I have a 1913 Touring. The upholstery is still original leather, for the most part, in great shape, and has horse hair stuffing… with the exception of the front seat cushion. I have used leather honey to soften the leather, but the front seat cushion is a mess. Apparently the cushion got wrecked over time, and someone simply covered the cushion with a modern (at that time) replacement. My wife purchased a leather replacement cushion from Classtique (it is fantastic). But now, in removing the two layers of upholstery from the front cushion springs, I have run into a roadblock.
The bottom rim of the springs is bound in a wood tack ring that apparently was originally used to secure the leather. It seems solid, although it has a lot of tack holes. Does it make sense to repair all of the tack holes (toothpicks and superglue), or is there a better option. My plan is to repair the wood, blast the springs with walnut shells, and then paint the springs. Does this make sense? I do not want to toss away the old springs, but I want to make sure I am doing the right thing.
I would appreciate and guidance…
Toothpicks and Elmers Wood glue works well.
You don't have to fill the nail holes as long as the new tacks miss the old holes.
Looks like you have a lot of leeway to me.
I use West System epoxy and a Monoject syringe and keep going around until it won't soak it up anymore.
Filling the old holes is a better idea, I think. Toothpicks and Elmer's (or titebond) is a simple fix, and a good one. Injecting a resin sounds like it would be very effective at filling voids, but I think you would want to be sure the "filler" material was no harder than the wood the tack strip is made of.
Any road, you're very lucky to have these original parts, and conserving them in your restoration is a good thing !
Thanks for posting these pictures. I have never seen a spring with a wood strip around the bottom.
Early cars had a bent-wood frame with the springs. In late 1911 through 1912 the bottom was completely covered with leatherette. I think in about 1914 they came out with the "crimp edge."
It sounds like you are on the right track. Glue in toothpicks, blast the springs with walnut shells and paint.
Has anyone else seen a spring like this before?
: ^ )
Michael, by the looks of the side of the seat timber, the wood has deteriorated beyond being sound. I think it needs replacing.
I enjoy wood work and if I had your project, I would laminate a new frame. Three or four thin strips glued around a former would do the trick. The rebate in which the seat wire frame sits could be made by making the inside strip narrower.
Alternatively, a timber bender could make you up a replacement. We recently lost a timber bending craftsman and his wife to a car accident. They smashed into a tree trying to dodge a kangaroo. His passing has left a void which will be hard to fill. The new blackwood top bows on my roadster have become somewhat of a memorial to his work.
Allan from down under.
Hope this helps.
Michael, Don Lang sells a product called (KWIK-Poly). It will repair the wood. I am a furniture upholsterer. I use it to fill tack holes in antique furniture.
I also agree with Keith. I have never seen a seat spring assembly like that.
I would agree with Allan..looks like it's had its day, if you're planning on really using the car to any extent. Not saying this is the correct bottom for a '13, but doesn't look anything like I've seen on my '12 & '13, nor on any friends. The '13s usually also have a solid plywood bottom to them, man does it make it a heavy seat! I'd look into new springs from Snyders..they make them to spec, and then frankly I'd send the springs back to Mike at Classtique and have him mount the upholstery. That's what I did and I never have regretted it. Just my opinion.
I wonder if that cushion spring is original to the car? Never seen one like that.
Thanks for the guidance. When I first looked at the wood frame, it looked rough. But then again, since it was subjected to 100 years of beer farts, it still looked pretty good. I had first considered replacing the wood, as Allan suggested, but is secured to the springs very tightly, and I fear that un-doing the metal clips would compromise them. I was quite surprised that this appears not to be a “common” way of building springs for 1913, but having said that, it makes me want to preserve the structure even more.
Larry, given the fact that some people are unfamiliar with this construction, made me wonder the same thing. But the springs are old and the original leather seat is diamond tufted horsehair. I find myself wondering if the cushion construction was limited to a particular body maker in 1913. From previous posts on the Forum, I believe bodies were made by several companies. My body is stamped as seen below, and the block number is 246488.
I suspect that a bit of experimentation is in order to come up with the best solution.
Look on the bottom of the doors and see if there are any numbers there.
Where are the guys with original unrestored 1913's? Let's see your seat springs!