During my formative years very little emphasis was placed on trying to reuse or extend the life of common items. I would say the Throw-away society is still very dominant (as exhibited by heaping piles of trashed items on New York City sidewalks) but these days more attention is being paid to creatively extending the life of every day items.
Reader J.T. from El Paso, Texas submitted the following text and pictures on extending the life of your saddle. All text and pictures credited to J.T.
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Tools & Materials:
Scissors,small shears,razor pen,stitch remover,measuring tape marking pen,& plier type clamps .
Gorilla and Shoe Goo brand glues.(Shoe Goo, 95%, Gorilla for inseam tacking)
Foam type - shelf drawer liner.
Skin donor - Any leather top grain or, suede, brushed, tooled leather bag etc. I bought at flea, thrift markets, yard sales.
Bicycle saddle with "claw type pincers" to hold seat cover, some have staples (see photo). Most commonly found on older type saddles.
When choosing a suitable leather object for a saddle's new hide, consider the design and fabrication. Visualize how it would look if you were to take it apart. Take notice of the inside features.
Decide if its long enough for your saddle's width, length and depth consider also the seam width, to be sure.
I found a top grain purse with simple design and small hardware (lock,clips ) the thickness was just under one-tenth.Un-stitching the threads time:1 hour
Google: leather crafting. There many sites, forums and Instructables for working leather, this is how I learned just enough to give a go at it.
What I did was soak the hide in warm water so as to render it soft and loose and make it ply-able. Cook it under low temps remove when hide is soften, the place on towel to remove excess moisture. Start with a clean saddle striped clean of paint or foam padding. Glue on the new foam padding and allow to dry.
Then apply glue on top of padding and bottom of new hide. Place hide and stretch this is where hide thickness affects the edges; the hide I used was just thick enough to cause pleading on the edges. Clamp it down tight.
Allow glue to set. When almost dry bend and tack under the saddle form. Again clamp down on the edges. Allow to dry and ride happy!