Mny many years ago (back in 2006 according to my records), I made a leather armrest cover for Sharka. It was before I started doing this blog, which was a really long time ago.
And I’m happy to report that the leather lid on Sharka has lasted perfectly for since 2006. No wear or damage. Still comfy and soft. The only problem is that I used goatskin on the armrest and cow hide on the rest of the interior, so it doesn’t quite match… but I’m the only one that can tell.
Anyways, my Cappuccino center console is in bad need of some love. Just look at it. It’s got cracks and is about as soft as bare plastic. Not wonderful. It used to be covered in faux carbon fiber. I stripped that off and found the cracks hiding below.
No good at all. Time for some love.
Pretty interesting on the bottom side. It’s got this metal plate. But I bet it can still be leather covered. Just gotta take it apart and see how things are underneath.
Side note – notice how it opens away from the driver? It’s very strange. I have no idea why they hinged it on this side. There’s no LHD market for the Cappuccino after all. I’ve never had a car where the console hides the contents from the driver like this.
Anyways, back to the leather.
You do NOT need a full hide to do this. I just happened to have it from my last project. About 18″ by 12″ is more than you’d need to cover a Cappuccino console lid. I trimmed some off the edge and went to the workbench.
I used the same flame-resistant type of high density foam that I did in 2006. This stuff can be pulled apart to form a thinner foam pad. I didn’t want a huge pillow in the Cappo. I just wanted a bit of padding for the elbow and a not-cracked cover.
I pulled off a very thin amount. I rather wish I’d gone with half the foam instead of about a quarter of it. But it’s still much better feeling than the stock unpadded lid (spoiler) and looks fine with the small height.
A quick trace of the outline and then it’s cut and shave time.
I don’t know what I expected to find under that metal cover, but it wasn’t staples. The console looks to be hand-stapled together and then covered with this metal. I was able to use the old piece of vinyl as a pattern on the leather.
Note that the actual console lid is covered in foam!!! It’s extremely extremely hard. Same feel as hard plastic. But it was, probably, at some point in the distant past, soft.
Something is needed to keep the new foam on the console before adding the leather cover. I used some spray adhesive. Really, with some care, even masking tape would work. It just needs to stay in place while the leather is being stretched on.
I also shaved the edges a bit so there weren’t any hard edges in the foam. If I stretch it reallllly well, the edges would be visible under the leather. A sharp (or worse a jagged) line would be no good. A rounded edge is preferred.
THIS is the real work. Getting the staples through all the layers of leather and getting everything stretched and trimmed just right. It takes a while but it’s worth the time spent.
Trial and error is the way to do it. Figure out how the leather stretches and bunches. I ended up shaving some of the bunched leather down flat. No worries thanks to that big metal cover hiding all of this rough stuff.
BOOM!!! The metal plate even fits! And the leather looks quite good IMHO. I’m proud of how well it stretched.
But will it actually fit and close?
It fits. It closes. It has no ugly cracks and doesn’t hurt my elbow. SUCCESS!!!
Well… mostly. The only problem is that the armrest doesn’t match anything else in the interior. It looks TOO nice. I may have a use for the rest of that hide after all. I may have to take the interior apart and slowly cover everything else.
And maybe even blog about it.