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JohnG
09-11-2017, 12:09 AM
I have a red and white interior (XG). I am at a point of wanting to replace the seat covers as the drivers is cracking on the rear and the colors were never quite correct. Also my rear foam is at the graham cracker stage of life.

I was looking at MACs Fall 2017 catalogue and found a complete set of covers (f & r) for $505. Rear seat foam for $409. So I am looking at $914 plus shipping plus installation.

Last week I got motivated when MACs sent out an email saying they were having a sale and 15% off for orders $300 and over.

I emailed them to confirm and was told it was good until midnight tonight (9/10). Great!

Got online and found the prices had changed. Now $585 and $423. Hmmmmm

Put them in the basket and applied the coupon code. My total dropped to . . . $938.

In other words they seem to have increased the price since the Fall catalogue (but it ain't even Fall yet! ) and then offered a sale that simply got things back where they were.

Maybe this is as good as I can do.

Anyone got any better experiences??

(I don't need front foam . . . did that about 8 years ago)

John

Infinite Monkeys
09-11-2017, 12:39 AM
I get those coupon code deals weekly by email. Basically, every time I buy something. I just got mine, so I'm buying a lot of parts.

I would just call them and ask about the "deal" and ask about the price increase.

YellowRose
09-11-2017, 12:46 AM
John, take a look at the Bird Nest prices. Vinyl red & white front and rear seat upholstery sells for $499.95 there. Part #SCS-589-RED/WHT. The rear bottom and back seat foam sells for $350. Part #STFMR580-REAR. You might also want to check with Tbird Hqs and other parts houses to see if they can beat those prices. Also, you might want to check with a local shop that specializes in doing classic car interiors. They might be able to beat those prices.

JohnG
09-11-2017, 05:48 AM
Thanks!

Do Squarebird members get a discount from any vendors?

YellowRose
09-11-2017, 07:44 AM
Depending on the amount of the order some of our vendors do give a discount. You will have to ask them. Rock Auto is the main one who gives us a discount of 5% on any online order, but I do not think they stock foams and seat covers for these old Tbirds of ours. Their discount code is found in the Advertisements Forum and it changes every few months.

jopizz
09-11-2017, 10:46 AM
As Ray mentioned I would ask your local upholstery shop about the rear foam. They can probably make it for less than $350.

John

YellowRose
09-11-2017, 11:02 AM
Keep in mind that, for the most part, which ever Tbird parts house you place your order with that most of the Tbird parts available today are manufactured by just TWO companies... I was told by both Tbird Hqs and the Bird Nest that they manufacture and supply to the others 80% of the parts. So if you order from Mac's for example, or anyone else, and they are out of that part, they have to turn around and order it from either Tbird Hqs, or the Bird Nest... Whichever one manufacturers that part....

JohnG
09-11-2017, 11:30 AM
John and Ray, good information - thanks!

I have a 2016 MACs catalogue which shows the seat cover set I need as $469. Then the 2017 Fall catalogue at $505. Now the online price of $585, a 25% increase over 2016!

So something is going on there and I need to look closer to the source, as Ray suggested.

I had not thought about the foam being done locally so that helps. The auto upholstery guy is only 2 miles down the road.

YellowRose
09-11-2017, 12:35 PM
John, and others reading this... When it came time to replace my crumbling foam cushions under the front and back seats, I ordered them from one of the suppliers. After receiving them and taking them to my guy who did my interior (a fantastic interior guy who does a lot of classic cars) he asked me how much I paid for them... I told him and he told me that I should have asked him how much he would have charged me to make them, which he does all the time... What he said he would have charged me was a lot less then what I paid for them... On top of that, he had to re-work the rear seat foam because it was not fitting correctly as it was manufactured. That cost him time and effort, but in the end, I think I have fantastic looking seats in Rose... I have since heard others on here say, either in print or privately, that they also had problems installing these seat foams and had to mold them to make them fit correctly..... So John, now you know what it is going to cost you for new foams from one of our parts houses... Ask the guy down the road how much he would charge you. You might get a nice surprise.....

simplyconnected
09-11-2017, 02:58 PM
...On top of that, he had to re-work the rear seat foam because it was not fitting correctly as it was manufactured. That cost him time and effort, but in the end, I think I have fantastic looking seats in Rose... I have since heard others on here say, either in print or privately, that they also had problems installing these seat foams and had to mold them to make them fit correctly...Here's how it goes... Trim work is always 'custom fit' because seat covers are not exactly consistent from one to the next. It's 'sewing', and none of this can be done in a jig so it's all done free-hand.

