How To Make A Custom Hand Tooled Leather Seat


Adam Croft from Last Ride Leather ( out of Bloomington, Illinois checks in with a great article about how to make a hand tooled leather seat.  You’re definitely going to want to check this out. I’ll let Adam take over from here.

For anyone who has wonder how a hand-tooled leather seat is made, I am going to show you the steps.  My name is Adam Croft from Last Ride Leather.  I build custom seats for bike builders across America. This seat is for Billy Lane at Choppers Inc, the bike he is building is called “The Nasty”

Step 1
I will drill the holes around the edge of the seat pan for the rivets and then paint the pan.

Step 2

I use vehicle door trim that you can pickup at any car shop to put around the edge of the pan.  This will prevent the pan from cutting the Leather.

Step 3

I use a 1/2 rubber neoprene foam that I get from a local plumbing store.  It usually comes in 72″x48″ sheets.  I use spray glue and I will cut it in strips and stack them one after the other.

Step 4

I use a drywall shaver to smooth out the foam.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT if you want a nice seat.  Take your time and make sure it is perfect before you go any further.

Step 5

After the foam is shaved Perfect, then you can make a top piece pattern out of poster board.

Step 6
Then use pattern on the back side of the leather.  I usually use 7-8 oz cowhide leather for the tooling leather.  I get most of my leather tools and supplies from Tandy Leather shops.

Step 7

Make sure you measure the lacing holes out even.  I will then use a Leather hole puncher to complete the lacing holes.

Step 8

I use a swivel knife to carve the lines that will be hand-tooled.

Step 9

I then hand-tool around the edges of the artwork.

Step 10

After tooling is all completed.  I will use rabbit fur to apply the dye.  I will put 3 to 4 coats of medium brown dye.  Make sure you use rubber gloves to do this, or it will look like you wipe your butt with your hand for a few days. Thats not cool

Step 11

I like to use the thicker 1/8 lace.  This takes forever to do, but it turns out badass.

Step 12

Then use spray glue on the seat and put the leather onto the seat. The rivet the side pieces of leather to the back of the seat pan.

Step 13

And this will be your finished product. I will use Feiblings aussie conditioner on the leather to give it a rich look.

I would like to Thank Paul Cox for putting his step by step “how to make a seat” in The Horse Mag couple years back.  This article got me off my ass and tooling leather. I would also like to thank Billy Lane and Jennifer Schnieder from Choppers Inc.

You can view my website at

Many thanks to Adam for providing this great tutorial.

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