Saturday, April 18, 2009

Making a Motorcycle Seat

While my Sportster came with a nice, still in great shape, King & Queen seat, I really want a solo seat. Searching forums and the net there finally was one I liked but the seat is over two hundred dollars. First thought was going for a spring solo cause they look great. Thing is you sit closer to the tank and I want more leg room. Something that puts me down in the frame between the gas tank and fender. Now guessing that since the bike has shocks and not a hardtail, it should be no problem just finding a seat that mounts right to the frame. For newer motorcycles you can find a seat close but it is still costly.
So I've already made my pattern for my seat and at the moment it is in the process of forming to my frame. To cover the seat while on a trip to Georgia I happened into a place for a rest break. There was a rack with leather vests, jackets and such so I had me a look. Wish I had bought two vests but I didn't - hind site is twenty twenty - because the longer I have this one for cutting into bits for my seat cover I'm having second thoughts. The vests were marked down from $60 to $10 and are very soft leather. It is patched leather look and actually I liked the look of it to give the seat a nice detail from so many others. But I am having second thoughts about cutting it up for the seat now and may not.

The seat base pattern was cut from Gift box's then transferred to plywood for the base. Some aluminum diamond storm door kick panel was then cut out to the same shape from the pattern. The aluminum will be glued to the plywood base after it has been bent to the shape I want.
The aluminum will also help hold the fasteners better and give the wood base some needed strength.
I have the plywood forming to the Sportster frame with a ratchet strap over a sponge and using very hot water in a spray bottle to wet it down. And yes, I put a plastic garbage bag on the frame first to keep from soaking the bike wiring underneath the seat area and battery.
The process involves the hot water being sprayed on the wood giving it a good soaking and giving the strap clamp a couple of tightening clicks every hour or so. The sponge goes between the strap and the wood to help keep moisture in the area of bending longer.
I have bent entire sheets of plywood in this manner full lengthwise several times. (I was told by many it could not be done) My tear drop camper has had the front radius done this way by me, so Ha!

On the camper I used several strap clamps and as many other clamps in my possession to accomplish no split bending. It takes time a patience but is very satisfying when you see it form a radius successfully.
I need to go out and give the seat pan another good soaking right now. Slow and steady with the process gets the job done.

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