Custom Softail Bagger

Puzzled

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Looks good. So is the final decision to leave it black or are you going to go CF and match the bags?
 

HarleyCruiser

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Sorry that it has taken so long get back, the weather has been nice been riding instead of working on the bike.
I’ve been using the tour pack and have to say it is very handy, I very seldom use the saddlebags.
I still have not made a final decision on the paint, I’ve been playing around with a couple of colors and still not sure if I am going to go carbon fiber or paint everything.
I picked up my new color, metallic charcoal; I’m going to start on my front fender to test the color out.
This fender was a project, been maybe six seven years ago, here is how it started out, an eBay banged up special.



I straightened up the front and added the tail from a rear fender.





Then added a ridge up the back to match the rear fender.

I ran it for several years and I banged it up pretty bad when I hit a deer a couple of years ago and started to repainted it, as you can see the paint is not perfect, then bumped my gate before the paint was done about a year ago and have been ignoring it. So now is the time to redo it.





Grind off the cracked paint and filler.



Hammer and dolly to get it straight, it had spread some so you just pull it in by laying it flat and pushing down on it.



I need another sanding block.



New body filler on all the damaged areas.



Then sand it smooth.

 

HarleyCruiser

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Too many photos :)

Prime it with the high build primer.



And then you start your final wet sanding, here with 320 wet. There are a few real small spots that need the finish filler another sanding and spot shot with primer in my air brush, then ready for paint.
 
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HarleyCruiser

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I trying out another color, metallic charcoal. The paint turned out really nice, I love the color, and I am thinking of going two tone. I think the second color will be a metallic black.
A couple of quick.





I’m thinking of a different style wheel, not sure what I want yet, something in a 19 or 21, nothing too tall.

Here is the second color, it is a lot blacker but still has the flake.

 
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HarleyCruiser

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A quick update, I haven’t had a lot of time to work on the bike, it’s been too hot, too cold, and you know all the excuses.
Maybe posting in here will give me some motivation to get back to work on it.
I was able to get the tour pack painted, love the color carbon flash. It looks black until the sun hits it.





It is a real rich color, rich meaning not normal black. It has several colors to make up the black instead of just a black pigment. Then it has black and silver metal flakes to give it the metallic look.
A big difference from the vivid black Harley paint.





The tour pack is very comfortable for my wife and really handy, much handier than I ever expected.
The paint has been rubbed out since then but not done a lot on it since. I still haven’t figured out the final finish. The tour pack came loose on a real bumpy dirt road and has some road rash and a small chip so I am seriously thinking of covering it with the Carbon fiber to reinforce it. I think a CF and part paint would look cool, but cannot come up with a pattern that grabs me, maybe I am thinking too much. I also need a better way to lock the pack to the bike LOL. I also picked up a 21” front mag and tire for the front, I am still working on that, raising up the fender and all that involved, also going to the black and deep cut aluminum on the front forks and accent pieces. So going for a little different look instead of all the chrome.
 
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HarleyCruiser

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Dan, I have more done than I have posted, I never seem to have enough time.
Ok, trying to figure out where I am at, guess I’m ready for the seat and back rest cover that is part of this project.
This was written some time back so bear with me if I get redundant.
Time for the upholstery work, I went and had the upholstery work priced, two hundred seventy five for the seat and one seventy five for the back rest, 450 total. This gal is supposed to be really good, and in all honesty about what I figured it would cost. This is for a real simple double stich black Naughide, cover. The Corbin fiberglass pan is kind of a pain because you have to rivet the cover on, the back pad will be attached with snaps. This is very tempting but I have decided to do it myself.
I had mentioned before that I had bought a Corbin seat and a pad off of a FLH and going to combined them. I like the Corbin pan because it is fiberglass and the FLH seat is so comfortable.
I converted a FLH pad on one of my old seats and it is all Mrs Cruiser will ride on for any real road trip and I don’t blame her.
I needed to cut the pan down a little for the FLH pad to fit right.



