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Technical Leather or vinyl

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by leroux, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. leroux
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 308

    from SoCAl

    Leather or vinyl on a 30 coupe...original bench seat, simple tuck pattern..but can decide....
    Also think $900 is high for basic leather when I am supplying the spring rebuild kit?

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  2. harleycontracter
    Joined: Aug 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,807


    I used a low grade leather and worked out well

    Attached Files:

  3. bgaro
    Joined: Sep 3, 2010
    Posts: 1,189


    you'll have to shop around, premium vinyl will cost you as much as leather.
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  4. When I was pricing upholstery for the wagon I realized quick that leather was out of the question,I found a vinyl called Pleather which has the feel and look of leather and 1/3rd the price.

    It worked for me. HRP
  5. B Ramsey
    Joined: Mar 29, 2009
    Posts: 618

    B Ramsey

    vinyl. and a baseball glove under the seat- learned that here.
  6. duke460
    Joined: Jan 7, 2009
    Posts: 192

    from Wisconsin

    Leather and good vinyl can be close to the same price. With leather the person sewing needs to lay out the seat parts based on the hide thickness. Legs are thin, back is thicker, not hard but more work to use the whole hide. If working in basic black I have used leather for the seating surfaces and Pleather ( good imitation) for the sides and door panels.
  7. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,994

    Rusty O'Toole

    Leather is expensive and it does not forgive mistakes. Once you sew a piece of leather it better be perfect, because once it is perforated you can't rip out the stitches and do it again.

    So a lot of upholsterers don't like working with leather. Be sure you get someone who knows what he is doing.
  8. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 5,728

    scrap metal 48

    Model A's deserve vinyl...
  9. trollst
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 1,586


    Go find an old leather couch, strip it, get your trimmer guy to use it.
  10. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,723


    Leather in the '35 phaeton because I had the tanned hides. Broadcloth in the '46 sedanette because I want OEM interior. I had vinyl in my '66 Fairlane convertible. Happy with them all.
  11. 56premiere
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,445

    from oregon

    My choice is vinyl. Leather is much more labor intense to do right. You must cut everything from the right sections, leave out the scars and blemishes. Parts of the hide stretch much more, mistakes get costly and have to be taken into consideration. I charge 11/2 times the labor of vinyl. Also you must purchase more than you need because there is waste. Good luck Jack
  12. If the question is which is cheaper and easier, you have your answer. You know what you want.......
    One advantage of leather is how it ages. In a vintage car, the leather ages gracefully like the car itself.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  13. Marine grade vinyl.
  14. rebelrun
    Joined: Jan 26, 2013
    Posts: 79

    from deep south

    I am running leather in my 31 coupe. I was lucky enough to find a 62 sq ft hide for sale. I covered my seats, made a shift boot and the entire roof insert out of it and still have some to spare. The hide ran me far less than what a good looking vinyl would have. You just need to do what is going to look good and keep you happy for years to come. If you are doing it yourself, then splurge and go leather. It makes a big difference, but thats just my opinion.
  15. Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    Joined: Oct 21, 2012
    Posts: 480

    Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    from Outside

    vynil lasts longer if you get the good stuff, not that cheap-o thin crap that most people use but the heavy guage industrial marine type. Everything else sucks in comparison.
  16. 28TUDOR
    Joined: Jan 25, 2007
    Posts: 419


  17. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,351

    from Colorado

    This leather that got wet, shrunk and was ratty looking. Replaced it with a vinyl that wears bester, looks better and is easy to maintain. Like others have posted, good vinyl is not cheap.

    Attached Files:

  18. leroux
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 308

    from SoCAl

    Ya I'm going vinyl...thanks

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  19. BarryA
    Joined: Apr 22, 2007
    Posts: 643


    I'd like to hear any downsides to this - I have a complete lounge suite in red leather, some parts are nicely worn (seats, armrests) others are pretty pristine. Plenty of yardage and I'd like to do the seat and door panels in my avatar truck and my roadster, but would like to know what issues I might run into using it...?
  20. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,351

    from Colorado

    Look at post #18.....this was high dollar leather from an interior decorator and the quality of the work was excellent. However, I learned too late that there is a difference between leather for couches and leather for cars.
  21. GregCon
    Joined: Jun 18, 2012
    Posts: 689

    from Houston

    For a long time I planned my interior around leather. When I visited the upholstery guy, he talked me into using vinyl that was similar to leather. I normally don't listen to anyone when it comes to my cars but he said it would last longer and I like things
    that last.

    So we picked out a high quality vinyl and the seats look good. It's also the choice I regret the most on the whole car. Why? Leather just looks better, feels better, and it's the real thing. Most of all, the vinyl is much more 'grabby' so you can't slide your ass around at all - you have to do a lot of lifting and arranging of your clothes before you are in a driving position. I wish I had trusted my own instincts. Lesson learned.
  22. Marine vinyl; meant to get wet, for marine use. If you expect moisture, go vinyl.
    To oversimplify, think of leather like you'd think of wood. A living, breathing structure. Wood needs a coating or protectant to keep it from accepting moisture. Same with leather. They both absorb moisture, oils, etc.
    Waxing leather helps to seal it so water beads up on it. But still, that would be like water sprayed on it, but wiped up quickly.
    Leather really should not be exposed to moisture unless it is something like a saddle which is oiled and waxed to prevent moisture from soaking in to its structure.
    The leather in Dennis photo will never recover unless it is oiled and waxed and then will always have a distressed natural look. It gets age and patina and I mean patina in the real sense.
    Some upholstery leathers actually are vat dyed so the color absorbs completely through and others have only a surface finish.
    No point to be made here, just some info.
  23. BarryA
    Joined: Apr 22, 2007
    Posts: 643


    Thanks Dennis - part of the appeal to me is that the most of the leather has a lived in look about it already (also that it is free and my upholstery guy's rates are keen enough that I won't cry if I have to redo it in a year or two:D).
    I get that it takes a lot more care and maintenance than vinyl and also not the best idea for an open car which is inevitably going to get wet at some point. Point taken. I will still mull it over for the truck....
  24. plywude
    Joined: Nov 3, 2008
    Posts: 700

    Member Emeritus
    from manteca ca

    Before you buy vinyl check out Veterans Upholstery in LA 800 523-2059 I've bought hides from them at GOOD prices plus they have Partners which is vinyl that matches the leather so you can use leather on your seat and back rest but use Partners on the rest...............2
  25. Hate to sound like a dumb ass, but explain the baseball glove under the seat please.
  26. Gives you that leather 'smell'....
  27. Christom
    Joined: Nov 3, 2011
    Posts: 217


    Upholstery and exhaust were the only 2 jobs I outsourced on the whole car - I know my limits and tuck 'n roll is beyond me! I considered leather either new hide or reused old couch for the patina but in the end a good quality fine grain vinyl was the best choice. I had a very good and well respected trimmer do the interior of the car as I don't have the gear or knowledge to do upholstery work myself. I listened to his advice as this man has done a heap of top-end jobs - leather, cloth and vinyl.
    The vinyl was cheaper, easier to work (keeps labour costs down) and sits better long-term while being harder wearing. I own a late model Range Rover SC with real top-end leather and man you DO have to look after it properly. I want a "just get in & drive" no-fuss interior for the hot rod. I'm real pleased with the interior work done and the seat and doors even feel nice to the touch. It's a good quality vinyl and I think that is a big part of it. JMO though....:)
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  28. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,743

    from Hampsha

    X2: I used Sunbrella, good matl for exposure to UV, often seen in some well finished party boats.
  29. Thanks, learn something everyday here.

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