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  1. #61
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    Back pad cover is done but unfortunately the foam has a big nasty looking black area and needs to be replaced. Will have to order some 1” rebond. Also sideways pics again, sorry.
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  2. #62
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    Back pad cover is done but unfortunately the foam has a big nasty looking black area and needs to be replaced. Will have to order some 1” rebond. Also sideways pics again, sorry.
    Cool, you're branching out into custom covers now! Couple random observations and thoughts not meant to offend or criticize, simply trying to help improve your end result. Let's see if I can explain things simply and clearly using only a keyboard. Lol.

    If you want to get rid of the wrinkles in the vinyl so your diamonds look better, make sure you're doing these few simple things before the two materials are getting stitched together, if you're not already. I admit I didn't read the last page of this topic, so forgive me if this has already been discussed. First, if you're not gluing the top vinyl and foam together before stitching, do so. It really helps hold things together before you topstitch. You can use the cheapest spray glue from the hardware (or dollar!) store. In fact, the cheapest (generic) can of spray glue you can find usually has more thinner in it (like gasoline or beer getting thinned/watered down for more profit), which also means it dries WAY faster than many name brand glues like 3M. Some don't even give you enough time to handle the parts before they "kick", so you may have to work fast! No waiting 2 or 5 minutes for glue to set up though, which is cool!

    If you ARE already gluing your top cover material to the foam and you find the vinyl is wrinkly after bonding to the foam, make sure the material is flat and wrinkle-free before you bond them together. A heat gun and spray mist can shrink any stretched areas of vinyl back (well, to an extent...) before you glue any of the materials together. Or you can "toss" the vinyl into the clothes dryer for a minute or two, or leave it in the sun to warm up and become pliable, then glue it to the foam. The dryer trick works well for installing the covers too, once you're done stitching them and you want a nice tight fit without the chance of ripping your freshly stitched cover during install.

    Once the vinyl is ready, grab a yardstick/broomstick/straight pipe/carpenters square/etc. Here we will take out the risk of the vinyl getting glued to the foam and leaving air pockets or wrinkles. Position your foam on whatever flat surface you fit and glue your pieces together on, then lay your vinyl over the foam as it will sit when glued. Both parts can be cut larger, then glued/stitched, and trimmed afterwards, so you can leave them slightly larger than needed. Put a weight on one half of the assembly to hold both layers in position (or tack them down).

    With your vinyl and foam mocked up but not glued, pull the vinyl back over itself lengthwise without creasing it, so that half of your vinyl is laying on the other half, good sides facing each other. What you should see now is the backside of half your vinyl, and the half of your foam which the exposed vinyl will be glued to. With the vinyl folded over itself, you protect the vinyl's top side from getting over-sprayed with glue. Spray both surfaces with glue. Once the glue is tacky, insert the yardstick/broomstick/etc between the folded over vinyl and slide the ruler from the center of your work piece out (in the direction of the glued parts). As you slide the yardstick along the vinyl, mating the two glued sides together, you can add a slight amount of pressure downward, which will work the wrinkles out. You can use your "free" hand to hold the "loose" end of the glued vinyl as you work the yardstick with the other hand.

    Once one half is glued together, spin the assembly around, fold the unglued portion of vinyl over the half of vinyl/foam you just glued together, spray both surfaces that will be joined, and again, use the yardstick to sweep across the vinyl so that it joins the foam evenly, leaving no wrinkles or such. Using a carpenter's square, you can cut your assembly to the needed size, and if you need to trim only the foam on the back side, use your yardstick and drag a razor knife along it's edge, making sure NOT to cut through both the foam and vinyl! If you come across any stitching, DO NOT cut through it! Stop short on either side of the thread so it's intact.

    One last thing....if you're not using scrim-backed foam (or gluing material to the back of regular foam before you stitch), the threads will pull through the foam from the bottom side. If you are already using foam that has backing material on it, you can obviously disregard this! I just didn't want you to find out the hard way (usually a month or 4 after you finish your project) that the cover failed due to the stitches pulling through. That's always a bummer!