Remember Jed Zimmerman's foams? He glued different densities of foam together then cut the shape out with a knife and a sander. None of them were molded.

Putting this all together... The installer MUST make the seat look pleasing to the eye by either paring the foam down if it is too big for the cover OR adding 'fill foam' in areas where the seat cover is baggy. Trim shops know this as standard fare and the installation cost includes this.

Foam comes in many grades, different densities and different costs depending on the amount of rubber content. Seat bottoms need a higher density than the seat backs. THAT is what made Jed's foams better than the molded offerings because molding can only be of one type of foam. Bottom line here is cost vs quality. More rubber in foam lasts MUCH longer than low-cost foam.

I did two Amphicar interiors in marine vinyl and constructed my foams with Jed's guidance before he passed. I stripped the seats to the frames, repaired worn and broken metal, etc., then sewed the pleated and piped covers. Believe me, the result is stunning, far better than stock and will last much longer BUT the foam cost more. The feel when sitting on the new seats makes all the difference. That's where the quality shines through.

I would certainly go to a local trim shop and sit down with the guy. Let him know you want high quality foam, then let him make it. Gluing and cutting foam is not hard work but it does take an extra hour. Covering the foam should cost the same. - Dave

Tbird1044
09-11-2017, 05:01 PM
My experience with the seats makes me totally agree with John and Ray. I bought the high dollar preformed foam and a complete set of covers from one of our vendors. After trying to put one of the old covers over the new foam, to make the car driveable during restoration, I realized I was NOT going to do the install of the new covers.
I found an upholstery shop that specializes in classics and roadsters and decided to let them do the install. They had to modify one of the seat covers and ended up reshaping all of the foam. I had negotiated a price for the initial install, but neglected to renegotiate for the modifications.
Bottom line is the install nearly doubled the price of what I had in the foam and new covers.
After that I would highly recommend finding a good upholstery shop and let them make the covers and foam, and then they are responsible for the entire job. My friend did that on his TBird and ended up paying a lot less than I did and got a really nice job.
Just thought I would share my experience.
Nyles

V-John
09-13-2017, 12:08 AM
I quit buying stuff from Mac's after the crap covers and oversized cushions they sold me. I talked to them several times and they were to return a call from management. Never did, so I wrote them off my list.

del
02-24-2018, 10:31 AM
John and Ray, good information - thanks!

I have a 2016 MACs catalogue which shows the seat cover set I need as $469. Then the 2017 Fall catalogue at $505. Now the online price of $585, a 25% increase over 2016!

So something is going on there and I need to look closer to the source, as Ray suggested.

I had not thought about the foam being done locally so that helps. The auto upholstery guy is only 2 miles down the road.

Hi John - Just wondering, did you ever do anything with your seat covers & foams? I have been looking into doing something with just the fronts as the shoulders are faded and rough and the foams are shot but have not found any leather sample that comes even close to the 60 red leather color. They all are too maroon. Even got some vinyl samples but they are too maroon as well. I found a place online called autoleatherdye.com that apparently can make a kit to custom color match anything, so I sent them a swatch from under the back seat. Awaiting on their return call.

Does anyone know if the two page "tip sheet" that Jed Zimmerman used to provide to folks that purchased his foams is available anywhere online?

simplyconnected
02-24-2018, 01:43 PM
...Remember Jed Zimmerman's foams? He glued different densities of foam together then cut the shape out with a knife and a sander. None of them were molded... Read the rest of my post below. Meanwhile, here's a picture of a typical set of 'Jed Zimmerman foams':

http://squarebirds.org/images_seats/FoamSet-SB.jpg

Here is Jed's instructions for installation:

Squarebird rear foam and upholstery

The following guidelines are based upon my personal experience in fabricating foams and doing complete upholstery jobs;

Steps to follow when Hog Ringing the Upholstery over the Foams and onto the Frames

