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Author Topic: How hard is it to do upholstery? Should it be flat or padded on dash?  (Read 4582 times)
belfert
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« on: July 06, 2010, 10:23:52 AM »

Is upholstery something I can do myself?

I am probably going to upholster my dash after the comments on building a dash.  Is there any reason I can't just install the vinyl flat?  Do I need to have padding?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2010, 10:48:44 AM »

Brian, you need some kind of back padding for vinyl on your seams don't use cording use a double tuck on the fabric it not hard to do and most household sewing machines will sew the fabric.
If you have any problems my wife said pm her your number and she will walk you through the process,staple gun, rotary cutter, sewing machine and glue you should be good to go 



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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2010, 11:25:20 AM »

Upholstery is easy enough to do - it's perhaps easier than you would imagine as the vinyl fabric is really very tolerant - it's got enough stretch and give to accommodate moderate curves and shapes without wrinkling or needing multiple panels. With a bit of design and planning you might even get away without needing to do any sewing at all.

Padding isn't essential but will make the job easier as it tends to flatter your workmanship - without the padding the vinyl will replicate any bumps or joints in the underlying surface. Vinyl can be bought with complete with the foam backing already stuck on - although the foam often disintegrates and becomes detached from the vinyl after a couple of years.

I expect there are plenty of websites out there that will give advice on DIY auto upholstery

Jeremy
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2010, 12:04:34 PM »

I'm thinking I can do this without seams.  I really don't like that puffy padded look that padded upholstery has, but I suppose a really thin padding could be used.  I'll try to get over to the local upholstery store tonight or tomorrow.
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2010, 12:22:36 PM »

When I did mine, i used the foam that is used under pergo laminate flooring. It wasnt too thick and was easy to use.
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2010, 12:57:53 PM »

Lots of cars and OEM installs just use spray adhesive over metal.  If I was making your dash, I would try to make it out of metal, not wood.  Or metal base and fiberglass for the swoopy bits.

Brian
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2010, 01:09:47 PM »

Lots of cars and OEM installs just use spray adhesive over metal.  If I was making your dash, I would try to make it out of metal, not wood.  Or metal base and fiberglass for the swoopy bits.

Unfortunately, I have no tools to work metal nor the skills to do the work.  I looked into the cost of aluminum sheet and found it to be cost prohibitive.  If my friend hadn't been laid off from the machine shop I could get metal laser cut to help out.  I think wood is probably about my only option that makes sense right now.  Trying to do foam and fiberglass would probably take far too long.
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2010, 03:28:39 PM »

Brian .have been busy all day just got free..like others have said it's not hard or I couldn't do it...does give a nice look the padding behind it does cover up alot of rough places it is stretched over...My wife is lead on process like Luverbus wife is...need any help holler.I have a button making machine if you want to cover up any areas you have to fasten mechanicaly..just mail me some scrap fabric and I'll make you some...Bob
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2010, 07:59:10 AM »

I went to a place that sells upholstery supplies to get some prices on vinyl.  They also do upholstery work and they did some panels for me last year.  I want to get matching vinyl.

Anyhow, I asked him about foam versus no foam and he said just gluing down the vinyl would work.  My concern is how do I handle 90 degree inside corners, foam or not?  I have no idea how this would work.  I am planning to get some auto upholstery books from the library.
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2010, 08:54:24 AM »

My suggestion is, if this shop already did some work for you and obviously you were happy with what they did, why not let them do your dash. You would probably be happier with the end result, be done quicker, and more than likely cost you less.
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Ace Rossi
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2010, 04:52:47 PM »

I did all the upholstery on my bus all by myself ,i just hires a shop to do the stiching and i brought it home and glued and stapled it down,let me know if u have any ? i can send more detailed pics if u need them!johnjem84@yahoo.com
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2010, 05:25:39 PM »

My suggestion is, if this shop already did some work for you and obviously you were happy with what they did, why not let them do your dash. You would probably be happier with the end result, be done quicker, and more than likely cost you less.

I think I missed this post earlier.  The problem with having someone do the upholstery for me is the cost.  The four panels that each are about 2 square feet cost me $40 each materials and labor.  I also don't believe they do auto upholstery.