    Speaking of bummers, here is my next (small) upholstery project. The extra thick glitter vinyl I used on my weight bench started tearing right down the stitch seam a few years back, so I made a really half-assed headrest cover and shoe goo'd some vinyl over the tear to make it bulletproof. Well, it finally started tearing again past the last repair, so I'll be stitching a new headrest cover up and gluing it into place, in hopes of stopping it from tearing more. This material separates between layers for some reason, which means if I need to redo the covers, no fancy top stitching this time! I'd rather it look plain and last a million years then look great for awhile, only to fail later! These covers aren't even 10 years old! I may even copy how I did the purple covers shown earlier in this topic for my GF's bench since I wouldn't have to stitch anything then!

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  3. #63
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    Cool, you're branching out into custom covers now! Couple random observations and thoughts not meant to offend or criticize, simply trying to help improve your end result. Let's see if I can explain things simply and clearly using only a keyboard. Lol.

    If you want to get rid of the wrinkles in the vinyl so your diamonds look better, make sure you're doing these few simple things before the two materials are getting stitched together, if you're not already. I admit I didn't read the last page of this topic, so forgive me if this has already been discussed. First, if you're not gluing the top vinyl and foam together before stitching, do so. It really helps hold things together before you topstitch. You can use the cheapest spray glue from the hardware (or dollar!) store. In fact, the cheapest (generic) can of spray glue you can find usually has more thinner in it (like gasoline or beer getting thinned/watered down for more profit), which also means it dries WAY faster than many name brand glues like 3M. Some don't even give you enough time to handle the parts before they "kick", so you may have to work fast! No waiting 2 or 5 minutes for glue to set up though, which is cool!

    If you ARE already gluing your top cover material to the foam and you find the vinyl is wrinkly after bonding to the foam, make sure the material is flat and wrinkle-free before you bond them together. A heat gun and spray mist can shrink any stretched areas of vinyl back (well, to an extent...) before you glue any of the materials together. Or you can "toss" the vinyl into the clothes dryer for a minute or two, or leave it in the sun to warm up and become pliable, then glue it to the foam. The dryer trick works well for installing the covers too, once you're done stitching them and you want a nice tight fit without the chance of ripping your freshly stitched cover during install.

    Once the vinyl is ready, grab a yardstick/broomstick/straight pipe/carpenters square/etc. Here we will take out the risk of the vinyl getting glued to the foam and leaving air pockets or wrinkles. Position your foam on whatever flat surface you fit and glue your pieces together on, then lay your vinyl over the foam as it will sit when glued. Both parts can be cut larger, then glued/stitched, and trimmed afterwards, so you can leave them slightly larger than needed. Put a weight on one half of the assembly to hold both layers in position (or tack them down).

    With your vinyl and foam mocked up but not glued, pull the vinyl back over itself lengthwise without creasing it, so that half of your vinyl is laying on the other half, good sides facing each other. What you should see now is the backside of half your vinyl, and the half of your foam which the exposed vinyl will be glued to. With the vinyl folded over itself, you protect the vinyl's top side from getting over-sprayed with glue. Spray both surfaces with glue. Once the glue is tacky, insert the yardstick/broomstick/etc between the folded over vinyl and slide the ruler from the center of your work piece out (in the direction of the glued parts). As you slide the yardstick along the vinyl, mating the two glued sides together, you can add a slight amount of pressure downward, which will work the wrinkles out. You can use your "free" hand to hold the "loose" end of the glued vinyl as you work the yardstick with the other hand.

    Once one half is glued together, spin the assembly around, fold the unglued portion of vinyl over the half of vinyl/foam you just glued together, spray both surfaces that will be joined, and again, use the yardstick to sweep across the vinyl so that it joins the foam evenly, leaving no wrinkles or such. Using a carpenter's square, you can cut your assembly to the needed size, and if you need to trim only the foam on the back side, use your yardstick and drag a razor knife along it's edge, making sure NOT to cut through both the foam and vinyl! If you come across any stitching, DO NOT cut through it! Stop short on either side of the thread so it's intact.

