Time for another tear.

This area of the leather is badly worn, so it’s a great spot to demonstrate.

I’m going to make this kind of a gnarly one,

and I’m going to cut away a little extra, make it a bigger,

a more substantial hole that needs to be fixed.

Before we start, No electrical appliances will be used in this method. But just a quick reminder,
When on a boat, you should not ignore the safety of handling power tools, according to Safetyhub.

How to Repair a Boat Seat

Cutting the sub-patch

First step: cut yourself sub patch.

I’ve got my Levi patch here and need to make it bigger than the hole.

I’ll start from this piece actually, just chop off a piece.

This fold can make it more difficult to work with sometimes, but I’m not worried about it.

Round the edges for easier insertion.

how to fix boat seat 1

how to fix boat seat 1

Inserting the sub-patch

Grab some tweezers. Work it in.

This is an easy hole to work with because it’s so big.

how to fix boat seat 2

Inserting the sub-patch

Sometimes, you know, you have to take a lot more time to work it into a thinner tear or

a smaller hole. And then come around, and make sure that it’s seated

completely flat all around the perimeter before gluing it down.

how to fix boat seat 3

Inserting the sub-patch

Gluing the sub-patch

I’m going to be using 3M’s Plastic and Emblem Adhesive,

but you could probably have an easier time finding LocTite’s Vinyl, Fabric,

and Plastic adhesive at most hardware stores.

That adhesive is runnier, a little more difficult to work with

than the 3M® that I’m using, and what I recommend

in that instance is to you get yourself a piece of cardboard, or you know,

something to work with, and put a blob on there for easy working, and grab yourself a needle or a toothpick.

This is such a big tear, I could even work with a palette knife, and apply the glue around the perimeter of the leather and tack it down to this patch.

The key always, remember to use a flexible glue, not a rigid glue like super glue.

how to fix boat seat 4

Gluing the sub-patch

We need this to be flexible and move over the substrate independently.

Alright, so I’m pretty happy about that.

Gently press it down, and then if you want you can even use a hairdryer to help tack up the glue. Pull it up a little bit. You can even just blow in there.

It doesn’t take much. And then I get on it lickety-split with a board or a book and give it some firm pressure.

You want to let the glue completely dry and cure before proceeding with your repair.

So I’m going to do that walk away for a few minutes.

Cleaning excess glue and readying the surface for repair compound

how to fix boat seat 5

Cleaning excess glue and readying the surface for repair compound

So when you’re glue is dry, you want to clean your surface before doing a repair compound, and if you

didn’t get any excess glue around the perimeter you can work with just water-based cleaner like the Flite® that we sell or 409®.

If you got a little messy with the glue or you feel like you need to de-wax

the leather a little bit, you can work with a solvent like denatured alcohol.

I’m working with lacquer thinner, but denatured alcohol is what we recommend.

Just a quick swipe; get off any ArmorAll®, any slime.

Allow it to evaporate. Try not to huff the rag when you’re done.

Applying the leather filler, spreading, and feathering

how to fix boat seat 6

Applying the leather filler, spreading, and feathering

For a really large tear like this that

requires flexibility you want a repair compound, not the “Sandpaper Super Glue” method

that we’ve demonstrated in other posts, which is more rigid and only

suited to more superficial damage like thin lines or cracks and cat-scratch damage.

So we like ADV Leather’s FC1 Soft Filler,

because it is really strong and flexible, it sands nicely,

it’s non-toxic, water-based… what else?

Its feathers and blends nicely.

You’ll see that it’s this creamy goo. Throw a blob in there.

Work it into these edges, the perimeter of the tear, in case you missed

any spots with your glue. The compound will sort of act also as an adhesive.

And close this up immediately; it does tend to cure, air cure, very quickly.

You don’t want it to spoil.

And I like to work with a glossy business card for spreading,

and just do one swipe in the direction of the tear.

You’re not going to get it perfect the first time.

