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Can anyone recommend a good seat rebuilder?


89tc
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My 1948 car has one bench seat and it needs to be rebuilt. I don't mean re-upholstered, I mean totally rebuilt. When I got the car, both cushions (back rest and seat bottom) were in a pile in the car (springs, wire ties, framing, etc.) And all the fabric was gone. Everything is rusted and a bunch of the parts are beyond reusable and need to be replaced. The seat is a one-off so can't be replaced. I'm thinking all the parts need to be sandblasted, painted, worn parts replaced, then wired together and re-upholstered. Are there any companies that do that? I've only found companies that just re-upholster. 

Edited by 89tc (see edit history)
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I'd imagine any restoration shop worth their hourly rate and have fabrication capabilities/skills/understanding should be able to rebuild/restore a seat frame, regardless of condition or what it came of and depending on your location there might even be some nearby.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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I was told Snyder's Antique Auto Parts will rebuild or build from scratch any coil spring seat.  However, in my present restorations I'm not even close to being ready for seats, so I haven't contacted.  I'm not above trying it myself.  From their website, it seems Snyder's may sell seat parts for the do-it-yourselfers.

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It’s really not a complicated process to fabricate a new assembly. 
 

The main problem is getting all the components in front of you.

 

You need the correct size springs, and they need to have a spring rate (pounds per compression inch) that’s correct to support your...uhh...posterior and mass.

 

You need edge wire, a special springy wire that you can bend, but it holds it’s shape.

 

You need special clips to join the ends of the edge wire together.

 

You need special clips to hold the springs to the edge wire and to each other.

 

In some cases, you need small springs that go spring to spring at the top surface to give a better, uh, butt feel.

 

Springs are simple to make, complicated to source.

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Hi all, thanks very much for the replies. The components of an old 1948 seat are pretty basic but I think it would be hard to match the spring stiffness/rate and also the properties of the parts of the metal frame that will need to be replaced. For example, if I replaced only the damaged springs then the finished product maybe have a different feel where the springs were replaced. Also, the frame seems to be of a special flexible but stiff metal that you don't typically see in other parts of the car. I'd hate to put all the work into it to find that it had high or low spots when I sat on it. I've just contacted Snyders, it looks like they'll either sell you a seat back or bottom for about $500 each (only for Chevy or Ford), or they'll rebuild yours for probably around the same price. I've sent them an email, well see what they say. 

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I would tend to think that the seat frame for your 48 Playboy was outsourced from a vendor that provided seat frames for the other manufacturers. With some research a better seat frame might be available, and common. just being used in another make car. Considering the small run of cars made I can't see the manufacturer designing and specing out special seat frames, it seems cost prohibitive.

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I have had more than a few seats rebuilt- this time my upholster looked me in the eye and said:  Let's do some math - at $90.00 hr, I can rebuild your seat springs for around $6,500 plus or you can call Snyders and order up new springs for $1,250, which are fresh from the box and something I enjoy working with - what is the best approach ?   I ordered the new springs (and they were quite nice too). 

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On 12/6/2020 at 4:06 PM, John_Mereness said:

I have had more than a few seats rebuilt- this time my upholster looked me in the eye and said:  Let's do some math - at $90.00 hr, I can rebuild your seat springs for around $6,500 plus or you can call Snyders and order up new springs for $1,250, which are fresh from the box and something I enjoy working with - what is the best approach ?   I ordered the new springs (and they were quite nice too). 

I'd contacted Snyders and they called me and said to send them some pictures and they'll send a quote. In looking at springs and seat parts on the internet, the seat parts do look like typically found seat parts of the era. 

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1 hour ago, BucketofBolts said:

Labor is too costly. I need work on seats for my Buicks. Problem is that no one wants to do the work unless they get premium price. It may be cheaper to ship to Poland or Ukraine and have them do the work. 

 

The price of labor will only be what the market will bear

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4 hours ago, John348 said:

Did you buy your car about 8-10 years ago? I remember seeing one that needed restoration for sale at Hershey.  I was the only time I had ever seen one in person

No, I just bought my Playboy this past March. The ongoing story about it is shown in the restoration sub-forum. I'm also facilitating the sale of another Playboy in the cars for sale sub-Forum.

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13 hours ago, BucketofBolts said:

Labor is too costly. I need work on seats for my Buicks. Problem is that no one wants to do the work unless they get premium price. It may be cheaper to ship to Poland or Ukraine and have them do the work. 

 

Wow... Not sure how to react on this comment, but it depresses me that people think this way in regard to mom-and-pop shops. You get what you pay for. Find a highly recommended shop for the best quality work, and it will be expensive. But it will be done right. It's better to pay too much for a job well done than to go cheap and be unhappy with it long after you forget how much you paid for it.

 

In regard to looking for an upholsterer, David Coco (above) and Paul Rose in Ohio are both capable. John Mereness hit the nail on the head, though: If you can buy brand new seats for a quarter of the cost, that might be the way to go. Many times, reproduction parts are not up to the same standards of original, so keep that in mind.

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As someone who has done that sort of work (long ago), I can tell you it is more labor intensive than you can possibly imagine if you have not done it.

 

It is still going to be as much work in some other country, unless of course they halfass it. Would the difference in labor cost in some poorer country be enough to cover shipping and potential import costs? Maybe. Heck, probably. On the other hand if it is not done right, you might need to ship it back for corrections, or cut your losses and hire someone else.

 

The idea of trying to do that across an international border, and probably with a language barrier too, is not appealing to me at all. I'm getting heartburn just thinking about it.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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