    One last thing....if you're not using scrim-backed foam (or gluing material to the back of regular foam before you stitch), the threads will pull through the foam from the bottom side. If you are already using foam that has backing material on it, you can obviously disregard this! I just didn't want you to find out the hard way (usually a month or 4 after you finish your project) that the cover failed due to the stitches pulling through. That's always a bummer!

    Speaking of bummers, here is my next (small) upholstery project. The extra thick glitter vinyl I used on my weight bench started tearing right down the stitch seam a few years back, so I made a really half-assed headrest cover and shoe goo'd some vinyl over the tear to make it bulletproof. Well, it finally started tearing again past the last repair, so I'll be stitching a new headrest cover up and gluing it into place, in hopes of stopping it from tearing more. This material separates between layers for some reason, which means if I need to redo the covers, no fancy top stitching this time! I'd rather it look plain and last a million years then look great for awhile, only to fail later! These covers aren't even 10 years old! I may even copy how I did the purple covers shown earlier in this topic for my GF's bench since I wouldn't have to stitch anything then!

    Thank you for the long reply. For the seat I tried the fold in half technique but maybe did not use enough glue. I saw the wrinkles. So with the back pad I used a lot and just laid the cut vinyl on top of the foam and hand pressed it from center out to the edges. Used a can of 3M vinyl spray adhesive. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and both techniques are done. The foam is scrim backed.
    The diamond stitching is really not practical for a gym pad but I wanted to give it a try. Mostly seen in videos for motorcycle or scooter seats. For the seat I don’t think I compensated enough for the diamonds which shrink the vinyl a bit and also it really doesn’t stretch. I used the wife’s hair dryer to soften and get the cover on. Didn’t think of the dryer which would also work.
    I did get some “birds nesting” a couple of of times in the back pad but was able to save things. That’s why is used black on black, to hide any mistakes. I really have not done much sewing, just for the pads I’ve shown, but I am getting better at it.
    The stitching basically creates a perforated seam in the vinyl, which is probably why your piece came apart. And since I’ve watched a lot of sewing videos your tension might be too high. If the tension is too high the material will bunch up a bit. The top seam can help support the seam.
    Anyway, thanks for reading and for your helpful reply.
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  4. #64
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    Thank you for the long reply. For the seat I tried the fold in half technique but maybe did not use enough glue. I saw the wrinkles. So with the back pad I used a lot and just laid the cut vinyl on top of the foam and hand pressed it from center out to the edges. Used a can of 3M vinyl spray adhesive. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and both techniques are done. The foam is scrim backed.
    The diamond stitching is really not practical for a gym pad but I wanted to give it a try. Mostly seen in videos for motorcycle or scooter seats. For the seat I don’t think I compensated enough for the diamonds which shrink the vinyl a bit and also it really doesn’t stretch. I used the wife’s hair dryer to soften and get the cover on. Didn’t think of the dryer which would also work.
    I did get some “birds nesting” a couple of of times in the back pad but was able to save things. That’s why is used black on black, to hide any mistakes. I really have not done much sewing, just for the pads I’ve shown, but I am getting better at it.
    The stitching basically creates a perforated seam in the vinyl, which is probably why your piece came apart. And since I’ve watched a lot of sewing videos your tension might be too high. If the tension is too high the material will bunch up a bit. The top seam can help support the seam.
    Anyway, thanks for reading and for your helpful reply.
    Yeah, you may have to use more glue and let it set up and get tacky before bonding the pieces together. What color can is the 3m you're using? I had great luck with one of their spray glues, and horrible luck with another. Plus they are $15 at the hardware store and the cheaper cans set up faster and cost less than a third the price.

    Back when I used a hand-me-down home sewing machine, I used to get birds nesting with heavier vinyls glued to foam too. Once I started my stitch by using the handwheel, most of that stopped. To this day, I still lock my stitches in by hand out of habit.

    If you're not sure about the shrinkage you get when top stitching patterns, you can always measure out a little extra material and do a couple stitches on it, then remeasure afterwards. Or just make the material bigger and once all the top stitching is done, do a final trim to size, which you have to do anyways if the material you're cutting isn't a simple square or rectangular shape. The thicker the foam used, the more shrinkage you'll get.