1. Pad the perimeter of the frames by cutting 3 or 4 inch wide lengths of poly batting material, enough to use as padding for the entire perimeter of the frame.
2. Spray one side of batting with aerosol adhesive and place the batting material over the edge perimeter wire of the frame. Pinch the batting together over the frame edge wire so the contact glue will hold the batting in place.
3. Center foam on frame.
4. Insert wire splines into foam slice cut (coat hangers make good spline material).
5. Hog ring the splines to frame thru back fabric of seat foam thus anchoring the foam to the frame.
6. Cut 3-4” wide strips or lengths of Ĺ” to 1” foam or batting material
7. Either use contact glue or hog ring the foam strips onto the frame perimeter to match up with the seat foams. You may also simply use aerosol spray contact adhesive to glue the foam strips at the perimeter base of the foams around the perimeter of the seat frame. These foam/batting strips will alleviate any undue pressure or chaffing of the upholstery material onto or across the metal frames when the upholstery is drawn down tight over the foam and frame assembly.
8. Insert wire splines into the pocket inserts of the upholstery
9. Place the upholstery over the foam and insert the upholstery attached spline sleeves into the foam slice cuts.
10. Hog ring the inserted upholstery spline onto the inserted foam slice cut spline, thus anchoring the upholstery to the foam and the frame.
11. Start at top and bottom centers working outwards from center to each side continuing around the foam/frame corners, first gently stretching the upholstery over the foam to gain the desired contour and hog ringing the upholstery onto the frame bottom.
12. Cautiously alternate hog ringing locations gently pulling upholstery to evenly contour foam and eliminate unnecessary folds in the fabric.
13. It will be necessary to occasionally use diagonal pliers (dikes) to cut hog rings off and relocate the fastening location of them in order to gain the correct stretching distance and foam contour.
14. Using an extra layer of batting material to increase the foams bulk should be used for any areas of the upholstery/foam desired to have greater bulk, contour or tension.

PRECAUTIONARY WARNING:

Upon installation of your upholstery fabric over your new foam seat cushion onto the seat frames; please do consider the application of using heat. Upholstery must be stretched and hog-ring fastened in temps in excess of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A hot summer's day or heat lamps are required for correct stretching and installation of the upholstery vinyl fabric over the seat foams and hog-ringing onto the seat frames. You have no other alternative, other than to be in a very warm temp environment or to use auxiliary heat when you hog-ring the upholstery over the foams onto the frames, less you may tear the upholstery or seams. Please contact me directly with any questions regarding the installation of such.

Best Birding,
Jed Zimmerman

Dave's note:

Jed's 'spline sleeves' are commonly called, 'pockets' in the seat covers.
Jed's 'splines' are commonly called, 'listing rods'. (They slide into the pockets and are hog ringed to the seat springs.)

del
03-05-2018, 12:14 PM
Hi Dave Thanks for posting this. I watched some youtube vids on seat cover / foam installs and was questioning whether reusing old covers was feasible. After some further searching here I found a post where Jed Z described re-installing existing seat covers over new foams. Of course it would depend on the condition of the covers, and no doubt the skill of the person doing the job.

Has anyone attempted this? Opinions?
If I can get the worn spots to look half decent, I may give it a try. In a few more weeks it will be warm enough in the garage to do some work out there and the seats will be coming out so I can start on the new carpets.

partsetal
03-05-2018, 01:42 PM
Don,
I tried re-using an old cover that had a badly rusted rear bottom frame. I switched the still soft foam to a clean frame and when I went to install the used cover I discovered the thread would not support any pulling or positioning to re-ring the cover. Most of the seams split rendering the job a failure.
Carl

simplyconnected
03-05-2018, 05:41 PM
Carl is right about the seams.
I use my industrial sewing machine to sew boat covers, Bimini covers, sails, automotive seats, awnings, etc. Notice, these are all exposed to sunlight. Cars are the least affected but still see harmful UV rays that discolor and break down everything over time.

I strictly prohibit nylon and cotton threads. Instead, polyester does a good job of resisting sunlight. (Boat cover material is also made of polyester.) The absolute grand-daddy of sunlight resistant threads are:
Tenara is made from a unique fluoropolymer and Profilen is made from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Both of these brands carry a lifetime guarantee. These threads are unaffected by exposure to UV rays, harsh cleaning agents, pollution, saltwater, rain, snow, cold, and rot.

Unfortunately, these threads are too expensive for the automotive OEMs so they use nylon. I test all the thread I buy because UV protection is so important. I recently sent two cones back because I ordered polyester but they sent nylon. Some folks can't tell the difference but I can. - Dave

Woobie
03-06-2018, 11:50 AM
...Has anyone attempted this? Opinions?
If I can get the worn spots to look half decent, I may give it a try. In a few more weeks it will be warm enough in the garage to do some work out there and the seats will be coming out so I can start on the new carpets.

You are working with red leather upholstery. Is that correct ?

del
03-06-2018, 01:29 PM
Yes Woobie, that is correct - red leather upholstery.

Woobie
03-06-2018, 04:01 PM
Yes Woobie, that is correct - red leather upholstery.