Because the FLH seat pad is much wider than the Corbin I need to widen it an inch on both sides.
The Corbin pan is fiberglass, this is one nice thing about them and the reason that I wanted to start with their pan.



Without support the pad sags and does not give you the full value of the wide pad.

Leave the drivers back rest, cut it off, leave the drivers back rest, cut it off.



Cut it off, don’t need it, It would just crowd the Mrs.



The bracket was metal must have, weighed a couple of pounds.



And here is where we are at. Both seats are very comfortable, I have carried the seat over to the bike and sat on it at least twenty times then making minor adjustments.
I need to glue the FLH pad to the Corbin pad/pan, will do some final grinding and fitting.
I also need to try it with the tour pack, this trial fitting was with the old back rest, but gives me a pretty good idea of where it sits.



I also was able to get the divers seat sitting where I want.



Mrs. Cruiser likes to be able to look over the top of me so she wants the seat up pretty high, so I will make a back rest for me using her pad and add some padding to make the transition.
Anyway enough of my mumbling, back to the project, I was able to pick up a sewing machine it is not a walking foot, but is a commercial sewing machine. A singer 241-12, this is a mid to heavy weight machine. It will do what I want and was just a hundred bucks. I had to drive two hundred miles round trip to get it but well worth it.



I’ve been getting it in shape for upholstery work, if you have ever read my threads before, when I learn something I like to pass on what I have learned, so here goes. There are many different types of commercial sewing machines, commercial just means that it will run all day long at full speed and last forever, this means no plastic gears, and everything heavy duty. This is a 241-12 singer, it has an oil reserve under the head and an oil pump that automatically oils the head as you sew, just like a Harley engine, needless to say they last a long time. This machine is a medium to heavy duty, so you can sew up to a quarter inch of fabric, even leather if it is set up right. I am going to be sewing up to four layers of vinyl so it will be fine. I looked up the date made and it is one month newer than me, pushing seventy. Like everything else that old you need to do a little work to get it working for the job you need it to do. This one was out of time. This is a pretty common problem on sewing machines, thread gets caught under the bed on the bobbin holder and the bobbin holder will slip on the main shaft, and the bobbin hook will not grab the thread. Also when you set up a machine for different thread thickness you need to use a needle that is bigger and the timing needs to be adjusted for that use.



You can see in the picture the needle in it down position, as it starts up the thread loosens up slightly, the bobbin case rotates and the hook grabs the thread, (not shown) and pulls it down and around the bobbin case locking the stick. If the hook is not timed and at the right distance away from the needle the stich is skipped or worse the needle can hit the bobbin case and break. You loosen the three screws on the bobbin case and rotate the hook so that it is at the right point and at the right distance from the needle.
On this machine the hook was way off, and had too much gap between the needle and the hook. I have been sewing all my life and never knew how to time a sewing machine, thanks you-tube. I also need to change the feeder foot, this machine was set up to sew thin fabric and has a fine feeder foot. The heavy foot is on the way. I have a sample of Naugahyde coming. I visited my local fabric store and the selection is pretty poor for seat covering.
Lets talk about needles, goodness never knew there were so many different types. First you have the style of needle, this is just to tell you what kind of machine that it fits, the length and shaft type, this takes a 16-257, try finding that at the local store. Girl just looked at me and smiled, and ask me what SHE was sewing. I looked at her and said “That is a sexist comment, why do you assume it is a woman doing the sewing.†We both laughed and then we talked about needles and then we realized she did not know very much about them I had to give her an education on needles.
Anyway then you have the size of the needle, you have the metric standard and then you have the singer standard that has been around forever and singer will not change. I need a 20 singer, or 125 metric needle. That is a very thick needle for heavy thread. The needle has a grove on the side for the thread so the thick needle size is to accommodate the grove as well as being stronger for the fabric you are sewing. You don’t want to use a real heavy thick needle of a thin piece of vinyl with thin thread and have a real big hole and small thread. The thread that I am going to use is v92 in black or red not sure which yet. That is like a button thread, very heavy, the heavy tread to show so it is actually part of the pattern so need the big needle.
Then there are different types of needle points for different materials. You need a sharp point or diamond point for leather, vinyl’s and denim, you use a rounded point for woven fabrics, it does not cut the fabric but spreads the weave apart when it goes through. Are we all confused yet?
Anyway I picked up some standard singer size 18 needles to time the machine and they seem to work just fine, the correct needles are on the way.
Then you need to learn about thread tension, there is an adjustment on the top for the top thread and one on the bobbin for bottom thread tension. You want the threads pulling on the fabric and meeting in the middle of the material.
Of course the machine was not threaded right so that had to be learned. Every machine threads differently this one has it idiosyncrasies. Around the thread lead twice then three times through the next guide, feeds the needle from left to right, gees no wonder no one likes to sew. And let’s not forget stich length, on leather and vinyl you cannot have the stiches to close, if you do the leather can tear. Think of perforated paper in a note book that is deigned to tear out. This one is nice has a maximum of 5 1/2 stiches per inch, I think about seven is about right.
 