    In my case, the tension is set correctly, the material is just thick and not as pliable as thinner marine grade vinyls I normally use....even my Juki industrial walking foot machine has trouble stitching it sometimes, especially since I do most of my projects with 1/2-5/8" scrim backed foam to get the depth I like for the pleats. Plus I use a stronger thread and needle when stitching which creates a bigger perforation. You won't have to worry about that in your case with the home sewing machine. Your issue is the fact your diamond pleats are flat due to the thin foam you're using, which will leave the thinner thread you're using to wear faster. That just means you'll have to get good enough to upgrade to a better sewing machine like I did! Haha. I've been doing upholstery projects and car interiors for years and I've never had vinyl fail in this manor.

    Typically if you set the top tension too high (or bottom tension too low), or the threads per inch are too close, the material will cut all the way through to the foam, leaving your vinyl to tear like the tear-off strip of your tax return. In this case, the backing and the face material are separating. Of course I don't use any of my other upholstery projects for doing incline DB curls either, hence the reason I mentioned next time not doing top stitching. Plus it did take 4 or 5 years for the first failure, and another 3 for the second. I'm still hoping to get 10 years out of this back pad though, so I'll continue cobbling it together until it's dead.

    Andy
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  5. #65
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    Yeah, you may have to use more glue and let it set up and get tacky before bonding the pieces together. What color can is the 3m you're using? I had great luck with one of their spray glues, and horrible luck with another. Plus they are $15 at the hardware store and the cheaper cans set up faster and cost less than a third the price.

    Back when I used a hand-me-down home sewing machine, I used to get birds nesting with heavier vinyls glued to foam too. Once I started my stitch by using the handwheel, most of that stopped. To this day, I still lock my stitches in by hand out of habit.

    If you're not sure about the shrinkage you get when top stitching patterns, you can always measure out a little extra material and do a couple stitches on it, then remeasure afterwards. Or just make the material bigger and once all the top stitching is done, do a final trim to size, which you have to do anyways if the material you're cutting isn't a simple square or rectangular shape. The thicker the foam used, the more shrinkage you'll get.

    In my case, the tension is set correctly, the material is just thick and not as pliable as thinner marine grade vinyls I normally use....even my Juki industrial walking foot machine has trouble stitching it sometimes, especially since I do most of my projects with 1/2-5/8" scrim backed foam to get the depth I like for the pleats. Plus I use a stronger thread and needle when stitching which creates a bigger perforation. You won't have to worry about that in your case with the home sewing machine. Your issue is the fact your diamond pleats are flat due to the thin foam you're using, which will leave the thinner thread you're using to wear faster. That just means you'll have to get good enough to upgrade to a better sewing machine like I did! Haha. I've been doing upholstery projects and car interiors for years and I've never had vinyl fail in this manor.

    Typically if you set the top tension too high (or bottom tension too low), or the threads per inch are too close, the material will cut all the way through to the foam, leaving your vinyl to tear like the tear-off strip of your tax return. In this case, the backing and the face material are separating. Of course I don't use any of my other upholstery projects for doing incline DB curls either, hence the reason I mentioned next time not doing top stitching. Plus it did take 4 or 5 years for the first failure, and another 3 for the second. I'm still hoping to get 10 years out of this back pad though, so I'll continue cobbling it together until it's dead.

