The Final Frontier – Vinyl and Foam

the final frontier

The cockpit upholstery is the final frontier of an epic task. This upholstery takes the most punishment, open to the elements when the canopy is down and to the sun and heat when the canopy is closed. The original vinyl is grubby and there is a tear to the back of the captains helms seat.

tear
tear

old seat
old seat

 
 
 
 
So it all has to come off.

Disassemble

Yup you got it, millions of staples. and they all have to come out.

staples
staples

more staples
more staples

 
 
 
 
Only when we get all the staples out do I realise it is them that hold the whole seat together, no wonder there are so many.
Finally we expose the  plywood and its all rotten so Roger cuts me some lovely new pieces. The foam is shot so back to online foam shop to get some more. I discover the joys of sewing pleated foam backed vinyl. The foam jams the needle several times and the pleats stretch. Deep joy.

Assemble

Getting the seats (captains and crew) back together is a bit like a krypton factor challenge. We need 8 pairs of hands. After all my moaning we put back as many staples as we have taken out – the shame of it. But they look great

new seat
new helms seat before I staple the bottom edges down.

 
 
 
 
 
 

The remaining cockpit cushions are a piece of cake in comparison. The old foam was so wet it left puddles on the garage floor! Didn’t smell too good either. This time we have encased the foam in a waterproof membrane.

seat squab
seat squab

 
 
 
 
 
 

With hindsight I would not have used pleated vinyl as it does trap dog hair and dirt in the grooves but I think all plain would not have looked quite right. Put it this way, I am not taking out all those damn staples again to find out!