Johnjem, did you use foam under your upholstery?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2010, 02:50:41 PM »

Use 1/4 " foam or vinyl w/foam on it. You can get this material for 15 a yard. buy a spraycan of contact glue from your local canvas shop, they will have better glue than you can get. If your going over wood be sure to seal it for good adheasion and use staples at the edges if they are hidden. pull it tight like the dickins for a nice fit. trim off the extra last Often panels are installed using finish washers for a nice look with access.  If you own a bus YOU CAN do this !
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2010, 09:48:38 PM »

Brian, we have some really nice professional type vinyl upholstry material. It is black. Ken tried glueing it on our metal dash, and after being in the sun, it started turning loose after a while. dont really know what we are going to do with it now. Wanted something a little classier than just the black metal, but, now I dont know.
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2010, 04:52:38 AM »

I like doing things as "green" as possible. I have yards and yards of deep blue upholstery weight velvet that I have been moving with me for 35 years in the hope that one day I would do something with it. Of course I now want to use it in my bus. I intend on waterproofing it first with something like http://www.nikwax.com/en-us/how_nikwax_works/introduction.php

If I was intent on going black, I would probably try to use something like discarded tires. They can be cut even across the steel belts.
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2010, 05:45:30 AM »

just go down to mexico for a "tuck and roll"
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2010, 07:36:08 AM »

I understand being earth friendly and all that, but I'm not installing used tires to cover anything in my bus.  I would leave it uncovered before I did that.

If I really wanted to be earth friendly I wouldn't driving around in a vehicle that gets 8 MPG although I usually have 6 to 10 people on board.  My passenger miles per gallon are probably better than the three vehicles it would take to haul all the cargo and people otherwise.
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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2010, 08:03:37 AM »

It was just a thought. I think it would be cool especially if a bus were designed around being on the road and had a 50's type theme to it with lots of red and white and maybe couches that looked like car rear ends or something with neon clocks and checkered floors lol. Im sure that you will come up with exactly what suits you!

Edit: I dont know for sure, but a guess as to why the glue comes loose would be because the vynal is soaking up the sun and getting hot enough underneath to melt the glue. Maybe another glue would be better?
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« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2010, 10:13:13 AM »

 for heavy vinyl or rug type material one can use a can of rubber cement from the hardware store.apply to both surfaces using a brush or roller, let dry, and carefully place fabric as it will NOT be able to shifted. leave your fabric large and trim after This is the way we've done boat headliners using vinyl, foam/vinyl laminate, indoor/ outdoor carpet.  Closed up boats get extremely hot. and it holds really well We also used this method to finish out our  coach bays w/grey rug............s...... 
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« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2010, 10:48:44 AM »

for heavy vinyl or rug type material one can use a can of rubber cement from the hardware store.apply to both surfaces using a brush

Are you sure you meant rubber cement and not contact cement?  I thought rubber cement is usually used for paper and such?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2010, 11:06:09 AM »

rubber contact cement.........oh yeah, no smoking when applying this stuff , and open the windows unless your stuck in  the 1960's.....
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Sometimes the more I think about something the less I think about something.    As soon as I save a little money my bus finds out.                                      Why grab a plane when you can take the bus ?                         If I'm wrong 10% of the time how can the "Queen" be right 100%
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« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2010, 11:53:37 AM »

I had a lady stitch the fabric and pad. If the surface is perfect it will look OK without pad. The pad helps with the bumps. etc. I did my entire bus myself with no help. I have never done any upholstery before.








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« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2010, 12:04:48 PM »

I forgot to add:  I used weldwood landau top and trim glue. This can only be purchased at an upholstery supply house. I sprayed it on with a $ 49.00 gun from Northern tool. I used 1/4" pad on the dash, and 1/2" overhead. The thicker material also helps absorb noise. Make sure you used the foam with fabric on one side. The vinyl goes to the cloth side. Spray the back of the foam and the surface. Not to thick, get a fill for it. To much and the foam will suck into it. This will show on the finished surface. I did the entire bus floor to floor, front to back. Including the dash you will need app. 40-60 yds of material on a 40' coach. I also used 10 gal. of glue. I purchased it 5 gal. at a time. RESPERATOR IS A MUST!!!!! This stuff makes rats go crazy according to the warnings!!! But being a bus nut to start with, it will be a short trip!! LOL Good luck!
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« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2010, 12:11:39 PM »


Holy Crap Ericbsc....you want to do mine too?Huh?

