). But really, don't forget that these adhesives are carcinogenic, really.
Step 1: Strip the Saddle From Old Cover Including Glue Remnants.
This is not so hard. Your aim is to achieve a clean base for your work. I had to dry mine under sun for a few days since the foam sucked all rainwater. Clean it thoroughly since we will basically glue the leather on it. We need a very clean surface. Peel all glue remnants off... Use some rubbing alcohol to clean the inner edges, we will glue the leather there.
Step 2: Measure Twice, Cut Once.
Now you have to measure the leather to the saddle size, and mark it for cutting. Tightly wrap the leather over the saddle, and mark the edges. Then draw a 10mm (~1/2 inch) offset around the saddle edge marks. Finally I added a longer edge for the nose since my saddle has a screw there which can be used as an extra fastener for the leather.
Cut the leather using scissors. I used pinking shears (zig-zag scissors), cuts look way cooler and professional. Zig-zag cutting may also help folding the concave edges, the edges won't crumble too much.
Step 3: Glue the Leather and Saddle Edges.
Impact adhesives need to be applied on both surfaces. Use a thin nice coat of adhesive on both edges, and spread it evenly using your fingers (not so healthy maybe, but ecstatic feeling to peel it off). Let both sides to dry, for something like 10 minutes. For a better adhesion, repeat the application and wait for another 10 minutes.
Please read all the instructions and warnings on the adhesive packaging!.. They are important stuff and there are good reasons why they are there.
Step 4: Stick the Leather on the Saddle, Finish the Application.
Start from the nose. In my case there was a screw hole where I could attach the longer nose edge of the leather. Stretch it towards rear and glue the rear edges. Then move towards the front piecemeal on both sides and meet up at the nose.
Impact glue is a wonderful thing. It holds strongly immediately, but also it is very elastic. Great stuff.
Put the plastic pieces and screws back in place (i.e., the rear and nose pieces in my case).
Adore your final product.
One note, though. I found out that my leather was not water-proof. Even worse, it sucks water like a sponge. So, I have to keep it covered with a plastic bag to save it from rain. :-) Maybe someone has an idea on waterproofing it (but without ruining its looks)...
Comments and questions welcome!..