Vinyl I've done. Not leather. The rear panel of backrest is held in with spring clips. Very easy to pull them through the pressboard when prying out. The rear of the backrest frame contains spikes machined into the metal frame. The material is stretched from the sides, top and bottom and locked into these spikes. The sides of the backrest are stuffed into a narrow space at the bottom of the backrest frame with another spike. I'll call them spikes, they are "V" shaped, cut from the solid metal frame and they'll get you good if not paying attention. If the same seat frames were used for the expensive leather option than this will give you an idea of what's under the upholstery.

YellowRose
03-17-2018, 04:10 PM
Somewhere, there was a question about seat covers, but I have not found it. This is what Austin just sent me..

"Hi Ray. I found this picture of the Squarebird backrest in my archives. It may help others in the future. The photo shows the spikes that I was referring to in the thread

"Seat cover recommendations ?". Vinyl upholstery though. Have no idea if the leather option is the same seat frame. If you could post the photo in the thread ?

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Austin"

Woobie
03-17-2018, 05:31 PM
Thanks again Ray.

The thread is over here:

http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=21934&page=2

YellowRose
03-17-2018, 05:37 PM
Thanks, Woobie, I merged my post into this one. Apparently, I did not look deep enough into this thread to find it.

Djweaz
03-24-2018, 08:23 PM
Ray are you saying hat it is best to go directly to Tbird HQ or the Birds Nest? Buying items from the others we get a middle man price add in? I usually always buy from the Birds Nest anyway. It helps keep my receipts neat and organized and I know exactly where I got the parts from. However the reason I started reading this thread is because I need to change my seat buns especially the drivers side because the seat frame is working as a cheese grater. In doing so, I want to have all black with white striping like I have instead of the black and White that I see is for sale at the Birds Nest. Iíve been told of a guy that is getting his covers from Macs and they are black with white piping. Iím trying to get the best price I can to get the buns and covers bought and installed. I was shocked that when I saw the door panels were $500 for the pair. I donít think I spent near that when I bought new interior for my 68 Chevelle and I think that ran me about $4k in total. All of the panels I can replace myself but I donít know if I am up to doing covers and buns. At Good guys last year I saw an upholsterer that I asked him about getting my seats redone and I think he said around $1500 a seat. I asked him why and he said they like to rebuild the entire seat. I donít need the entire seat redone just the buns and covers. Anybody have any suggestions on this?



QUOTE=YellowRose;110863]Keep in mind that, for the most part, which ever Tbird parts house you place your order with that most of the Tbird parts available today are manufactured by just TWO companies... I was told by both Tbird Hqs and the Bird Nest that they manufacture and supply to the others 80% of the parts. So if you order from Mac's for example, or anyone else, and they are out of that part, they have to turn around and order it from either Tbird Hqs, or the Bird Nest... Whichever one manufacturers that part....[/QUOTE]

YellowRose
03-24-2018, 10:16 PM
What I am saying is that the Bird Nest and Tbird Hqs told me that they manufacture 80% of the Tbird parts available to us today. And that the other parts dealerships, who need those parts have to order them from either of those two companies, when they run out of their stock... To see which parts shop offers their parts at what prices, do some shop comparison to see who sells it cheaper. Keep in mind though, that IF the parts house you choose to order from is out of that part, they are probably going to have to order it from the Bird Nest or Tbird Hqs to complete your order. Which can further delay your order.....

OX1
03-25-2018, 06:42 AM
I recently had a rear section of an upper bucket seat, sewn in to the original seat cover. They used fabric from another seat, that I bought just for that back section. I was stunned when the guy told me $65 to do all that (I gave him $85).

Point being, shop around. Try to find a shop where they don't spend huge amounts of money on overhead (in other words, a place that looks super nice, is going to charge accordingly to keep that place up).

Could also take the covers off yourself (not like you have to be nice to them if you are just throwing them out). See what everything really looks like in there. Then specify exactly what you want done.

Dan Leavens
03-25-2018, 09:39 AM
Henry very good advice. I also found that if you call around to see if the shop has an " older / experienced " person on staff they have done these before:D Save $$$

Djweaz
03-25-2018, 02:01 PM
Iím going to have to try that after I get the money saved up. I would much rather go with leather than vinyl. I have read that vinyl made today is much better than the vinyl that came with many of these cars. Iím sure that either of them will look very nice in my car but there is just something I like about leather. If I was just redoing it to sell it I probably would go with vinyl.

simplyconnected
03-25-2018, 04:56 PM
I'm reading along and shaking my head at some of these posts because I sew.