That looks great!

Mike
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« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2010, 12:29:38 PM »

Ericbsc: Really nice work. And on some complicated shapes, too. Kudos


Jeremy


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« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2010, 01:25:08 PM »

I've been following post and have seen some good coments.Our last three buses have extensive use of Uphlostry...makes a good wall covering and easy to form around odd shaped objects...contact cement -get the old kind nowt the new green can white stuff;we have found the enviromentaly friendly stuff doesn't take heat as well and takes to long to set. One trick is to leave you contact cement can with the lid off for awhile till it thickens up. works better on one sided application..have found that it will react with certain foams.(melt them).we use thin batting instead..not cotton..JoAnn fabrics  runs 50% off sales on ocassion ck on line.A thin luan sheet  in your curved area will lend its self to easy forming and take adhesive well.good luck Bob
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« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2010, 01:57:34 PM »

Now that our windshield is in, dont know what we are going to do to the dash. We thought the vinyl was going to work good, but, as I said, after being in the sun, it is turning loose. It really goes down by the windshield, will be hard to get to. Sure not gonna mess with the windshield again, for those who know what we went through, lol.
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« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2010, 10:46:09 AM »

If if is coming loose it must be the glue. I completely wrapped the windshield trim and dash. Nothing coming loose. A trick that the upholstery supply house told me about is a heat gun. You would be amazed at the shapes you can get it to conform to hot! When it cools it will maintain that shape.Main thing is don't overheat the vinyl or it turns into a puddle!! (Don't ask me how I know this LOL)!!!


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« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2010, 11:04:41 AM »

Steam is widely used by professional upholsterers as well - works on leather too. I suspect using steam might be 'safer' than direct heat - although I'm not sure if the moisture of steam will cause a problem if you're gluing the vinyl down. As a general rule I think it is best to avoid having to use glue wherever possible - ie. where there are hidden edges that can be stapled etc. There may be many places where gluing the vinyl to the surface is unavoidable though - if that's the case it might be worth choosing a light-coloured vinyl - I'd assume that black or dark-colours are are more likely to absorb heat and run the risk of the glue failing. But that's just a guess.

Jeremy
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« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2010, 04:32:15 PM »

rubber contact cement.........oh yeah, no smoking when applying this stuff , and open the windows unless your stuck in  the 1960's.....

I can't find any product called rubber contact cement.  Is it just rubber cememnt you are talking about?
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« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2010, 04:35:50 PM »

weldwood product red and black can. contact cement....dap has one also
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« Reply #31 on: July 22, 2010, 05:48:27 AM »

Eric,

I stand in awe of your abilities!!! Incredible.

A couple of questions. How did you cover your fasteners? They are so neatly covered. Did you cover the panels (like on the ceiling) first, and then install it? Or did you cover it in place?

Did you have you have a book that you used, or what resources did you use (so we don't ask you 2 million and one questions)? What about trim pieces?

Thank you so much for your help. You have inspired us to do ours in a very similar fashion. 

God bless,

John
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« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2010, 09:23:46 AM »

 I didn't have a book, just asked questions. I will try to explain as best I can. I first covered all the walls in the bus up to the radius with 3/8" cabinet grade plywood. I used liquid nails behind and countersunk self tapping screws.
     I covered from the floor up to the rad. first as shown in the drawing below. I used a lapp joint on everything. I next used 1/8” Masonite for the rad. The first pc. Tucks behind the wall lap joint. Use 4’ long pieces. Third I lapped the ceiling over the 1/8” Masonite. Finally the last1/8” Masonite. Cut it tight, put liquid nails behind and it will be there forever. On the top pc. Of Masonite make sure you stagger the joints. I then filled all cracks holes etc. with bondo. You can use liquid nails with a putty knife also.

