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Technical Hokey Ass my own seat frame?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SDS, Oct 6, 2021.

  1. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 419


    Anybody ever build your own seat frame (I'm doing a 32 Ford Roadster)?
    $1600 (includes foam) + shipping seems mad for something I can make in a day or so for around $200. 16 gauge 1" square tubing is cheap and I found upholstery springs sold in a 10' coil on Amazon for $23. it's all going to get covered, so it doesn't have to be beautiful - just symmetrical and square. I've been studying photos of Glide and Wise-guys seat frames as well as old S10 bench seat frames and keep thinking...
    How difficult can this be to make?

    Found this article on modifying an S10 seat;

    As I cant find an S10 bench seat to save my life, maybe use this a good base to modify:

    I'm also 6'6" tall, so maybe making my own would allow me to tailor it to fit?
    Tman, Happydaze, scotty t and 2 others like this.
  2. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 3,686

    Flathead Dave
    from So. Cal.

    Go for it. I'm sure it'll come out great.
    Cosmo49 and alanp561 like this.
  3. Packrat
    Joined: Aug 25, 2005
    Posts: 537


    I'm interested in the results. I was considering doing the same thing for the 29 A pickup I bought. It's a little tight.
  4. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 419


    Thanks for the vote of confidence - I used to make custom furniture and sell to LA furniture stores wholesale when I lived in Huntington beach. I think I got this.
    I'm still going to a few more junkyards in search of an S10 bench seat, but they are pretty scarce.

    Anyone have a bare Glide or Wise-guys (or other brand) of low-pro seat frame they could measure and give me some dimensions so I can CAD it out in SolidWorks before I start whacking away at steel tubing?
    Tman and dana barlow like this.

  5. nickleone
    Joined: Jun 14, 2007
    Posts: 373


    If you are looking for a bench seat try 3rd row Doge caravan seats.
  6. Dino 64
    Joined: Jul 13, 2012
    Posts: 2,270

    Dino 64
    from Virginia

    Caravan 2nd row seat in my 31 coupe. Full disclosure, not really comfortable. Switching to buckets. CFFD9935-4A05-4EE5-BB25-DAC41B907D6E.jpeg
    patmanta, AVater, loudbang and 2 others like this.
  7. Kevin Pharis
    Joined: Aug 22, 2020
    Posts: 305

    Kevin Pharis

    I made a seat frame from EMT conduit and rubber diaphragms from a 60’s MG or Jag. Take a quick look at the seat parts in the Moss Motors catalog and you’ll forget all about putting coil or wavy springs in the seats...
    Tman, loudbang and Barrelnose pickup like this.
  8. In a roadster I would make a ply base with two bum holes in it, put webbing over these. This sits on the riser. Make a back out of ply also. Let the trimmer shape the foam, use a couple of densities etc. to get the right feel. Roadster seats are fixed.

    Also, make sure there is a lumbar roll incorporated, flat seat backs are no good.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
    Tman, olscrounger and alanp561 like this.
  9. thefabulousnip
    Joined: Sep 8, 2021
    Posts: 8


    I helped my dad build a seat for his model A truck. I got aluminum hinges from a boat seat, made a plywood base and backrest and then used the foam from what I think was an early 90s Ford Escort rear seat. Then it was covered with an old wool blanket. Pretty comfortable, and it looked the part in an old work truck
  10. Square tube frame. Radius the ends. Attach a wood strip along the inside. Use that to attach the trampoline material. That works as your seat springs. Carve some foam to fit your butt and back You can glue different density foams to fit your comfort level. Some generic sliders on the bottom.
    fun fun
  11. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 419


    OK, thanks...I will look for one at the salvage yard tomorrow.
    Does that fit as good or better than an S10 bench?
    Any idea what year to look for?
  12. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 419


    Plywood will cost more than steel tubing these days :D
  13. junkman8888
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 848


    You might also take a look at squarebody Ranger pickups or squarebody Dakota pickups, starting with an existing seat frame can save a lot of time.and effort.
    Having said that; as tall as you are I don't think it's possible to build a seat that will be comfortable and still allow you to fit in a '32 roadster. Best of luck with your project.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
  14. Have you checked the price of steel lately? It has skyrocketed.
  15. It's possible. You have to be careful with wheel and pedal placement. Ergonomics.

    Also, don't fill the space with furniture.

    For the seat back, you need lumbar support, but at the very top, where the seat meets the body, that only needs to be an inch thick if you're super lanky. That will afford arm room to the wheel. And get the wheel well out from the dash. There's no need to be hugging forward to steer.

