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Reupholster seats DIY
#1
I have a 65 vert. with standard interior. I was going to have the front seats reupholstered. I went to two different shops to see how much they wanted. One shop wanted $700.00 for the pair and the other shop said around $600.00 for the pair. That was with me supplying the material and the foam. That seems like a lot to me so I think I am going to try it myself. Why so much? Am I missing something? I know it's not real easy but $350.00 a seat seems crazy. Anyone done this and how hard was it?
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#2
alarmrick;158804 Wrote:I have a 65 vert. with standard interior. I was going to have the front seats reupholstered. I went to two different shops to see how much they wanted. One shop wanted $700.00 for the pair and the other shop said around $600.00 for the pair. That was with me supplying the material and the foam. That seems like a lot to me so I think I am going to try it myself. Why so much? Am I missing something? I know it's not real easy but $350.00 a seat seems crazy. Anyone done this and how hard was it?
Not really out of line..Once you do it yourself you will understand the price..Also besides knowledge & expertise the shop has rent..elec..taxes..wages..insurance..overhead..the list goes on & on..it's not cheap these days to keep the lights on in a brick & mortar shop

LOVE OF BEAUTY IS TASTE..THE CREATION OF BEAUTY IS ART
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#3
If you have skills and can follow instructions (whether from the manufacturer or via YouTube or similar) you can do it yourself with good results.

But if you have doubts of your skills though, take 'em to a shop and get it done right the first time. Like Q said, the price of doing business and getting the right results might seem expensive, but the hassle and expense of having to 'redo' a potential mistake you might make will be worth it once it's all done. The big things to watch out for are sharp edges in the work area, and resisting the urge to over-manhandle the materials during the installation process.

Good luck whichever way you go!

Eric

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#4
ok, its really easy....

i never upholstered a car before, but i decided to try it, this was about 10 years ago now.

first note, my interior somebody had attempted a DYI upholstery on. What i had was seats in really bad shape, and as it turned out the front seats had the original material underneath the crappy re-covers.

first thing you need; a REALLY good hog ring tool. Do not mess around get the top of the line tool you can find, the junky little one that comes with kits will break apart in no time. next, a camera, take lots of photos. Do not throw anything out until the project is 100% complete. the original covers will be your guide and you will need to grab parts off them.

materials you will need, Burlap, Muslin cloth, piano wire.
you may also need new springs.

first you start taking the seats apart and breaking them down, take pictures, put the hardware in baggies.

next you start poping the original hog rings, you need a good wide plyer, you grab the ring and twist it, that opens up the jaws and you can slide them out.

work slow, take photos and notes as needed.

break it down in stages. top cover, muslan foam layer, then the burlap and wires. get down to the metal frame and inspect it.
you will always find cracks, broken springs, broken welds. you will need to make the repairs, before rebuild.
I recommend rust converter or sand blasting the frames, then repaint with rustolem or something like it.

paint the frames in the primary color of the material your using for the seat covers. green covers, paint them green, red/red, black/black etc...

once the frames are good to go. inspect the burlap layer.
the purpose of the burlap layer is to contain the foam layer so it doesn't rip through the bottom of the seat it also adds to a the base over the springs.
the burlap is a cut shaped piece and it has piano wire equality spread in one direction in it.
easy to recreate. cut out a new shaped piece as needed, then fold the material like an accordion and weave new piano wire through it then lay it flat and it should match the original. i think it took me 4 hours to recreate all the burlap pieces needed for the front and back, i got the wire at a local hobby shop.
the wire is kind of thin.

you attach the burlap to the springs just like original with hog rings. look at your photos you took.

next is the foam layer you need some spray adhesive that is good on foam, i hit micheals arts and craft for it.

inspect the reproduction foam for rips, if it is ripped you can glue it together however i would return it for a good one.
look at the original foam. it has muslin cloth glued to the sides , copy the pattern to and transfer to new material , glue to the new foam, and re-hog ring just like original to the frame.

you will also notice some jutting you might be able to reuse it or you can replace it with carpet underlayment.
glue it to the foam on the sides as original.

