Making A Cafe Racer Seat

I fiddled with the tailpiece in the past, but in the end, it just didn’t fit right, so I went ahead and made one from scratch. This is not a super complicated process, just time consuming. Also it’s dirty. And not the fun kind.

I started off by cutting out some cardboard to fill in the gap of the subframe. This should add some support for when we lay the glass down the road.

Next I laid up a bunch of floral foam blocks where the tail piece would be. I glued these together with spray adhesive… which only barely works as this stuff is too dusty. I Also made a cardboard stencil of the shape of the tailpiece.

Then you can just start carving the shape with a knife. The floral foam is really easy to slice.

Once I get it down to the right shape, I go back with a razor and smooth the thing down real nice and sexy. This was actually Kate’s idea.

When you’re done, you should have a nice looking tail shape. Don’t pay any attention to the junk all over the place. We just moved into this house and the garage became the place everything got dumped until we find it’s new home (which will most likely be the trash can).

So now that you’ve inhaled a few pounds of green dust particles it’s time to bring out the big guns and get to the toxic fumes.

Take some of that aluminum duct tape and cover the area to be fiberglassed. That means the subframe from side to side (across the gap that you cardboarded over) and the newly fashioned bum stop. You’re going to want to use smaller strips for the round part of the tail so it will lay flatter. Once it all looks like a baked potato, use car wax to slick up the surface. This will act as a releasing agent (sorta).

This next part is best done with two people. Skyler was kind enough to give me a hand. Pre-cut your fiberglass into strips. You don’t want to lay giant pieces down as it won’t lay completely flat. Prepare a cup of acetone and your fiberglass resin. Using a paintbrush, apply the resin to the aluminum tape in one area and then lay a strip of fiberglass on top. Then use the paintbrush to push it down flat and soak more resin in.

Once you’ve covered the whole thing, you can use fiberglass cloth (it’s more smooth and delicious than the chop stuff) as a final layer to smooth it all out. Alternatively, you could probably just build the whole thing out of this, but I haven’t tried that.

After this I leave it to dry, and usually don’t touch it for at least 24 hours.

As you can see, it has some imperfections. But these will be sanded/bondo’d/cursed out.

So that’s where I’m at RIGHT NOW. I’ll update this post when I get in there and trim it, etc…

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Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 BMW Cafe Racer

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