Build your own Bomber seats - Part 1

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Well-known member
Apr 19, 2009
First off, Bob Villa sucks. OK, that’s a little harsh and maybe I’m just jealous of all the equipment he has but in any episode I’ve watch, where he’s bending wood, he makes it look so easy. After reading another post that had a few pictures of WWII bomber style seats I decided to make my own. First I picked up a sheet of 1/8” 2’x4’ birch plywood. Now, I had been taking pictures of the entire process in making the seats but my hard drive took a dump and I lost all of them. Anyway, I first sat on a piece of craft paper and drew and outline of my backend profile. After squaring it up and rounding a few corners I had the shape of the bottom of the seat and proceeded to cut out it out of the plywood. To the seat bottom of this, I trimmed it in ¾”x1 ½” wood. This would allow me to mouth the side and back of the seat. So far, so good.

For the back, I cut out a pattern from the plywood that I thought would work. I figured the wood should bend easily so I first dampened it then heated it up in the over. I work on it this way for about 45 minutes before giving up. Next, I soaked it in water overnight and it still would not bend, and of course it started to delaminate, as I expected. I didn’t want to kerf cut it because it is thin enough. The next day I picked up another sheet of wood and made a jig.


The problem with this was the ribs were too far apart and I needed more straps and wood strips for backing. This piece eventually cracked so off to Home Dept for another piece of plywood. I shortened up the jig to only bend a 2’x2’ piece, added more straps and backing. I cinched it up tight and then soaked it in water for 2 hours. After which I was able to complete the bend. Then I left it to dry for 3 days.



Next, I clamped the back of the seat to the bottom and fastened it with glue and nails. After it dried I proceeded to cut out the profile and added the sides as well. To stiffen up there sides a bit I added an additional layer of plywood and feathered the back edge to blend in with the seat. I added an ergonomic design to the seat by stacking some left over plywood up and shaping.

I coated the entire surface of the seat with marine epoxy I had left over from another project. I didn’t like the end result much because I had a bit of sanding to do to get it smooth but I fig it would aid in keeping the edges from delaminating.


I picked up green spray paint and applied the layer. I hated the color and it wasn’t really close to what the cap indicated it would look like. I found the color I really wanted and sanded it down and applied it.


Over and out,

Build your own Bomber seats - Part 2

I don’t think I’m German but I have a tendency to over engineer things. I know that I want these seats to be safe so I started welding together metal framework that supports the bottom, sides, and back. To this I’ll be able to attach a seat mount for them that will secure them to the floor of the truck.


Let’s see, I the last time I sat in front of a sewing machine was in Home Ec, long, long ago. I dug out my wife’s machine and proceeded to figure out how to use it. Using a WWII tent I picked up at a surplus store for $3, I cut out my patterns and in a matter of an hour I had some cushions.


The last thing to do was attach the seat to the frame. I’m pleased with the end result because one, it was cheaper than buying an aluminum seat, and two, I made it myself.



One down, one more to go.

Over and out,

You make it look so easy too Sid! Nice work! I dare say, I couldn't do that if I tried even with instructions.

Thanks for the pics

Looks nice, just curious, why did you make the seat out of wood instead of metal? Judging by the frame you made you have metal working skills. I ask because i'm thinking of making bomber seats for my '38 Ford.
I have built a skateboard with a press really easly I bet you could have used that method as well... especially that now you have a seat you can get a mold with.
Wow that is a neat seat. Why did you paint it? I think I would want to show off the fact that you made it out of wood.

Thanks for sharing the process.
Awesome seat ! i aspecialy like the crotch support and rivets u added nicely done.I do no lots of wood workers us steam to soften wood up enough make harsh bends like that but looks like your jig worked just fine.2 thumbs up.
That's a great looking job ! I'm very impressed , bending wood like that is much more difficult than they make it look on the tube . NICE !!
Great looking seat. There is actually bending plywood available, comes in 1/4"
3/8" . It works very easily ,you can make a tube if you wanted.Its fine for paint or you can veneer it with some fancy veneer. I do woodworking for a living,fancy stuff, I would be happy to help with any questions if I can.
Amazing work Sid. What would you say is the total time it took? I noticed this project was not made in a shop. It look like an empty house which to me adds character. It's like "Hey you can do this any where without a lout of fancy tools. All you need is a local Home Depot, some real patients, and eye for craftsmanship." Nice work!..

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