I got round to turning the cardboard seat template in to bits of 1.5mm steel sheet – the donor metal being an offcut from out local engineering works. Not bad for two quid and a couple of packets of biscuits for the tea fund – about 4 quid in total. It was all carefully marked out and cut out by a combination of a slitting disc in the angle grinder and my 4 ½ inch bandsaw.
The problems started when I came to weld it together. I knew my arc welder would just blow holes in it so I pressed my old gasless MiG welder in to service. I haven’t used it for years, I remember why now, it’s worse than useless. It kept jamming and misfeeding and producing bird shit and generally wound me up. I had to persevere with it though as it was the only way I had of getting the job done. It took far too long and the results are quite frankly embarrasing. It is now one piece and it seems plenty strong enough but it looks really nasty. I can’t see me getting a gas mig any time soon so it will have to do, I shall hide the worst of it with body filler.
The pan had to be made very strong so that it will take a pillion – I hate stuff that looks good but doesn’t work. As far as I am concerned if it doesn’t work as a motorcycle it is an ornament and nothing more.
Anyway, it’s done now and will have the soft part done in due course, I am still pondering my options, bearing in mind there is nigh on sod all left in the budget now.
To keep the rapidly diminishing budget intact I looked at using the foam out of some old scrap seats that I had. I had cut up 3 before I realised that not one off them had a large enough flat enough piece of foam to do the job so reluctantly I had to splash out a massive £14 on a sheet of new foam from the local upholstery supplier. While I was there I spotted some nice looking vinyl to cover it with so an extra 6 quid was spent on half a meter of that. Outrageous.
I now have a huge pile of old bits off foam and plastic seat to dispose of and I still need to figure out exactly how to cover it and secure the covering to the base. I have a couple of ideas in mind and will have to see which one looks favourite. I don’t want to rely on glue alone as I found when car building that heat softens most glues and it’s not a good long term solution. Bike manufacturers use plastic bases and the material is stapled, as I have used steel I don’t have that option. I will figure it out.
The three of us had a chat the other day and decided that we are going to stick with what we have now for phase 1. Phase 2 will look at some embellishment work, decent paint, possibly the different front wheel and a few other minor bits and pieces. Just as well really, I just read back through all my previous articles and note that in at least the last 6 I have been saying I was just about ready to strip it for paint and assembly. Every time I have said that I have spotted an improvement or change that has resulted in extra work. As a result it is dragging on rather longer than I had imagined and now is probably the time to say “stick” and get it finished with what we currently have, so that’s what I am going to do. I also noticed that I had talked about acrylic paint and neglected to say how it had worked out. The answer is very well indeed. It dries to a good sheen and an incredibly hard finish. It takes more rubbing down than cellulose as a result, the tests I have done show very good resistance to petrol, I will be using nothing but acrylic for the rest of the job.
Back to the seat – this is not something I have even tried to do before so had no idea how to approach it. I roped in Mrs Dave and her sewing machine and we now have a rider’s seat that I think will be ok, for now at least. I tried to build a bit of shape in to it but it didn’t go too well. Turns out I didn’t buy enough material anyway so I will have to go back and get some more.
I did work out a good way of fixing the covering without using staples – pop rivets. I picked up a custom seat the other day and that’s how it was done on that so I will be doing the same on my seat.
Article provided by David Powell of Boston Bike Bits.