HarleyCruiser

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seems I was to wordy, had to do a second post.
This machine has what is called a clutching motor. When you turn it on the 1/3 hp motor turn on and is always spinning at full speed, you push in the clutch to start sewing. It will sew 5000 stiches per minute so in order to go slow you need to slip the clutch. This is a bit touchy and takes a little getting used to. They make an upgraded servo motor that only spins when you press the (gees don’t know what it’s called, guess when you hit the throttle;-) and it runs much slower. For sewing fabric in a sweat shop these machines were running full speed, for leather heavy material you need to go slow so I might have to change the motor out.
Anyway long story short, I have it sewing really nice, and waiting on supplies, especially the sample material so that I can order that, oh yea, it is genuine Naugahyde, imitation elk pleather. Gees wonder if anyone read all this. Let’s throw in a photo at the last just for the people who just look at the photos.

 

Puzzled

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Lol I read all of that...

A sewing machine is something I'd like to have and learn how to use.
 

HarleyCruiser

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Lol I read all of that...

A sewing machine is something I'd like to have and learn how to use.
:) I've been sewing since I was a kid on my moms singer, it missed a stitch every once in a while as long as you didn't try anything to thick. My first "project" was a seat that i saw in a hot rod magazine, I made the frame out of two x fours and plywood, the cover out of old fabric from blankets, it was flat on the bottom and back with square bolsters on the sides. I just wanted to see if I could do it. It turned out pretty nice, even though I did not have a use or need for it, no I don't have any photos that was before digital, LOL. Like I said the biggest hassle is keeping the sewing machine timed, that is something that I learned with this machine and watching you tube videos. once you learn the reason then the how to is easy and sewing especially small patch jobs is fun to do. Having a dedicated commercial machine in your shop is a must have.
How you doing on your bike, you going to be at Daytona this year?
 

HarleyCruiser

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First I want to show what I am currently working on, I am changing the look of the bike going black and deep cut aluminum, on the motor, getting away from the chrome so first is a 21 inch front wheel, for that I have to change my finder, again. It needs to be raised about an inch or more so needed to weld on a extension. Have it back in primer so here is a look.



I’ve also changed my mind on the color, the two different colors that I have shown just do not grab me, and in all honesty I don’t think the bike would look good with a panel paint job. I am going to cover the tour pack with carbon fiber, and the fenders, tank will be black cherry metal flake and fade to black on the sides and bottom. The carbon fiber will be tinted black cherry and fade to black also. This will be a more subtle color and not take away from the style. It won’t be the bass boat flake but more of a heavy metallic and the toner will mellow out the flake.
Here is the look that I am going after.



