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· naranjito
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone tried, successfully or not, to recover a saddle? more specifically, I have a 4 year old fizik arione which has the leather worn through on the sides and cracking on the top. As far as I can tell, the base and rails of the saddle are still fine. From what I've read, I think most saddles have a thin layer of foam over the plastic or carbon base, which is then covered by the outer material (leather, plastic, etc). Assuming I can get hold of a suitable material for covering the saddle, how easy would it be to remove the existing covering and fit a new one? If anyone has ever done this and can share their method and if it's worthwhile doing, please let me know.

thanks, foz
 

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... I don't have an answer, but it begs the thought and question...

We've become such voracious consumers of "disposable" goods, that many of those old world skills like recovering a saddle are fading fast.

Remember the day when you'd have your shoes resoled or reheeled? Remember when, at least in moderate to large cities, there were neighborhood booterys and cobblers... and for that matter, tailors?

For our appetitie for consumer goods, we've sacrificed a bit. Many items today are built with a kind of planned obsolescence... or at least... make it too expensive to repair (remember your old VCR? Often cheaper to buy a new unit than to repair!)

OK, off of rant and hope you get good answers... (BTW, my Dad (passed) was an excellent tooler with leather (as a hobby)... too bad I was too damn stoopid to learn from him when he offered to teach!)
 

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Akirasho said:
... I don't have an answer, but it begs the thought and question...

We've become such voracious consumers of "disposable" goods, that many of those old world skills like recovering a saddle are fading fast.

Remember the day when you'd have your shoes resoled or reheeled? Remember when, at least in moderate to large cities, there were neighborhood booterys and cobblers... and for that matter, tailors?

For our appetitie for consumer goods, we've sacrificed a bit. Many items today are built with a kind of planned obsolescence... or at least... make it too expensive to repair (remember your old VCR? Often cheaper to buy a new unit than to repair!)

OK, off of rant and hope you get good answers... (BTW, my Dad (passed) was an excellent tooler with leather (as a hobby)... too bad I was too damn stoopid to learn from him when he offered to teach!)
Hard to disagree with some of those sentiments.

Additionally:
I think it would be pretty tough to find the right thickness of leather to use such that the feel/fit of the saddle would not dramatically change. Along those lines, what padding would be appropriated for bicycle use and where would you find it? Finally, if the leather is worn out should the rider also be concerned that the shell is deforming form use? What I am getting at is, shoes today are made differently from the ones we used to have repaired by the local cobbler...saddles are a similar topic for the most part.

I have a slightly less complicated problem ahead of me. I am having new leather hammered onto a Brooks saddle. The thick structural leather used in these saddles is more similar to an equestrian saddle, and it is fairly easy to find a saddle maker to work with for formed leather type saddles.

I am not anxious for the day to come when we no longer have craftsmen of this sort around to call on.
 

· Number 2 on the course.
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Instrux.

I have done this several times, but not on a Fizik saddle. It may or may not work for you, depending on how your saddle was constructed.

In most cases, you've got a plastic or CF shell, padding and the covering. The covering is usually glued to the padding and to the under-edge of the shell. Often it is also stapled to the shell and there may be plastic bumpers that are screwed to the shell and sandwich parts of the covering in place.

The first thing you need to do is determine whether you can remove all the impediments to cleanly removing the current cover. Sometimes the rails are installed last, and that can prevent the non-destructive removal of certain pieces. Sometimes these pieces are merely cosmetic, and thus can be modified to make removal and re-installation possible.

If you can free the entire edge of the covering, carefully peel it away from the shell and padding. Be extra careful at the edges of the padding, because that is where it is mostly likely to tear.

With the covering off, flatten it out to use as a pattern for the new covering. If there is a leather craft store near you, they will often have scrap bins from which you can pull suitable pieces of upholstery grade leather and pay very little. Vinyl also works. Cut the new material slightly larger than the old covering so that you have a enough to grab as you stretch it over the saddle.

For glue, I recommend Barge Cement, which should he available at a hardware store. Leather craft stores may also carry it.

Once you are sure that your new covering is cut to your satisfaction, apply the glue per the instructions to the top side of the saddle and the corresponding part of the covering (i.e. not the under-hanging areas). Press it on from the center outwards and stretch it over the side.

At this point you can cut away any additional material, but I would leave at least a 10mm buffer all the way around.

Then apply glue to the underside of the saddle and the part of the covering that will bond to it. Once it has set, stretch the cover around the edge and press it against the underside of the shell. It may take some extra attention at the nose and tail of the saddle to get it positioned so that you have a clean edge.

