Chapter 25: A (gokart) seat fit for a king.

Posted: July 18, 2010 in bugatti go kart, go kart body, vintage go kart
Tags: ,

That is a seat fit for king provided he is less than 48″ tall and has a Bugatti inspired go kart. In that case, yes this a go kart seat fit for a king.

Until now the boys have been driving the kart sans seat. That is there is obviously a place to sit, just no padding and the likes. They’re just kids, what creature comforts could they care about right? Well not only did I want them to enjoy riding the kart, but I also would prefer them not get a splinter on their backside. OK, and a seat would just look really cool as well.

A typical crowd at Denios Fleamarket.

I shopped around a bit at the local fabric stores in search of vinyl or something leather-like but kept coming up empty handed. Then it donned on me; the local flea market would surely have a vendor selling wholesale vinyl and the like! So early this past Saturday I recruited my oldest son and we headed over. I prefaced him with “Now remember we aren’t going to buy any toys, we just want to find some vinyl. OK?” He assured me he understood and off we went. We parked and began wandering the spots aimlessly for our vendor.

Of course we encountered no less than ten spots selling high quality plastic machine gun toys fresh from China (likely covered in lead based paint) to which I gently reminded him “No, remember why we are here…“. Since he got the hint on whether or not he could get one of these guns he decided to set his sights on the variety of ninja swords and switchblades that were also available. As tempting as it was to pickup a 48” sword for an eight year old to play with I figured it wasn’t a good idea so I introduced a diversion also known as a Cherry flavored Icee that seemed to settle the matter.

Cutting vinyl to fit our seat template.

We finally found a vendor that not only had a plethora of colored velour, but also the simple black vinyl we were looking for. For a mere $11.00 we had acquired exactly what we came for, and plenty of it I might add! The least they would sell me was 36″x54″ so we were plenty covered for our little seat and likely then some.

The next day I wholeheartedly dug into our project. Before I jumped though I paused for a bit to think about exactly how I would attach our vinyl, or rather what we would attach it to. You see our original plans called for an adjustable seat, that attached to what we already have. I opted not to have that additional weight and height (since we were already running out of room for the boys) but now I didn’t really have any other option except attaching the vinyl directly onto the existing seat…. or did I?

I thought about making a pattern with which to cut the vinyl thinking that cardboard would work great. As I was cutting it out, I thought “Why not just use the cardboard itself and attach the vinyl to it?” Heck, it worked for door panels in old cars right? Well actually those were more like very thin particle board but close enough. It would make the seat nice and light but also make it removable if I needed to repair it and we know all know what the odds of needing to do that are.

Gluing our sides of the vinyl around our cardboard backing.

First thing I did was to cut out some cardboard into two pieces; a shape matching that of the seat and another matching the back. Then I took these pieces and laid them onto the back of our vinyl and using a white crayon I sketched the shape that I would cut out of the vinyl. I made sure to sketch the line to cut approximately 2″ larger than the cardboard template itself. This extra vinyl would not only give us some extra to attach to the rear of the cardboard, but also enough extra to accommodate some poly fill we’ll be stuffing inside.

Filling our seat with poly-foam fill to make it nice and soft.

Once we had our shape cut out I carefully applied some fabric glue to the bottom portion of our cardboard and pulled the vinyl around, tightly holding it in place for a few minutes. This adhesive dried really quickly, but for good measure I put some weights on it for a bit and let it dry.

After about 20 minutes I then continued with the other two sides. After these were glued and dried in place I then stuffed some poly fill into the last open side, trying to evenly spread it out giving the seat a bit of a puffed up appearance. I was really surprised how firmly the cardboard was holding up. After I was satisfied with the fill I carefully applied more glue into the last edge and pulled our vinyl as snug as I could, over the edge, and onto the back. As with the other sides I held this firm by hand for a few minutes, followed by some weight for another 20-30 mins.

Both the back and the seat with our vinyl now attached.

Once the adhesive was dry I asked Luke what he thought of the seat so far. He held it in his hands and cautiously squeezed it, as if it were a package of Charmin. He smiled and said; “Ooh, it’s cozy.” I said “Yeah, I like it too.”

Next I repeated these same steps with the seat back as well, and in no time we had what appeared to be a complete go kart seat that didn’t look half bad. Really for $11.00 and a few hours work it really turned out pretty good.

With the seat back now dry enough to handle I slid them both into position on the kart. They fit like a glove. They actually fit snug enough that I may not even need to permanently attach them, though I could always place some velcro tape behind them just to be sure. Securing them with velcro would not only make them say put, but also make them easily removable for the inevitable repairs I mentioned earlier. Either way before I do anything else I’m going to go ahead and paint the interior black so the plain wood won’t be so noticeable.

A go kart seat fit for a king. OK, a rather small king.

All in all I’m very happy with this step. It was one of those things that you really don’t know how it’s going to turn out until you finish it. Come to think of it, this whole project has kind of been that way.

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Comments
  1. Varun says:

    Hello,

    This is a wonderful go-kart that you are making.
    I hope it turns out good.

    Just one question, ( sorry if you have mentioned it somewhere else before) but where and how did you get the axles that fit exactly into the bike wheels.

    I am thinking of building a go-kart myself but I don’t know what to use for my axles.

    Thanks and keep up the kart building!

    • Jas says:

      Apologies for the delay. For the rear wheels I purchased a steel rod from the local Home Depot. Then I used a die that was the identical thread size of the original wheel axles and threaded the ends of the rod so that the rear wheels would mount with no problem, while still having an axle that went the entire width of the car.
      One thing that is an issue is that my oldest (being heavier) makes the rear axle want to bend. I suspect that reinforcing the rear portion of the frame could help that.
      Definitely a fun project. Now if I can only build one for myself!

  2. jones A. says:

    how many hours did it take to build?

  3. Al Newton says:

    Hi Jas, having recently read all the chapters on this project I’ve decided to build one for my grandson. Thanks to you I may be able to avoid many of the problems you experienced. One thing I am unable to find is how you solved the braking problem. Finished job looks great and I imagine the boys and their friends had a lot of fun providing they didn’t hit a brick wall.

  4. Steve McNair says:

    Great project!
    Since retiring I have built a similar Bugatti for my little grandchildren, except from scratch, making my plans from photos.
    I first built a rocking and mobile Pingu ( do you have that over there?).
    Its great to know that I am not the only one into this ‘hobby’!
    Anyway, great stuff, you have some lucky boys!
    Steve

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