How I made my Cafe seat
Let me please preempt this post with a quick note. I’m not an upholsterer, nor have I ever made anything like this before. I’m sure there are a hundred different ways to make a cafe seat and this is simply the way I did it.
The specifics of this are based around this: Off the shelf Cafe seats never quite fit right. They always seem to leave a gap at the font and ugly spaces underneath, between it and the frame.
- 7mm Plywood (enough to make the base)
- Lengths of 1.4mm right angle aluminium
- Lengths of 1mm steel bar (about 2cm wide(ish))
- Lengths of 3mm steel bar.
- Random bolts and nuts (all M6)
- Short, small self-taping screws.
- 2 Yoga mats
- 1 pack of 4 interlocking floor mats things from Bunnings
- 1m of Vinyl
- 2m of pinchweld rubber edging
I started by knocking up some cardboard templates of the basic shape of the seat. Because the frame on the CB250N has a ‘dip’ in it, the base is made out of two pieces. Once I was happy with the templates, I simply cut two pieces of 7mm plywood to match. Try to keep it square-ish and it makes the next step A LOT easier.
This was then joined, at the right angle with four short pieces of the 1mm steel bar (two on top, two below) at the right angle.
Next bit is to fill in the ugly gap between the seat and the frame.
Using the right angle aluminum, I measured each ‘straight bits’ of the seats height at each end between the seat and the frame. With them all in place, you will see from the following photo it neatly fills the gap. Take your time here. In theory each opposing bit should have the same length and heights. Try and still leave about 5mm gap. There still needs to be room for some edging and the upholstery.
With all bit done, drill suitable holes and screw it all in place with the self taping screws.. For each bit, use four screws to give extra strength.
You’ll note the bolt in the very center of the seat. That lines up with a hole in a preexisting cross brace on the frame. Although not pictured, I later welded this to a small square of 1.3mm steel sheet, then secured it down, through the seat with more self-taping screws.
The next step is a bit hard to explain for just any bike. Being primarily wood, I needed to have support under the seat. I welded in some cross-braces into the frame (3mm steel bar). Then using some solid rubber door stops from Bunnings (two 43mm (trimmed) and two 50mm), I bolted these into the underside of the seat.
I also cannibalized the front mount off the original seat (the bit that slots in under the back of the tank)
Next is time to do the padding and upholstery.
Seeing as foam is such a rip-off at Clark Rubber. I went I little outside the box on this one.
First, run the pinchweld rubber edging along the hard edge of the metal side skirts. This will protect the vinyl from having the metal rip thought it later.
Next, knock up another template (or reuse your old one if you still have it) and cut two pieces of the interlocking floor rubber. Because each square of rubber is too small for the seat, I used its interlocking ability to join two bits (well, I cut it from two pieces joined together). I did make sure that each layer didnt have the join in the same spot.
Here you can see the two layers (and the pinchweld rubber edging)
Now do the same with two layers of the yoda mats. I found I was able to get both layers out of a single mat.
The red tape is simply to hold everything in place while I work.
Lastly, for the padding, we make up a layer of the yoga mate (from a new roll) that covers the top and comes down the side. This will give the seat a less square-ish look.
Now, I didn’t want just a plain seat cover. For me they look a bit boring. So I went with a ribbed cover. I figured 5cm between each rib plus 1cm for the actual fold (it actually ended up being 1.5cm for each fold).
So I simply drew out long lines on the back of the vinyl 6cm apart. Long enough to cover the width of the seat (plus enough to wrap around and secure AND a little extra) and enough lines to cover the length of the seat (plus etc etc).
It worked out to be 60cm lines, and 16 of them.
Lets get sewing….
Once all the ribs were sewn, you get this:
Now we start securing the cover to the seat. Using a staple gun (use an electric of air powered one, otherwise your hand WILL fall off by the end), I started in the center of each side, basically where the ‘dip’ is. Reason being this gave me a straight line across the under side of the seat to line up the first rib, with the hope that all others will line up square both forward and back.
Then simply work your way back, doing both sides concurrently so each rib stays square.
The ends will be tricky. In hind sight, I would have made to curved section and actually stitched them in, but by this stage I’d been going at it for so long, I wasnt going to unstaple everything I did.
and before you know it….
Next, flip it upside down and trim all the excess vinyl.
Now go put it on your bike and marvel at your brilliance