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Leather Seat Restoration

Tom Edwards

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The seats on my 80 are looking very tired and in need of some TLC, so the time has come to do some leather seat restoration, my first attempt.

Apologies, but I never took pictures of the seat before (I will with the others), but the pictures shows the restored seat next to the unrestored (the creases have shown up as shadows and there is a slight loss of picture clarity due to resizing).

My thanks go to Furniture Clinic (https://www.furnitureclinic.co.uk), and specifically Steve on the Technical desk, who talk me through my recommended requirements after I explained my needs, i.e. 25 year old seats which are creased, marked and ripped.

I did remove the seat and dismantle the seat base from the back rest and some of the plastic trim to make it easier to work on. In essence it involved the following process;

1. Wash down the seat with warm soapy water using a hand brush (Leather Imperial hand soap I though was a good choice). I did use the brush recommended, however a soft nail brush would suffice.

2. Rub down with abrasive pad and cleaner (alcohol). This part was to be honest a little alarming, as you remove some of the old colour and get back to the original leather colour, but not to panic as later on when you reapply the colourant, it all becomes good.

3. Any tares or rips are then glued.

4. Using the filler, I filled in the deep cracks and glued areas. Sanding down any excess filler using the 1200 grade wet and dry to provide a smooth finish. I found myself filling in a little and often to get the correct finish. In addition, I found at this stage making a school boy error, I am used to using wet and dry with water, but the products are water based and so my previous effort of filling were quickly removed. The instructions provided do not state to use water and on careful reviewing of the videos realised my mistake (I did thrash myself with a limp lettuce leaf as punishment). I purchase additional wet and dry which none of the local hardware shops seem to stock and was told by one assistant that 180 sandpaper would do the same job if I rubbed the surface very carefully - I nearly suggested he changed his name to bogit; so Amazon to the rescue!

5. Once the surface area was cleaned down, I applied the colourant, and then subsequently the finish. The kit came with a small air brush and propellant; however, I did find applying the colourant and finish with the sponges supplied a lot easier and quicker. I all 6 coats of colourant and 4 of finish, which is satin – probably a little shinny for my liking.

ResizerImage900X600 a.jpg
ResizerImage900X600 b.jpg
ResizerImage900X600 c.jpg


6. In total, I recon I spent about 6 hours (over about 8 days) on the seat and the drying time did vary dramatically dependant on the weather.


I will post more pictures as I attack more seats, I want to complete the offside rear next and then the front seats which are in worse condition!

So, in conclusion, is it worth it, absolutely, the kit cost just over £200 and is straight forward. The kits comes with excellent instructions, and in conjunction I would recommend watching the videos before starting. Steve at Furniture Clinic is always on hand to give additional advice.
 

Chris

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Flippin 'eck! Superb outcome but quite a bit of graft. Hmm, another vote for fabric seats I think. Could you in theory actually change the colour of the seats with the colourant, say if you wanted them black or grey for example?
 

StarCruiser

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I got shown an ad on Youtoob recently showing those results with a firm wipe over from a far worse seat. I’ll see if I can find it. I reckon no more than 1/2 hr per seat total.
 

Dave_S

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Nice one, Tom. We got a local firm to apply that "fast results" stuff (I think its what you're referring to SC) - took a couple of hours for them to do it - real mistake. The seats look great from a distance, but close us they're pretty nasty and the also seem to trap dirt badly now, which they didn't before. Tom's version looks like it'll last.
 

StarCruiser

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Nice one, Tom. We got a local firm to apply that "fast results" stuff (I think its what you're referring to SC) - took a couple of hours for them to do it - real mistake. The seats look great from a distance, but close us they're pretty nasty and the also seem to trap dirt badly now, which they didn't before. Tom's version looks like it'll last.
Always good to know what actually does the job right and lasts, not just looks good for the first day.

I couldn’t find it but if Youtoob offers it again I’ll pay attention next time. :)
 
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Tom Edwards

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Flippin 'eck! Superb outcome but quite a bit of graft. Hmm, another vote for fabric seats I think. Could you in theory actually change the colour of the seats with the colourant, say if you wanted them black or grey for example?

Hi Chris,
Yes you can change the colour, easier to go from light to dark, but if you want to go dark to light you would probably have to strip back the original colour.
I sent the headrest cover to Furniture Clinic so they could do an exact colour match.
 
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Tom Edwards

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Jun 18, 2018
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Nice one, Tom. We got a local firm to apply that "fast results" stuff (I think its what you're referring to SC) - took a couple of hours for them to do it - real mistake. The seats look great from a distance, but close us they're pretty nasty and the also seem to trap dirt badly now, which they didn't before. Tom's version looks like it'll last.

