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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Seat Restoration Part 1

It was like Christmas for me yesterday. I got my shipment from SpitBits with all of the seat refurbishment stuff. This included new foam cushions, new backs, or squabs, and new covers. All told, this ran me about $700, not including shipping (see my rant about shipping here).

Typical Mk2 seat covers...except this are in good shape!

Initials of the guys who made them, I suppose. Pretty cool! Sam did the other ones.

Seat bottom / cushion cover, inverted, showing ribbed portion.

Seat back, showing ribs. The seat bottom, above, is similar. I thought they were only decoration, but you can feel the difference in the foam squishy-ness.
Turns out, SpitBits gets all of their stuff from Newton Commercial, which is in England. According to their website, they have acquired and are using most of the original tooling from Firth Furnishings Ltd for their moulded carpet. While there isn't the same mention for anything I bought, it's obvious the quality is top-notch. I had found this company while searching for recommendations on my favorite forum. However, I still am not too cool with shipping overseas, so I decided to go with SpitBits since they have never let me down. I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised! It even came with instructions and some hog rings.

Instructions, however brief. They obviously have them for each type of seat.
Once my initial excitement of getting cool stuff was over, I moved on to cleaning up and painting the cushion (I'll keep the verbiage of the instructions) frame. It was so hot and humid here today, however, that I will probably have to clean it up and shoot it again tomorrow. It's been three hours of drying as I'm writing this and it's still not dry.

This is the cushion frame, typical of rust that I found. One spot was pretty bad with significant metal loss.
I took a wire wheel to the cage, then applied rust converter and let that sit per the instructions. Then, I hit it with a coat of primer and a coat of black. I'll hit it with another coat of black after I clean up anything that needs it. Supposed to be hot tomorrow too, though, so it may be until the weekend until I get some padding in there.

The horsehair and "foam" that was in the seat...er, squab, as I took it apart.
I did, however, find the seat broken. I knew it was broken from sitting on it, but didn't know exactly where. Now, I do. I think I'm going to drill out the back (it's flat-riveted in), cut away and replace the damaged part, and then re-attach it to the seat frame. This may be my first welding test. Exciting in a scary sort of way!

Damaged area. Grass looks rough, doesn't it. Did I mention it was hot here? Well, for New England, anyway!
I didn't clean any of the back of the seat up, but I'll get to that soon enough. I was, however, able to get the heater back in. What a pain in the ass! Excuse my language, but it wasn't any fun at all. I was dripping and sloping sweat all over the place. The foam pieces that go between the firewall and the heater box are "unobtanium". However, they really need to get manufactured to original specs because I'm sure it would have helped me out. The heater box is in such a bad spot that I had to take a guess at thickness and suffered when I think the foam that I used was too thick. However, it looked good from the firewall side so I was afraid to change anything. Maybe I'll make my million off of Triumph Spitfire Mk1 through Mk3 heater box foam insulation...or not.

My sandwhich of insulation / sealing foam. Meh.
I probably used the wrong foam, but my other solutions just were not working. The green foam you see is something that I got from work, that we used on the boat as insulation for cold (i.e., not steam) pipes. We called it "cold lagging". The black stuff is standard foam pipe insulation you can get for your home. I would have used that exclusively, but I couldn't find any that was the right diameter (it was too big). Therefore, I had to cut and glue and...it was a mess. I did cut the foam black stuff on an angle to work as a transition between the pipe as it changed direction.

Like I said, it was a real bear getting the bolts lined up and installed which tells me that I probably didn't do it as good as I could have, but...it's in! If it leaks, so help me...

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