 


Next I covered the walls and ceiling with ½” foam. The correct material will have a cloth covering on one side. It comes 72” wide, vinyl comes 60. There is a reason for this which I will explain later. I went floor to floor. Any seams in this will show thru. Unless you are very careful. I made a tripod to hold the material close to the ceiling in the middle. See below. I used a spray gun with weldwood landau top and trim glue. Starting on one side spray an even coat on the ceiling and back of foam. Wait until tacky and smooth to ceiling starting in the middle. DO NOT PUSH INTO THE FOAM! It will sink into the glue. This will show up in the finished product. I put up one pc. then vinyl behind.


 

Now is where the width of the foam and vinyl comes in. Use the same procedure and put up the first pc. of vinyl. It will cover 12” less. Trim off the extra foam. Peel the vinyl back and trim 1-1/2” more of the foam off. Glue the foam back. It should now be flat against the ceiling  for the last 1-1/2”.  I then made a lap joint for the next pc. of vinyl as shown below. Let the vinyl hang until you put up the next pc. of foam. After the next pc. of foam is up use the same method to put up the vinyl. Avoid stretching the vinyl when possible.  It is best to work from back to front. This will conceal the seams better. I hope I used off the shelf snaps secured by # 6 x ¾” long wood screws. Any upholstery shop can cover the snap covers with your excess material. I hope this helps. If anyone has questions P.M. me and I’ll try to answer them. Keep in mind I do not know if this is the proper way but it works for me!!LOL





 




I didn't have a book, just asked questions. I will try to explain as best I can. I first covered all the walls in the bus up to the radius with 3/8" cabinet grade plywood. I used liquid nails behind and countersunk self tapping screws.
     I covered from the floor up to the rad. first as shown in the drawing below. I used a lapp joint on everything. I next used 1/8” Masonite for the rad. The first pc. Tucks behind the wall lap joint. Use 4’ long pieces. Third I lapped the ceiling over the 1/8” Masonite. Finally the last1/8” Masonite. Cut it tight, put liquid nails behind and it will be there forever. On the top pc. Of Masonite make sure you stagger the joints. I then filled all cracks holes etc. with bondo. You can use liquid nails with a putty knife also.

 


Next I covered the walls and ceiling with ½” foam. The correct material will have a cloth covering on one side. It comes 72” wide, vinyl comes 60. There is a reason for this which I will explain later. I went floor to floor. Any seams in this will show thru. Unless you are very careful. I made a tripod to hold the material close to the ceiling in the middle. See below. I used a spray gun with weldwood landau top and trim glue. Starting on one side spray an even coat on the ceiling and back of foam. Wait until tacky and smooth to ceiling starting in the middle. DO NOT PUSH INTO THE FOAM! It will sink into the glue. This will show up in the finished product. I put up one pc. then vinyl behind.


 

Now is where the width of the foam and vinyl comes in. Use the same procedure and put up the first pc. of vinyl. It will cover 12” less. Trim off the extra foam. Peel the vinyl back and trim 1-1/2” more of the foam off. Glue the foam back. It should now be flat against the ceiling  for the last 1-1/2”.  I then made a lap joint for the next pc. of vinyl as shown below. Let the vinyl hang until you put up the next pc. of foam. After the next pc. of foam is up use the same method to put up the vinyl. Avoid stretching the vinyl when possible.  It is best to work from back to front. This will conceal the seams better. I hope I used off the shelf snaps secured by # 6 x ¾” long wood screws. Any upholstery shop can cover the snap covers with your excess material. I hope this helps. If anyone has questions P.M. me and I’ll try to answer them. Keep in mind I do not know if this is the proper way but it works for me!!LOL





 









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« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2010, 09:27:41 AM »

Sorry about the pics. I tried to load autocad exports, but it wouldn't work. If anybody knows how let me know.
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« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2010, 11:24:21 AM »

The Depot should have it.
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« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2010, 05:06:58 AM »

Eric,

Thanks for the explanation. That helped a lot. I haven't digested all of that info, but when I do, I am sure I will have more questions.

You mentioned that you had pics, or drawings or something. I will PM you my email addy, so you can send me the files, if you want.

You have been a HUGE help to this process!!!

God bless,

John
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