ah the seat cover. inspect the original material, REMEMBER never throw anything out EVER!

you will need to cut the original seat badge out, we get to this in a minute.
but inside the original seat material you will find thick piano wire for all the folds in pockets these pockets exist on the reproduction seat covers.
they do 2 things, in some areas they are anchor points for the hod rings and in other areas that force the seat to conform and look correct over the foam.

so transfer all the original piano wire to the new seat cover and try to match placement as best you can. the repop stuff is hit or miss somebody always forgets to install one of those pockets.

now the badges. i ended up installing badges 5 years apart from when i did my seats. this was because i never had the original badges in the first place and a friend found a pair he had cut from an old seat. the thing is they are easy to install with a trick.
when you cut them from the original seat material you will notice they have a backing plate. the arms that hold the badge to the plate were melted at high temperature, take a shear cutter and cut a line from the bottom of the plate to the melted arm do the same for the other side. then bend the plate(tin) to open up the cut so you can slide the plate up that will release the badge from the seat material, clean the badge up, repaint if needed.

open a small hole in the new seat cover right where the arms are on the badges just like the original covers. you can use a knife or you can use a solder iron on low heat to melt the material a little, melting is better but dangerous i opened up the stitching a little on mine in that area then restitched after.
so now you slide the plate back under the melted arms of the badge and use a plier and close up the cuts you made on the tin plate.
then you take your solder iron and solder the plate with some silver solder to hold the cut together.

phew your ready to install the covers.

now the trick with the hog rings is it holds the material to the seat frame, but also you can fold and stretch the covers and hold them how you need just placing the hog rings in a different spot or adding more then one. if you screw up or don't like how the material stretched, take your plier twist the hog ring and take it off and try again.

it really isn't hard just time consuming.
it took me 2 weekends (4 days) to complete my front and rear seat. and then later i went back pulled my front covers off and installed the badges and that took me 4 hours since i figured it out the first time.

now it is nicer to do this in the summer because you can layout the covers in the sun and let them get soft. however you could lay throw them in the dryer on low for 15 minutes or set them on a heated blanket or super heat your garage with a propaine heater to soften them up.


well like i said i NEVER did it before and people swear a pro did my car but i have some photos proving i did it. if you screw up you can always start over.
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#5
Thanks for the replies. With what you guys wrote I think I will try it myself. What's the worse that can happen? If I do ruin the vinyl I will buy a new set and go to the shop with my head hung low and ask them to do it right. Merry Christmas>
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#6
alarmrick;158891 Wrote:Thanks for the replies. With what you guys wrote I think I will try it myself. What's the worse that can happen? If I do ruin the vinyl I will buy a new set and go to the shop with my head hung low and ask them to do it right. Merry Christmas>

That's probably the way I would try it. I'm always willing to try a new do-it-yourself project. If it works out well you will have extra money to spend on the stang.



Mike AKA Ole Pony & Rare Pony

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1973 Mustang Convert - Bought in 1974 - Still have it!
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#7
just go slow take pics and get a good hog rig tool and you will be golden
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#8
Make sure the new covers are nice and warm before installing...Makes it easier to stretch
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#9
I've installed the upholstery on probably a dozen Mustangs. The 65-66 are a piece of cake compared to the high back versions. The early cars are ideal for developing your skills. Buy the good pliers as stated by others. Also strongly consider a 8" pair of bolt cutters for cutting the hog rings loose. A 8" diagonal cut pliers are ideal for removing the rings, that's twisting them out not so fun using them for cutting. After cutting two hundred of them, you will wish you hadn't. Get the hog rings from the Mustang parts guy. The hardware store ones are heavier and as above your hands will appreciated this. The seat tracks have two springs and linkages that are often reinstalled wrong. Either do one seat at a time or be sure to note the hook up positions.
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#10
600 to 700 to install your stuff at $75(high end of the scale) that's 9 hours for 2 seats, come on an experienced guy should do it at 2 hours a seat max that would be $300 labor.

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Brad Smith
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