Let it dry and then re-install any components. I have not found it necessary to use staples top back-up the Barge Cement, but craft stores sell the appropriate kind of stapler for the job.

If you can't remove the cover from the padding, you can replace the padding with strategically placed multiple layers of leather/vinyl. Obviously, this is only an option if you like your saddles on the firm side.

Oh, and the last time I did this someone asked "Why not just glue the new cover to the old cover?" I'd rather do it properly, but it might be something to consider.
 

· duh...
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I recall seeing some diy instructions either here or mtbr several years back... basically the same. the few things different is that dude wet the leather before strecthing it on the shell, then clipped/clamped it down and let it dry in place... before trimming. once dry, trim and glue. there used to be someone online that would recover saddles too.
 

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PeanutButterBreath said:
I have done this several times, but not on a Fizik saddle. It may or may not work for you, depending on how your saddle was constructed.

In most cases, you've got a plastic or CF shell, padding and the covering. The covering is usually glued to the padding and to the under-edge of the shell. Often it is also stapled to the shell and there may be plastic bumpers that are screwed to the shell and sandwich parts of the covering in place.

The first thing you need to do is determine whether you can remove all the impediments to cleanly removing the current cover. Sometimes the rails are installed last, and that can prevent the non-destructive removal of certain pieces. Sometimes these pieces are merely cosmetic, and thus can be modified to make removal and re-installation possible.

If you can free the entire edge of the covering, carefully peel it away from the shell and padding. Be extra careful at the edges of the padding, because that is where it is mostly likely to tear.

With the covering off, flatten it out to use as a pattern for the new covering. If there is a leather craft store near you, they will often have scrap bins from which you can pull suitable pieces of upholstery grade leather and pay very little. Vinyl also works. Cut the new material slightly larger than the old covering so that you have a enough to grab as you stretch it over the saddle.

For glue, I recommend Barge Cement, which should he available at a hardware store. Leather craft stores may also carry it.

Once you are sure that your new covering is cut to your satisfaction, apply the glue per the instructions to the top side of the saddle and the corresponding part of the covering (i.e. not the under-hanging areas). Press it on from the center outwards and stretch it over the side.

At this point you can cut away any additional material, but I would leave at least a 10mm buffer all the way around.

Then apply glue to the underside of the saddle and the part of the covering that will bond to it. Once it has set, stretch the cover around the edge and press it against the underside of the shell. It may take some extra attention at the nose and tail of the saddle to get it positioned so that you have a clean edge.

Let it dry and then re-install any components. I have not found it necessary to use staples top back-up the Barge Cement, but craft stores sell the appropriate kind of stapler for the job.

If you can't remove the cover from the padding, you can replace the padding with strategically placed multiple layers of leather/vinyl. Obviously, this is only an option if you like your saddles on the firm side.

Oh, and the last time I did this someone asked "Why not just glue the new cover to the old cover?" I'd rather do it properly, but it might be something to consider.
I wanted to have my Vitesse re-covered, so I took it to a saddlery, where the fellow there said he would do it with kangaroo skin. He gave up, exasperated from the effort.

I got success by taking it to a motorcycle-themed leather shop. Guy did it with calf skin for $30. I supplied him with contact cement for the job.

I removed the cover by peeling from the outer edges in, applying acetone with a q-tip at sticky spots. I retained the old skin as a template for the leatherman to use.
 

· naranjito
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785 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone! I'll have a look for that thread here or at MTBR - to be honest I've never seen or heard anything about this, so didn't even think to do a search. My wife's uncle actually has a furniture upholstery business, but I didn't speak to him yet because they don't live near us. I'll give him a ring and see what he says.
There are plenty of furniture manufacturers in this area, so finding some offcuts should be no problem. I'm not too bothered about using real leather - any sort of material that has the correct texture and wear properties will be fine for what I want. I've never heard of barge glue - is it the type that is applied to one surface only, left to dry, and then pressed together with the other surface?
The saddle I have does have a slight bow in the centre from use but it's not unrideable by any means. It's not my primary saddle anymore, and the covering is so worn that really if it can't be re-covered then it'll probably either go in the parts bin never to be used again, or go straight in the dustbin.

I'll report back if I get anywhere with this...

foz
 

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A four year old Arione might not be worth recovering. They don't last forever. Price Point has black Ariones for $114.00. I replaced my two year old Arione last month. It started to sag. Big diff with the new saddle.
 
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