    Mock, mock, mock. I say it all the time, but it's true.
  16. 03GMCSonoma
    Joined: Jan 15, 2011
    Posts: 293


  17. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 31,069


    Actually it is second row, Second row is a two butt seat third row is a 3 butt seat but most of the Caravan seats don't fold . The 91 Grand Caravan that we had for several years had a middle seat that sat pretty good though.

    There is some info in this thread from 2003 that you might find interesting and helpful with measurements The thread was from before my time and I ended up finding it by doing an S-10 seat width hunt. Junkyard seat dimensions | The H.A.M.B. (
    loudbang likes this.
  18. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 31,069


    I've got an engine sitting on one of those shopping cart frames like they used in that article. Or at least the bottom of it. Gifted to me by Ron Moore a few years ago.
    Bucket seats aren't always that narrow and finding a pair that fit in a Model A coupe right might be harder than finding a bench. I've got a late 80's early 90's T bird seat out in the trailer that is buckets with a console on a bench seat frame that could probably be narrowed but I don't think the lean backs look right for an early car. I've got the third seat out of a 90's Suburban out in the back of the van but never measured it. I was going to use it for the back seat of my 31 Vic if it fit as the lean back laid flat and had carpet on the back making for a great place to put luggage on a road trip.
    It's 1900 miles give or take a hundred or so from New England to Austin for roundup. you want a seat that you can do some serous road miles in and still walk when you get out of the car. I've got a bench seat in my 48 that looks like I let my wife pick the fabric for the seat (stock mopar seat) That frigging seat beat the crap out of me after about 200 miles and when I drove to Bonneville and then Pleasanton and then back home in a big triangle it took a week to recover. Think 3500 miles on a church pew.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2021
    03GMCSonoma likes this.
  19. If it’s just the base , I used a Hilux bench seat and just sectioned it through the middle
    to give me 2” of clearance each side at the base.
    Added some tube up the sides as the back was narrower.
    Then removed all the base springs and made a tin insert which I cut several 2” holes in,
    It sat very low with a nice front to back curve ,foamed it then had it upholstered.Solid base,sprung back section.
  20. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,456

    Ned Ludd

    I haven't done it, but I did do some fairly detailed speculation here:

    Someone mentioned bucket seats. Coming out of the Morris Minor world, I've heard that new Fiat 500 seats are quite compact, fitting comfortably in a Minor. They've got a round-shouldered retro look which could probably be made more convincing by reupholstering them.
  21. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 4,272


    We cut down a mid 80s Gm bench seat to fit a 36 Buick coupe.. easy as pie. , re used the original upholstery..
  22. SEAAIRE354
    Joined: Sep 7, 2015
    Posts: 430


    I’ve never done it but I’ve heard guys using the low back Jeep CJ buckets.
  23. Anderson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2003
    Posts: 6,837


    Had a caravan third row seat in a 32 roadster and it was the most uncomfortable thing in the world, no matter how I tried to angle it.

    I made a seat frame for a T roadster from round tubing, plywood, and that elastic material in the center and it was great. Be very picky on foam thickness and density. My upholstery guy used some stuff that was entirely too stiff and the seat barely moved when you sat on it. Had to replace the foam in the bottom and in the end, removed all the foam from the seat back of and stretched the material (which had a 1/4” foam backing sewn in) directly over the piece of wood.

    My experience with aftermarket seats is that other than prohibitive cost, they are also not shaped well to fit a traditional interior unless you do a lot of foam work to them and to the interior panels. Having an original, or making one from scratch is the way to go.
    Lone Star Mopar and Tman like this.
  24. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 419


    I had a 32-3 window body with a 3-inch chop on this same chassis almost 20 years ago... I had a Glide seat in it and I fit in it fine. The Bengel unit for a 32 roadster has a thinner back (and way cheaper) - if I have to buy one I'll go with that one.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2021
  25. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 419


    Solid advice, thanks!
  26. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 419


    So, I toured three boneyards today and hit paid art at one. Scored a very nice 1985 S10 bench seat (That's like finding a needle and haystack). It came from a county snow plow truck. The upholstery is actually close to usable - The dimensions are almost spot on matching the dimensions that Glide lists and cross-referenced well with the dimensions I took with a tape measure off of the body. For $65 it's totally worth a try, Even if I have to do some modifications to get it to fit right.
    I found factory style reupholstery covers, but right now there's a worldwide shortage on those and it's 9 months lead time minimum.

    I will send more photos when I have the seat in the car

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2021

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