    Andy
    Thank you. Yes the foam is 1/4. Most videos I’ve seen of motorcycle seats use 1/2 inch. I’m using Naugahyde which I think is the best marine grade vinyl.
    I really want a juki, seen a few used ones for sale. Can’t justify it. Yet.
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  6. #66
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    Thank you. Yes the foam is 1/4. Most videos I’ve seen of motorcycle seats use 1/2 inch. I’m using Naugahyde which I think is the best marine grade vinyl.
    I really want a juki, seen a few used ones for sale. Can’t justify it. Yet.
    No problem! Naugahyde is a brand name, but you're right, they're pretty much the leader and have been for years. Local upholstery shops use other brands too though, and many are just as high of quality while being lighter on the wallet. Sometimes a certain company won't offer a specific color or grade of material and you're forced to go with another brand. As for Juki, they're not the only respected brand name out there, and once in awhile I still see deals on Ebay or Craigslist on industrial walking foot sewing machines, so keep your eyes peeled. Never assume a used machine won't need a professional tune up though!
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  7. #67
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    The foam for the back pad was pretty scary looking so it had to go. I ordered some 1” rebond, not sure of the density, but feels firm. It’s fine for the back pad. I’ll get it glued on and then round the corners. It looks like they angled the top and bottom edges of the original foam so it’s not a 90 degree corner. I suspect this is done because the pad covers they make don’t line up with the foam edge. I’ll see how my cover does and if it does not line up well will angle the edges.
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  8. #68
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    The foam for the back pad was pretty scary looking so it had to go. I ordered some 1” rebond, not sure of the density, but feels firm. It’s fine for the back pad. I’ll get it glued on and then round the corners. It looks like they angled the top and bottom edges of the original foam so it’s not a 90 degree corner. I suspect this is done because the pad covers they make don’t line up with the foam edge. I’ll see how my cover does and if it does not line up well will angle the edges.
    Time to out the electric turkey knife!
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  9. #69
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    Time to out the electric turkey knife!
    I cut it with a long scissor. Worked fine with the 1” foam. I don’t use electric to carve our turkeys.
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    Red face

    I think I am finished with the pads and refurb. Last minor part is to better attach the backer board the the back of the back pad. I cleaned up the entire piece, changed or cleaned all of the hardware, cleaned up the weight storage pegs and added new caps, new seat track pieces. Of course new vinyl with new foam for the back pad. My right shoulder has been hurting so I cannot use the incline, but it looks pretty good.



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  11. #71
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    I cut it with a long scissor. Worked fine with the 1” foam. I don’t use electric to carve our turkeys.
    I don't even eat turkey, but I use an electric knife for quite a bit of upholstery work. A long sharp knife works good too, just not for rebond. Angle grinders with a sanding disc work well on that stuff though. End result on your project looks fantastic! You should get a lot of use out of a nice piece of equipment like that. Great job!
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    Originally Posted by Lifts4longevity View Post
    I don't even eat turkey, but I use an electric knife for quite a bit of upholstery work. A long sharp knife works good too, just not for rebond. Angle grinders with a sanding disc work well on that stuff though. End result on your project looks fantastic! You should get a lot of use out of a nice piece of equipment like that. Great job!
    Thank you very much. Only problem is now I don’t have anything to sew. Will probably make a head cover but then that’s it.
    If I was doing a lot of foam work I’d have to have a foam saw like this one.


    I’ve seen the grinder used on motorcycle seats by Mecca upholstery on YouTube.
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    The diamond pattern looks great. Gives me the impression of expensive. Does the additional stitching affect the long-term durability of the pads?
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    Originally Posted by dagdafitness View Post
    The diamond pattern looks great. Gives me the impression of expensive. Does the additional stitching affect the long-term durability of the pads?
    Thanks. I’m not how it would hold up in a commercial gym. I thinknless reliable since a seam could easily get broken. On spread still.
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    Thank you very much. Only problem is now I don’t have anything to sew. Will probably make a head cover but then that’s it.
    If I was doing a lot of foam work I’d have to have a foam saw like this one.


    I’ve seen the grinder used on motorcycle seats by Mecca upholstery on YouTube.
    Bosch makes a good upholstery saw and I always dreamed of having it, but I think at the time (10 years ago or more) it was still around $500! At the time I had to tool up for my upholstery projects by getting the Juki and all the misc. stuff that you need to go with it, which was a large enough expense for me. Now I'm so used to "getting by" with the turkey knife/butcher's knife/grinder methods that I don't even think about getting a foam saw. The volume of upholstery work I do these days is tiny, mostly repairs around the house, so the expense certainly isn't justified.
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    Have a new project, squat seat. It’s pretty rough but better just with a decent cleaning. I’m not sure if it is painted or powder coated but with some light sanding in a couple of spots I see bare metal, so thinking painted. I may try to strip it down and spray it to match my legend bench. I was just going to make a new pad cover but the seat is pretty trashed so I’m going to do the entire thing over. I have some pretty good particle board already and I’ll try to use my hand held jigsaw to make the curves.
    I tried to unscrew the pop pin but not sure if I’m doing it correctly, or if it’s just not going to come apart. Any suggestions for this are appreciated.


