O.K., I've been on the forum for 2.5 years now, & I still don't have a build thread for either of my trucks. I bought & started the mods on my '98 before GMT400.com even existed. I've had that truck coming up to 9 years. At the time, recording the mods wasn't a priority. I took the truck in the direction I did simply for my own enjoyment. I figured that the finished project would stand on it's own merits. The truck has gone through various stages since I've owned it. It's still far from being done. More stuff is gonna be happening to it soon enough, in the form of an LS 6.0/4L80e w/EFILive swap. I'm gonna re-do the interior, too! Those builds I will record! The '97 has no build thread. It will. I've just been lazy on that! My personal projects tend to be slow builds. Why? It's a time management thing. I'm self-employed, & I do a lot of work on other people's projects. Sometimes I just don't have the time or the initiative to go work on my vehicles after working long stupid hours on someone else's. So, the only time that has been spent on the '97 has been maintenance. It's my DD. Got some ideas for some mods, but they'll have to wait a bit. The '98 has been sitting for a few years with a dead 4.3. The LS swap is gonna be such a big difference! From maybe 150hp to a butt-clenching 400hp+! Giddyup! In the meantime...here's some of the reasons (excuses?) I've been so slack in even starting the threads on my trucks. Call it a journal of the projects I do for others, or a brag book! Whatever! Lol! I've been doing upholstery since (cough!) September of 1979! In that time I've not only done auto interiors. I've hemmed jeans, fixed purses, tents, & bags for everything from windsurfers, to a whole Freightliner reefer, to boat tops & interiors! Kitchen chairs & nooks, antique chairs & couches, tonneau covers, & all the way to being lead-hand in a shop that did custom interiors in corporate jets. Mostly this is to keep from whoring up other member's threads, & a place I can continually post projects as they are completed. A lot of these pix have been posted on the forum before, but the are scattered throughout various threads. The ones I'm posting now, are the ones that I have on Photobucket. I'll add some that haven't been posted before as I find them in my computer. My open-pit filing system is not always the most efficient! This is gonna be pic heavy. This first project is the restoration of a front seat for a '59 Ford Retractable. 'Restoration' is the operative word, as I just don't 'recover' seats. I go through the whole seat. Nothing worse than having new seat skins, & a week later the track stops working. Or the owner is sitting 6" too low because of broken seat springs. I've got the seat already torn down, so might as well go through it all while the seat is on the bench. Besides, it's like building a house. If the foundation is questionable, how can the rest of the build be anything else but? I'll show most of the project from start to finish. I say 'most' because I don't have pix of any of the spring/frame work. Taking pix of broken springs is a PITA! What I do to those is not always apparent in pix. This is what I am starting with. This seat has been done before, as are most of the projects I work on. By the time they are this old, the interior has been done at least once, if not more times. And they are NOT always right. Some of these projects require a bunch of research to find out what is 'right'. Of course, I'm referring to 'restorations', where the interior has to be as the factory did it. I like to work within those confines. One of the best compliments that I ever had was from one of my Sis's friends that I did a resto in a '70 Camaro for. He said that it looked brand new, as it should. Like I'd never worked on it! Perfect! That's the way it should be. This has obviously been done before. And not very well! The black lines are mine & they show how badly this seat really was done. The lines show the seams that are 'supposed' to line up with the pleats. Just how can people do such shoddy work like this & expect to get paid for it, too! This is how I mark out the seat panels before I tear it apart. It's my own kinda code that I've developed over the years, which no-one else but myself would understand. It works for me, & I know exactly what's what at a glance. The arrows show the direction the vinyl has to go. Vinyl stretches one way, & not the other. The way the stretch goes is important when it comes to fit. Having the stretch go up & down helps to maintain the straightness of the seams. Here's the parts marked & the cover torn down, ready to be laid out on the new material & cut-out. This process also includes line-up marks to I'll use when assembling the cover pieces. Laying out the new material using the old piece as a pattern. Any flaws in the pattern will be addressed before I cut out the new piece. I always use the passenger side as the pattern. It gets way less use & is usually in better shape. To make the driver side, or in the case of buckets, the whole driver seat, is made by making a mirror image of the passenger side. Here you can see why the arrows are important. New pieces cut out. They are for both sides of the seat. The new parts stay with the originals until time to sew them up. I keep everything pertaining to the seat until the job is finished & delivered to the customer. During the project, I'll refer back to the old ones continuously. New sub-assemblies sewn. The backs, bands & the faces, less the inserts. An explanation of the numbers in the following pic. 1st pleat=2.5" then...pleats=1.5", 7X. Followed by another 2.5" pleat. 18" wide. Inserts laid out. The inserts get 1/2" poly-foam. Inserts/foam laid out on the backing material. This will hold the stitching on the backside & gives the inserts the dimensional feel. The backing material gets tacked to the foam with a light dusting of glue. This about the only time I'll use canned glue. Inserts sewn. The shape of the new insert after being corrected from the originals. The progression. Old & new. Inserts being sewn to the outer face parts. Seams lined up with the pleats. This is how I make sure that my line-up marks are perfectly aligned. Faces & bands completed. Plus the back pieces too. Passenger backrest cover sewn & installed onto the frame. This is the initial fitting. With some finessing & some heat, the cover with fit better. There'll be no more wrinkles. The cushion. Again, the initial fitting. The completed seat. Check that inside top corner of the passenger seat & compare it to the previous pic of the initial fit. So that's a basic overview of a seat restoration. Most of my projects follow the same basic procedure. The following pix are of some of my other projects. I don't always take pix of the whole process. Mostly before & after. I get concentrating on a job & don't always remember to take 'em. Dodge truck seat. The new bottom is not as shiny as the old original backrest due to the fact that the cushion has not been coated in armour-all. (yet! I have no control over what some people do to their seats once they leave my shop!) '57 Retractable. Headliner, seats, carpets, trunk & trunk storage cover. Seats for a square body Chevy truck. I learned this stitch from a leather clothing maker. My part of this project truck has been put on hold till the dash is installed & all the wiring is completed. I do a fair amount of convertible tops. 90% of all the tops are pre-made. For the cost of the raw material, I can buy a complete top already made. I have made them from scratch, though, when a pre-made top is unavailable. '57 T-Bird Top. The 'Hammer-on' binding not installed yet. That's what covers the staples. I've got more, but Photobucket has decided to start giving me a bad time. Wait for 'em!