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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Met with Chubien today and he got his 850 seat back and left me with a couple of seats off of Bolens 900's - also got to meet member AAHayes face to face at the same time. The plan is to try and recover one and see how close I can make it look to an original 900 seat - if it turns out ok then I will do the other one for him and possibly have one for sale (if he doesn't find another 900 to rebuild :D) - time will tell. I thought I would do a post on this one since it uses a crimped or rolled lip around the outer edge to hold the cover on which presents a new challenge to a seat recovering - hope you don't mind another seat recover project Attached are pictures of the two seats and a picture that I found on the site of what I believe the 900 seat should look like (minus the duct tape)- if someone has a better picture of a 900 seat that shows the pattern of the cover feel free to post it as it may be helpful. The seat I am going to start on has bolts along the edge that appear to have held a replacement cover on it at some point in its life so they will have to be removed and the holes filled in. This will be a project that will get worked on as time permits so the updates may be intermittent - fyi
 

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Got Sum
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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I notice one is red and one is black. They only made them two years , so was the different years have different colors?
I believe they were both red when they left the Bolens factory - the black cover is one that someone has made and riveted on to the seat pan at the back.
 

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DR. Bolens
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I believe they were both red when they left the Bolens factory - the black cover is one that someone has made and riveted on to the seat pan at the back.
Correct only red pads, black is not OEM
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In between coats of primer and paint on the lawn mower deck cover I removed the old rusty bolts from the seat that will be the test subject (no pressure he says :( ). Most of the heads of the bolts got ground off with the die grinder and then turned out with a pair of vise grips - the holes are going to be interesting to weld back in on the lip and back side of the seats. Then I dug out my pair of modified vise grips that I made a few years ago when I did the seat off my brothers Simplicity Landlord and played "roll up the rim" to see if I could win a metal seat pan with the lip spread apart and not badly distorted or ripped (sorry Tim Hortons). I did one pass around the seat to start the lip to spread and then a second pass to spread it wide enough to remove the remains of the outer edge of the old cover which was still in one piece after 50 years - you can see the welt that was sandwiched in between the cover at the outer edge to keep the cover from moving when the metal lip was crimped down. I think I won so now I get a chance to play with a metal seat pan to fill in the holes and clean it up in preparation for new padding and a cover.
 

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Premium Member
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269 Posts
I have a 900 that has the bottom 2/3 of the seat left. I thought maybe they heat-formed that seat vinyl, as there are no "darts" sewn into the fabric to conform to the "bucket" shape. Maybe they crimped the seat material, heated it, then drew a vacuum using the hole in the bottom of the pan? I did some searches online and found some heat-formable vinyl material.
 

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Member
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This is very interesting and I did enjoy your seat cover post last time. Thanks for taking time to post this.
 
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A Little Off Plumb
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9,319 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have a 900 that has the bottom 2/3 of the seat left. I thought maybe they heat-formed that seat vinyl, as there are no "darts" sewn into the fabric to conform to the "bucket" shape. Maybe they crimped the seat material, heated it, then drew a vacuum using the hole in the bottom of the pan? I did some searches online and found some heat-formable vinyl material.
Could you post a few pictures of what remains of your cover - I am interested in seeing what the pattern looks like and possibley the spacing and width of the pleats? I believe the original was heat formed to the pan shape when they formed the pleats - unfortunately I have not mastered heat forming vinyl and from what I have seen where the material is stretched during the heat shaping process creates a thin spot that is usually the first place for the material to crack or rip (just my opinion). I will see what I can come with for a fit by sewing the pleats in and probably adding a seam or two - time will tell.
 

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With properly applied, correct high temp glue and a heat gun used with judicious skill and care, virtually any vinyl is heat-form able. I use to cover car dashboards in my upholstery shop, most with no seams. I don't know how the Bolens seat came, whether it was 1 pc or 2 pc foam, but often it's easier to fit the foam in 2 pieces, bottom and back, or two layers of thinner foam, glued carefully to the pan.

I'm going to step back, because 29 Chev doesn't need my help, he does beautiful work! I just thought someone might get a bit of help from my experience. :thumbs:
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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9,319 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
With properly applied, correct high temp glue and a heat gun used with judicious skill and care, virtually any vinyl is heat-form able. I use to cover car dashboards in my upholstery shop, most with no seams. I don't know how the Bolens seat came, whether it was 1 pc or 2 pc foam, but often it's easier to fit the foam in 2 pieces, bottom and back, or two layers of thinner foam, glued carefully to the pan.

I'm going to step back, because 29 Chev doesn't need my help, he does beautiful work! I just thought someone might get a bit of help from my experience. :thumbs:
Always great to get input and advise from some one who has worked in the trade - appreciate the input. I may try and use the heat gun and experiment with it when I get to the stage. It will probably be warmer when I am ready to make the cover and I can also set the vinyl out in the sun and see how pliable that makes it.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Start at the lowest point and work out the edges. I'll be watching, because I can learn stuff too!
When you say the lowest point are you talking in a wrinkle in the material or at the bottom part of the seat where the pleats would be? I am also curious as to what tool was actually made and used to spread the outer lip apart where the material is held - did it look similar to what I used or was it a different design?

Thanks
 
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