Naturally, we all want to save money because 'a fool and his money soon part company.' Additionally, 'you get what you pay for.' Then there is the dreaded, 'Caveat emptor' or buyer beware. Be aware that there are many different grades of vinyl, leather and thread.

Once the materials are bought the work is the same, kinda. Like in any craft, some tradesmen are better than others. Good ones make fewer mistakes, they don't waste materials and they usually offer a warranty but they charge more money. These are people who use quality, UV-resistant marine grade vinyls and threads. They always start with a sound base. If the frame is weak, needs replacement springs or welding, they do it first. I already explained the difference in foams.

Our seats use 'pockets' that hold listing rods. These rods go through the foam and are hog ringed to the seat springs. That is how seat 'inserts' are held down as the bolsters puff up around them. How can an 'over-cover' or slip cover look anything like stock-quality? It simply can't.

My point is, there are loads of ways to save money but what are you actually buying? OEM leather is very good quality. OEM vinyl is better than average but 'marginal' in my book because there are far better-quality vinyls available. I already discussed the quality of threads.

Ever wonder why 'boat' or 'airplane' materials are so high? Boats are in the sun all the time. Airplane seats will not support fire. These are correct materials for the application. Automotive materials see sun and they meet the demand of constant daily traffic.

Someone mentioned re-using the same cover but it fell apart at the seams. That's typical of OEM nylon thread not polyester (yes I can tell the difference and have sent nylon back because it was sold as polyester). Cotton thread is useless in the sun.

Talk with your trimmer and ask lots of questions before hiring him. You should get exactly what you want because these seats are not that technical. BTW, sewers make their own piping and windlace in any color you want. - Dave

Djweaz
03-26-2018, 03:27 AM
One of the reasons I want to go with leather is it is much more durable than vinyl, at least I think it is. Having it done properly I should never have to have it redone in my lifetime. Leather crack and develop lines but I think that if it is treated properly it wonít crack up. Vinyl wonít get those creases that leather does but in the end that and price are the two positives that vinyl has over leather.

In my eyes going for the cheapest route might be like you said, you get what you pay for. Iíd rather pay a couple extra dollars to get what I want instead of regretting it down the line. When I replaced my mirrors I could have gone with a cheaper pair but my car started out life with the most expensive mirrors out there ranging from $150-$200.

As for shops, I am afraid I will run into someone like Sue in Fast n loud and misfit garage. Already have enough people out there trying to sell junk for top dollar because the see Richard Rawlings do it.

One of the things I am seeing is two-tone seat covers. Even though my 55 Vicky had black & white interior because it was black and white, I donít want that look on my 59. It has black with white piping that will go with any color should I ever decide to have it painted a different color again.





I'm reading along and shaking my head at some of these posts because I sew.

Naturally, we all want to save money because 'a fool and his money soon part company.' Additionally, 'you get what you pay for.' Then there is the dreaded, 'Caveat emptor' or buyer beware. Be aware that there are many different grades of vinyl, leather and thread.

Once the materials are bought the work is the same, kinda. Like in any craft, some tradesmen are better than others. Good ones make fewer mistakes, they don't waste materials and they usually offer a warranty but they charge more money. These are people who use quality, UV-resistant marine grade vinyls and threads. They always start with a sound base. If the frame is weak, needs replacement springs or welding, they do it first. I already explained the difference in foams.

Our seats use 'pockets' that hold listing rods. These rods go through the foam and are hog ringed to the seat springs. That is how seat 'inserts' are held down as the bolsters puff up around them. How can an 'over-cover' or slip cover look anything like stock-quality? It simply can't.

My point is, there are loads of ways to save money but what are you actually buying? OEM leather is very good quality. OEM vinyl is better than average but 'marginal' in my book because there are far better-quality vinyls available. I already discussed the quality of threads.

Ever wonder why 'boat' or 'airplane' materials are so high? Boats are in the sun all the time. Airplane seats will not support fire. These are correct materials for the application. Automotive materials see sun and they meet the demand of constant daily traffic.

Someone mentioned re-using the same cover but it fell apart at the seams. That's typical of OEM nylon thread not polyester (yes I can tell the difference and have sent nylon back because it was sold as polyester). Cotton thread is useless in the sun.

Talk with your trimmer and ask lots of questions before hiring him. You should get exactly what you want because these seats are not that technical. BTW, sewers make their own piping and windlace in any color you want. - Dave