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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    Have a new project, squat seat. It’s pretty rough but better just with a decent cleaning. I’m not sure if it is painted or powder coated but with some light sanding in a couple of spots I see bare metal, so thinking painted. I may try to strip it down and spray it to match my legend bench. I was just going to make a new pad cover but the seat is pretty trashed so I’m going to do the entire thing over. I have some pretty good particle board already and I’ll try to use my hand held jigsaw to make the curves.
    I tried to unscrew the pop pin but not sure if I’m doing it correctly, or if it’s just not going to come apart. Any suggestions for this are appreciated.


    That looks like a tuff one but the challenge is half the fun..I’m not good at pads so I grab stuff that has good pads but needs paint / hardware.
    Can’t wait to see how it turns out!
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    Thinking if I can get all of the paint off I might try to clear coat it. Getting all of the paint off the seat frame is going to be a struggle. Will use plywood rather than the particle board for the new pad base.
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    I think there may be several coats of paint on this thing, lift off a big sheet and still black. Have gone with several orange paint stripper applications. Got down to bare steel in some areas, used some emery paper but needed a lot of elbow grease. Trying some more stripper.
    Picked up some plywood so going to cut a new seat base then will get to work on the pad and vinyl.
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    Uggh I hate those multi layer paint jobs. Do you have power tools?
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    Originally Posted by Skidmarx View Post
    Uggh I hate those multi layer paint jobs. Do you have power tools?
    Yes what do you suggest. Wire wheel will scratch too much. Thinking fine sandpaper on electric mouse sander. Not sure I can get the emery paper on the sander but that was my thought.
    I have fine steel wool. 0000 I think.
    Thanks for the advice.
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    Automotive paint stripper? I have a can of Aircraft Remover that I bought to strip some plates. I haven't gotten around to it yet so I couldn't tell you how well it works or doesn't.
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    Originally Posted by ShockDaMuscles View Post
    Automotive paint stripper? I have a can of Aircraft Remover that I bought to strip some plates. I haven't gotten around to it yet so I couldn't tell you how well it works or doesn't.
    I like the citrus since it works and don’t think it is too toxic. Aircraft sounds like it would do the job.
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    I like the citrus since it works and don’t think it is too toxic. Aircraft sounds like it would do the job.
    Methylene-chloride based paint removers work really well but it's really toxic. I believe they stopped selling them about 2 years ago because of the health issues it causes. I don't have first-hand experience yet, until I can get to my plate project. The stuff on the market now is not as effective but at least it won't kill you.
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    Used some Klean stripper and that helped a little. Mouse sander is what is working but going thru pads quickly. I cut the new base for the seat and have the vinyl diamond stitching done for the cover. Going to try to get the pop pin loosed with some WD40 but so far I’ve been unsuccessful.


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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    Used some Klean stripper and that helped a little. Mouse sander is what is working but going thru pads quickly. I cut the new base for the seat and have the vinyl diamond stitching done for the cover. Going to try to get the pop pin loosed with some WD40 but so far I’ve been unsuccessful.


    Wow..nice work. It’s going to look great
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    About ready to attach the foam. Also finally got the pop pin out, it’s rusty so soaking in vinegar. I’ll see if the spring is ok or needs to be replaced.
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    Almost done. Need a little more clean up of the frame and the pop pin. Cover is done.
    Darn it sideways pics again.
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    I’m about done, just need slightly shorter bolts for the seat. Might keep it or not. Think I can get about 3.50 for it.
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    I’m about done, just need slightly shorter bolts for the seat. Might keep it or not. Think I can get about 3.50 for it.
    Wow..nicely done!
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