Davin is one heck of a mechanic, but he knows his limits and when to ask for help. That’s why he’s taking a field trip in this week’s Redline Update—and not to the usual place. Though the 1950 Chevrolet 3600 pickup has come a long way and is almost ready for its first drive, its bench seat is in pretty rough condition. Davin drops by a friend’s restoration shop in Traverse City, Michigan, to solve that problem.
The bench seat of this Chevy is one of the simplest upholstery projects you can tackle, but the project requires a few specialty tools and materials that even the well-equipped Redline Rebuild garage just doesn’t have. Adam Hammer and the team at Hammer & Dolly Restorations have both the tools and the skills, though.
The first step is simple, since Davin was able to source a reproduction seat cover. If you’re unable to purchase a new cover, be extra careful when removing the old one; it will be become your template for cutting and stitching a new one. With the old cover removed, the horsehair padding goes in the trash. The rough paint is a sufficient reminder of the field this truck sat in for a few decades—we don’t need the smell, too.
Hammer does reuse two components from the old seat, though: the springs and the wire-reinforced burlap that keeps the springs from cutting through the padded material of the cushion.
“We could put new burlap on to protect the cushion, but this is in good shape and has the wire already woven in. It would take us more time than it’s worth to match this,” says Hammer as he and Davin start to reassemble the seat pieces.
Springs, burlap, three layers of cotton, and a thin layer of scrim foam. The final buildup stacks like the worst sandwich you’d ever eat, but it makes for a dang nice seat. The cover pulls down nice and taut, and Davin and Adam put the completed seat base out in the warm sun to let the vinyl relax. The mild heat will help eliminate a few wrinkles, and in the meantime, they start on the seat back. That’s the same process as the seat base, so the crew switches off the camera and heads for a cup of coffee.
While the bench seat’s completion is another big step forward for this truck, there is still plenty of work to do on this Chevy. Be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to get notifications with each video that goes live.