I’ve got some little craters of the moon up there. That’s okay.

I’m going to feather out these edges just along the perimeter.

You could also sand them out later, but this compound feathers beautifully.

And allow to air cure. This is going to take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.

The dry time and how to tell when the filler has cured

The dry time and how to tell when the filler has cured

It can be accelerated with an incandescent bulb. You could also use a

hairdryer if you wanted to, but you want to be sure to hold it so that the air is

blowing across it rather than pointing inward, because that will push

any moisture into the repair and it will tend to shrink over time, so I go with

the incandescent bulb or good old sunshine.

So when the compound is clear, has become more translucent, and when you sort of press on it, doesn’t feel squishy at all,

it feels solid, that means it’s cured, and you’re ready to proceed with either more layers or dyeing.

This took longer to cure that I thought it would. It’s a cold winter’s day here

in our studio and even with a light bulb on it,

it took about three or four hours, so if in doubt, just walk away, come back.

Sanding

how to fix boat seat 10

Sanding

So it does feel, I’ve got a little ridge here that you can’t see, but I can

feel a little unevenness, and then to save myself trouble later, I’m actually

going to start sanding here, and I’ve got some 220 wet-or-dry.

I’m just going to cut myself… I like to cut these in half and then fold them

into thirds to make them easier to work with.

So I’ve done a quick sanding just to take off the little pimples and kind of takedown this ridge that I can feel. And just wiped it, wiped the dust off with a damp rag.

Additional layers of filler repair compound

I’m going to add now more filler.

I’m coming over more of this edge to deal with this ridge.

how to fix boat seat 11

Additional layers of filler repair compound

So I’ve done a couple more passes just to get a good fill, and now I’m ready to sort of feather out into these areas that need just a little bit of minor

fill and also texturizing. So I’m going to do one more quick round of sanding,

rough it up, get off any little pimples, smooth it out.

Wipe it with a damp rag.

Let it dry.

Make sure it’s not–if you do use a hair dryer–don’t make it too hot before applying more compound.

I’m going to get pretty aggressive here and just go big, up into these little regions.

The vast majority of it I will remove with my business card and sort of feather out.

Texturizing and final sanding

That’s a nice spread, but then to keep… you get these little lines in there

from the card or just, you know, it will be too smooth if you don’t texturize it.

And I love to work with just a food handlers’ glove and sort of embossing the compound.

And where you’ve got it on thicker, you’ll see that it’s a little more pronounced.

Just kind of rework that.

You can always sand it down later.

And allow curing.

how to fix boat seat 12

Texturizing and final sanding

Alright, so this dried very quickly with a lamp, maybe 10 minutes.

And this feels great. It’s a little rough, so I’m going to do a little sanding.

I’m going to start with some 500 wet-or-dry.

You don’t want to sand off all the texture you put on there, just to get off the rough spots.

It still feels a little rough over here.

This could probably use a second pass,

but for this post, I’m just going to quickly demonstrate just to see what it looks like when you dye it up.

Recoloring the repaired area

how to fix boat seat 13

Recoloring the repaired area

Even if it feels great, you dye it, and sometimes it doesn’t necessarily look great.

So we’re going to color change to rust using our Rub ‘n Restore®.

I’ve got myself a damp sponge, slopping it on.

So if you want to go back later and rework your repair, you certainly can do that.

You can let the dye dry and then remove some of it with some 409® or

Flite® cleaner and a rag. You don’t have to strip it all out, just get, like you

know, whatever comes off easily. Remove that, let it dry, and rework your repair.

The proof in the pudding is how… is what it looks like when dyed.

I’m going to dry this.

You can see the area where I hacked open looks great, and it feels great too.

It’s really strong, thanks to the sub-patch.

This area still looks kind of rough and scaly.

I might do a little more sanding and do another pass of a compound and texturize

again, keep reworking it if I’m picky, but this is a radical improvement.

Before
how to fix boat seat 14

After
how to fix boat seat 15

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