I bought a powder coating gun and picked up an oven so it will be interesting how my diy powder coating works out.
Back on the upholstery work for the back rest. There are several ways that you can cover the back rest. First I want to show you what I tried and did not like. First I decided to make panels to cover then attach them to the pack. This felt that this would make a much cleaner installation it won’t have that pillow look. At least that is what I thought.
So here is what they would look like.



Yea just a rough drawing of the seven different sections, these will be made out of fiberglass with carbon fiber showing in between, they will be covered with padding then covered with Naugahide. The corners will be rounded to make the vinyl easier to wrap around. They will also have a piece of plywood in the middle to staple to, that I am going to make out of thin strips of wood glued together, kind of like this.




The panels will have bolts attached so that they can be attached to the pack from the inside.
I got my Naugahide, I have two different colors black and I think they call it crimson, I would call it oxblood. I believe that the middle sections will be the crimson and the outside will be black, but that like everything could change.



Photo does not show the color very will especially the black but then we all know what black looks like.
I really like the Naugahide, you can tell it is quality not the cheap stuff you see at Wally world fabric department. (it was about twenty bucks a yard+ shipping) I would prefer to use leather, it is easier to work with and in all honesty not much more expensive, but for my high humidity living in the sub tropics with mold to contend with, I don’t want to have to take the tour pack and seat upstairs to the air conditioning every time I am not using it.
Here is what the seven different panel will look like, they are fiberglass, and like I said there will be carbon fiber showing between the panels.



They will be removable, with pad glued to them and hidden bolts in the back holding them on.
I want to be able to wrap the cover around the panels and staple the cover to it so I have had this oak veneer for years and just going to waste. So I am going to form the veneer into plywood glued to the panels.





 
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HarleyCruiser

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Too many photos.








There is clear shipping tape to keep the glass and veneer from sticking to the tour pack. It is working very well, I have found that I can’t do to many layers at a time and was thinning my glue too much.
And that is when I decided that this is not the direction that I wanted to go, will post the new pad when I get time.
 

DanHappy

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With that all finished, it "looks" like it would be really heavy. Is it or is it just the pics?

Cool idea and I like the way your going with it, even if you don't like it.

Sent from my Note 4 using Tapatalk
 

HarleyCruiser

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With that all finished, it "looks" like it would be really heavy. Is it or is it just the pics?

Cool idea and I like the way your going with it, even if you don't like it.

Sent from my Note 4 using Tapatalk
Dan they really were not that heavy, the glass is pretty thin and so was the wood. The wood would have been used as a place to staple the fabric to. In all honesty it was not the design that I did not like but the execution that I was having problems with, the veneer was just not forming the way I wanted so was just too much a hassle to be worth the effort.
As for total weight the tour pack is not that heavy even with the removable mount, it is about the same as before the modifications maybe even lighter.
 
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HarleyCruiser

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Ok so I have decided to make a cover that will just snap on. It might just be temporary until I can come up with something better. The lack of a pad is keeping me from using it other than for solo use.
I have to tell you that I am stretching my ability to the limit starting the upholstery work, probably why I have put it off. You think that you know how to do upholstery work until you start doing it.



I'm using the old pad cover as a size pattern.







You want to overlay the two pieces by a quarter inch or the amount that your seam will be from the edged when sewn together.



Then transfer to your material for the other side. The pad will be like a pillow and have a front and back so need two of each, front back and both arms front and back.



And I started sewing everything together.



The sewing machine is working great, it has not missed a stitch, the clutching motor takes a little getting used to, remember me saying the motor spins at full rpm and you slip the clutch to get it started and let it slip in order to sew real slow. It’s like having your Harley revved up to 5k and slipping the clutch to start and stop and ride at five mile per hour and trying to juggle at the same time keeping the both pieces of the material straight and lined up with the foot at the same time.



It did not fit the rounded area very will so adding a extra panel in the middle.



 
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HarleyCruiser

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First I want to show what I am working on today I will give a better report when it is farther along. Like I said, I am getting ready to repaint everything so I picked up an extra gas tank. I never modify any of my stock parts, they are sitting on a shelf in my shop in case I ever want to go back stock, or if I need to put them on while I am working on the custom stuff. So picked this Heritage tank up on e-bay.



