March 21st, 2007: Elk Leather Steering Wheel Cover | Part Three
Today I received my order for a new elk hide (26-square-feet) and laid it out on my work table to select a piece for my steering wheel cover. I selected a heavy grain area and cut more than six inches from the side of the hide, sixty-one inches long; much more than I'll need.
I used a metal straight edge and a sharp razor knife, and cut on an angle so that the leather top side will wind up a hair wider than the suede under side ... this is so that when I wrap the leather around the wheel, butt the seams together and hand-stitch the cover onto the wheel, I'll have a nice clean, neat seam.
Once I cut the front finished edge of the cover, I measured and marked the back side every quarter-inch with a white pencil; a guide for punching what turned out to be 244 holes. This is only for the front side of the wrap ... after I take this out to the truck and do a serious fitting session on the wheel itself, I'll mark, cut and punch holes for the back side of the wrap.
Below is a picture of all the holes I punched:
Below is a picture of the piece of elk that I'll be working with. I have to take this out to the truck, wrap it around the steering wheel, take measurements and make marks ... and then finish cutting it to fit:
March 23rd, 2007:Today I took the leather out to the truck and performed a serious fitting session, placing the leather around the steering wheel and making marks with a white pencil. I marked the circumference of the grip (2 3/4 inches wide did the trick) and the three places where the grip meets the arms of the steering wheel ... then I brought it back inside, cut it up, finished punching holes (another 244 of them) and sewed the one seam in it.
March 24th, 2007:Today I took the leather out to the truck and finished the installation. First, I placed the leather in position around the wheel and started stitching it up by hand, with a pair of curved upholstery needles ... one piece of thread (#138 polyester) with a needle at each end. This is trickier business than you would think! It's very important to perform each of the two stitches exactly the same way each and every time. Not only is it easy to get the two threads twisted up and even knotted but, just as bad, if the stitches aren't done the same way each time, the stitches will look uneven. After all the stitching was complete, I removed the horn-plate (center section), trimmed the flaps where the three arms meet the wheel, and glued them in place (tucking them under the horn-plate).
Next, I'll be covering the back side of the steering wheel. Once the flaps were glued, I replaced the horn-plate ... man, oh man, does this ever feel good in my hands now! Finally, I covered the back side of the steering wheel. I hand-stitched the bottom seam on the piece that wraps around the column and glued the backs of the three arms in place. And, naturally, I added my musical eigth-note ... one on each side of the column. Has This Information Been Helpful to You?
Feeling Appreciative? Put Some Cash In Alan's TIP JAR!
[Next Project Click Here]