Trying to save a old Brooks B72 saddle

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us56456712

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They don’t make B72s anymore. People want them for klunkers as it’s what was used back then. Almost all that you can find are in bad shape or if they look good they are so dried out the nose rivets will shortly break away from the leather. I found this one for $30, it’s pretty bad but better than most. The first thing I did was place it in a mop bucket with a gallon of pink RV antifreez completely covering it to soften the leather up. Pink RV fluid contains alcohol, glycerin, a leather conditioner, and polypropylene glycol, a wax and leather conditioner. I occasionally swished the saddle around until it got softer but quit before it got covered with slime. I then gave it a gentle rub with a soft sponge and saddle soap, which contains glycerin. I then swished it in the RV antifreeze. The antifreeze was dirty so some cleaning was done. I then let it dry and rubbed into the top leather two thin layers of marine grade flexible epoxy. I use this flexible epoxy to hold on new fiberglass handles to my splitting maul head as it won’t crack with shock. After it dries I will soak it for a few days in more antifreeze with additional glycerin added. Then dry it and wax it. I hope this keeps the top leather finish from further peeling off and that the cracks in the leather become stabilized. We’ll see.
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Dirty antifreeze after washing the saddle.
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Saddle with flexible epoxy rubbed in.
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us56456712

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wow, that's quite a process. Interesting.
We’ll see how it works. So far it’s flexible, the rough flaking leather seems bonded, the cracks are filled and the one nose rivet that was letting go is glued back. Tomorrow I’ll put it into a glycerine and polypropylene glycol bath for a few days. Then Snow Seal, then wax water proofing on the underside. It will likely be stiffer than it was originally, but still conform to your butt, I hope.
 
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I have also made a buck and molded a new one even cooked it in my bbq .
You have to stretch them on as well .
Brooks process is out there on line if you look for it.
They use the same steam powered machine to stretch them that they used in the early 1900s

More trouble than its worth but Brooks won't sell you a new top.
 

us56456712

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I spray foam the inside take a peice of leather and wet mold it shape it then rivit it on the old frame next one of do I'll post it
I do similar. I make a mold using a plastic storage container and drywall mud and let the saddle set up in there, doesn’t take long for it to set up enough that you can easily remove it and the form stays. It takes a few days to fully cure. I compress the thick wet leather into it using a cement or drywall buck for the inside . It takes quite awhile for the leather to dry. I compress the buck into the mold with large wooden woodworking clamps. I’ve put logos into the wet leather by squeezing it into a mold. The letters were plastic kids toys, my logo said “ACME”, which we all know is a brand you can trust, just ask the roadrunner.
 

us56456712

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I actually just did something similar with a Schwinn see here https://ratrodbikes.com/forum/threads/winter-corvette-build.115158/
Here is a waterproof vinyl covered seat I redid years ago for my daughter using a plaster mold and buck. I’ve tried stretchable marine vinyl but that doesn’t work as well for me as the regular marine vinyl. The only wrinkle is the one shown. I can never get them 100% wrinkle free but I get less with the buck and mold. You have to take it out, stretch and put it back several times. It works better with thick wet vegetable tanned leather.
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ingola

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Here is a waterproof vinyl covered seat I redid years ago for my daughter using a plaster mold and buck. I’ve tried stretchable marine vinyl but that doesn’t work as well for me as the regular marine vinyl. The only wrinkle is the one shown. I can never get them 100% wrinkle free but I get less with the buck and mold. You have to take it out, stretch and put it back several times. It works better with thick wet vegetable tanned leather.View attachment 184406
Ive actually tried it with vinyl. Worked really well and probably less care than leather
 

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I’m really pleased with the result so far. It’s out of the two day glycerine bath, dried and it’s flexible. The crumbling top leather is stabilized, the rivets are secured with the spaces and cracks around them filled with flexible marine epoxy and the light colored leather from the top peeling has darkened to match. it’s as flexible as perfectly broken in saddle. The bottom is still a little dry so I’m going to rub in Snow Seal. I probably won’t wax harden it but I’ll have to wait and see how it is once the Snow Seal has been worked in. The shiny leather probably can’t be sanded to dull it up as my experience with flexible epoxy causes it to ball up and kind of smear with sanding. I might try to dull it with light sanding,
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