I have it pretty much ready for primer, it was not real bad so just needed a little body filler and some sanding.
I’m not going to do a lot to this tank except a custom carbon fiber dash. So just need to fill a few dents and smooth out the top a little.
The tops of the Softail tanks are pretty bad because they usually have a leather cover.

So back to my older project the tour pack pad.
I need the straps that I will use for the snaps to attach the pad, you do not cut nylon straps you melt them; this is a 1 1/8 socket and a soldering iron. I need at least ten of these.


Next is putting the two together.
I had to add another panel at the bottom so that the cover fit the contour better.



The new panel adds a little pattern to the design. I thought about using some of the oxblood Naugahide but decided less is better, just to add interest with the panel/seams.





I want to show you the stitch that I am using; it is called a single top stick. This stitch is the most common used on seats, almost all HD seats use this stich. It is strong and decretive and easy to do. I wanted to use a double top stitch or French stich, that has a stich on both sides of the seam but for that you need a backing liner and in the tight turns it is hard to do so maybe when I get a little more practice will try it.
Man I love this sewing machine, what a pleasure, makes my seams look good. I need to pay more attention to the bobbin, was sewing away on the top stitch and finished. Went to check my bobbin and had five inches of thread left. If I had run out on the stitch it would have been a problem re-starting.
Also love the real Naugahide, the quality is unbeatable; it is twice the thickness of the HD pad that I took off. It looks so much like leather it is amazing.
I am getting supplies ready for the snaps making sure I have everything, and wanted to show something important. Snaps come in different colors sizes and lengths. Yes the size is different than the length.





Here are two the same size different lengths; you can see one is longer than the other.
The one on the left is for thicker leather/material, it is too thick for the strap that I am using. It would bend as you are peening the shaft and cause the head to be offset from the snap.
Ask me how I learned this.
If you get them at wally, look at the length. You can get the different snaps from a leather shop or on line You can still get supplies from Tandy on line but most of the stores are closed. My Tandy is a local leather store so I go there.
I was able to get the front sewed to the back.



You can see the taps sticking out where the snaps will be mounted.



Here it is turned right side out, I have to say that seam was probably the hardest that I have ever done.



Here I am mounting the snaps.
This plastic goes under the snap to keep it from distorting.



And here is the set.



This is how you put the male snap on, the tape is so that you can see your mark, pull it down to where you want it then mark, then drill.



The male snap has a screw that holds it on.





This is with just one layer of pad and no bottom snaps yet.



Ready to try on the bike.



I felt that the padding needed more work to take out all the wrinkles, that and the inside layer is pulling the pad too tight, but my wife came along and said, gees I like how you ruched up the cover.
I thought that was another way to say that you screwed up, she said google it, so…… here are the types of the images that came up.



I said yea I like that, when you put it that way, soooooo, for now the ruching stays.
It looks like an overstuffed chair, and yea I am starting to like it, I don’t think it would be hard to change, but if Mrs. Cruiser likes it who am I to argue.
 
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HarleyCruiser

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Making the bottom pad for the backrest. Here is the piece inside out, there are two tabs for snaps.



Here it is in position under the top part. The white showing is the inside layer. That needs to be trimmed. Here you can see the tabs.


Her is where the bottom part will be trimmed, I used furnace tap to mark it.


After it is trimmed this is how it will sew together.

And there it is, I still need to add the snaps and I will need one more tab in the middle but you get the idea.

It needs the padding adjusted and when it is pulled with the tabs it tightens up everything. I need to add a tab in the middle.
There are still tab under the top part of the pad so that it gets pulled in where the back curves. You snap them before you snap the bottom.
It has been to humid for painting but hope to get the gas tank and front fender in primer later this week. Daytona is coming so I want everything at least in black for that.
 

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