Hi Dave,
From what I understand, you need to prep the leather, that includes removing the dirt and grim, and not just colour over.
In addition, I wanted to fill in some of the deeper creases and had some minor rips that needed filling.
Previous time I did this (just remembered), I did the wipe method on black leather seats on my wife's MR2, the colourant rubbed off in about 6 months.
 

Tom Edwards

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Joined
Jun 18, 2018
Messages
32
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great_britain
The seats on my 80 are looking very tired and in need of some TLC, so the time has come to do some leather seat restoration, my first attempt.

Apologies, but I never took pictures of the seat before (I will with the others), but the pictures shows the restored seat next to the unrestored (the creases have shown up as shadows and there is a slight loss of picture clarity due to resizing).

My thanks go to Furniture Clinic (https://www.furnitureclinic.co.uk), and specifically Steve on the Technical desk, who talk me through my recommended requirements after I explained my needs, i.e. 25 year old seats which are creased, marked and ripped.

I did remove the seat and dismantle the seat base from the back rest and some of the plastic trim to make it easier to work on. In essence it involved the following process;

1. Wash down the seat with warm soapy water using a hand brush (Leather Imperial hand soap I though was a good choice). I did use the brush recommended, however a soft nail brush would suffice.

2. Rub down with abrasive pad and cleaner (alcohol). This part was to be honest a little alarming, as you remove some of the old colour and get back to the original leather colour, but not to panic as later on when you reapply the colourant, it all becomes good.

3. Any tares or rips are then glued.

4. Using the filler, I filled in the deep cracks and glued areas. Sanding down any excess filler using the 1200 grade wet and dry to provide a smooth finish. I found myself filling in a little and often to get the correct finish. In addition, I found at this stage making a school boy error, I am used to using wet and dry with water, but the products are water based and so my previous effort of filling were quickly removed. The instructions provided do not state to use water and on careful reviewing of the videos realised my mistake (I did thrash myself with a limp lettuce leaf as punishment). I purchase additional wet and dry which none of the local hardware shops seem to stock and was told by one assistant that 180 sandpaper would do the same job if I rubbed the surface very carefully - I nearly suggested he changed his name to bogit; so Amazon to the rescue!

5. Once the surface area was cleaned down, I applied the colourant, and then subsequently the finish. The kit came with a small air brush and propellant; however, I did find applying the colourant and finish with the sponges supplied a lot easier and quicker. I all 6 coats of colourant and 4 of finish, which is satin – probably a little shinny for my liking.

View attachment 155372 View attachment 155373 View attachment 155374

6. In total, I recon I spent about 6 hours (over about 8 days) on the seat and the drying time did vary dramatically dependant on the weather.


I will post more pictures as I attack more seats, I want to complete the offside rear next and then the front seats which are in worse condition!

So, in conclusion, is it worth it, absolutely, the kit cost just over £200 and is straight forward. The kits comes with excellent instructions, and in conjunction I would recommend watching the videos before starting. Steve at Furniture Clinic is always on hand to give additional advice.
Always good to know what actually does the job right and lasts not just looks good for the first day.

I couldn’t find it but if Youtoob offers it again I’ll oay attention next time. :)

What I'll do is update the post as I refurbish the other seats, hopefully getting quicker, and an update in a year as to the state of the seats.
 

Higgy

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Impressive stuff Mate.. After looking at the Pictures first, I thought the thread was going to be about seat recovering... As good as i guess:thumbup:
 

Tom Edwards

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Impressive stuff Mate.. After looking at the Pictures first, I thought the thread was going to be about seat recovering... As good as i guess:thumbup:

Thanks Higgy,
I didn't want a brand new look, so kept some of the shallow creases.
The rips are a pain in the arse, there the ones that take time, need to cut out the "fluffy" edges which leaves a little gap which needs filler.
In essence, if you've done body work, you can refurbish leather.
 

karl webster

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Nice write up Tom.
Id love to do a couple of my trucks. pitty it wasnt a quicker process. the end results good though.
 

CroLand

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[QUOTE =



Pozdrav Tom, čestitam, jako dobro. Je li moguće naručiti komplet za popravak? Moja su sjedala loša
 
Last edited:

Tom Edwards

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Nice write up Tom.
Id love to do a couple of my trucks. pitty it wasnt a quicker process. the end results good though.

Thank you.
Now I know what I'm doing I'll get a more accurate timing.
The next seat has a nasty tare, about 7" long, so I plan to give an estimate on each part of the process.
As for taking time, I prefer to do this than watch "I'm a celebrity ferret catcher in Outer Mongolia" .
 

karl webster

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I knownwhat your saying tom.we dont watch any tv. It will be nice to see the end result.
 
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