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Touching up those seat bolsters/steering wheels

 
Old 10-16-2013, 10:38 PM
  #106  
G8RB8
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Originally Posted by 997Austin View Post
Sorry!
Ha! You posted pictures. You'll get nothing but sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns from this group.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:03 PM
  #107  
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For leather seats, trim, panels, steering wheel I advocate for Color Plus products, and the service/advisement you'd get from Joanne Price the proprietor there.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:25 PM
  #108  
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Thanks! I had never needed this type of repair before so I went to see them, they showed me examples of their work, and I liked what I saw.

More importantly the crew I met seemed knowledgeable and honest. I took a chance on instinct and very happy with the results.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:04 PM
  #109  
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So I procrastinated back in 2013 about the needed rework on this project. New house via remote control, the move and settling in. All took time that could have been invested in seat refurb.

So, by the time I got around to doing the work again, a couple cracks were showing through the finish. The seats looked OK unless you looked really close. But since this is about making them pass at least show-and-shine muster, they were due for the work.

The first picture shows what the seat bolster looked like after thorough cleaning with denatured alcohol. This completely removes the pain, and exposes all the work done previously. The white is the filler (acrylic painter's caulk) I used in the first episode about seven years ago now.

It also showed up a few fine cracks in the leather that are the focus of this episode. In only a few spots, the cracks were all the way through. None of them were three-cornered tears or similar, just a few places where flexing had worked it's magic.

First step then was a thorough rejuvination with leather treatment to restore the flexibility of the leather itself. This took a few days. Then the cracks were repaired using a tiny bit of Gorilla Glue, applied into the cracks with a toothpick while gently squeezing the crack open. Let the crack relax closed again, and wait a day for the glue to gain full strength.

The second picture shows the last of about half a dozen thin coats of the same flexible acrylic paint caulk. The first coats are forced hard into imperfect areas. Allow to dry, then sand smooth with a block. By the last couple very thin layers, the sanding wasa done with a single sheet held in the hand, no block. Very gentle with almost no pressure, so the seat bolster maintains its shape during sanding.

I used some of the paint I'd had blended for the last effort, using a foam brush for the first few thin coats. Light sanding/scuffing between coats. The last couple coats go on thin, then get stippled with the edge of a water-dampened piece of sponge to give the final finish some texture. As you can see in the last picture, the finish on repaired section looks a bit flatter. With the seat in the car, the whole seat will get another treatment with conditioner. Then the leather gets a light buffing with a cloth to even out the surface texture. The seat is back in the car now, and will get that last buffing in the next day or two.

The total time working on the seat is a couple hours, including remove and replace. In between, there's a few days of dry and cure time mixed in. Take your time, work carefully, and the same results or better are available.
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Old 06-10-2016, 03:14 PM
  #110  
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What a difference...I waited too long, and a big piece of my driver's bolster literally broke off. I tried to patch it but it looks awful (I need to update that thread with my failure) but I found a local auto upholstery guy who can replace the bolster. Then I think I'll redye everything, including the leather dash/center console I found, so it looks consistent.
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:36 PM
  #111  
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This effort started out as a delaying tactic as well as a nothing-to-lose experiment. Building on JPTL's initial efforts and Randy V's success, what started out as a casual science project has kept the seats in acceptable condition for a lot more years than I originally expected. I was planning at the time to install new leather, and I still am. The timing for that keeps moving back as the casual repair work keeps the original leather serviceable.

If you have seats that have damaged leather, don't give up. The original tear-throughs were repaired with vinyl as backing, carefully inserted and unfolded behind the tearing. Glue was used to adhere the old leather back over the under-patch, with plastic stucco-tape holding the splits closed while the glue set up. Turns out Gorilla Glue is better for this than what I used originally. Then after sanding to smooth the edges, the painter's caulk was used to fill the remaining gouges and gaps. Smooth that out, repeat as needed, then the paint. Just a few hours of work over the course of several days gave these results. As before, the pictures don't do justice to the final results.
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