Seat slat coating

Technical MGB discussion
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slatis
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Forename: Thomas
Surname: Slätis
Location: Vaasa, Finland

Seat slat coating

Post by slatis »

Hello everyone,
Happy to be the owner since this summer of a car that features wooden parts :) Thanks for having me on this forum.

I noted that the wooden slats under the seat runners have cracked and broken, and recently ordered two new pairs from MGOC Spares. According to the product info they are made of Sheesham hardwood (Dalbergia sissoo) but no information whether they have applied any finish at manufacture. Does not seem so.

Hence, do you have experiences and suggestions on what to use for coating? As the slats are made of wood they may retain humidity, thus causing corrosion, which would be an important consideration. What finish was applied on the original slats when cars left the factory?

The present broken ones are painted black; however, they seem rather home-made. Varnish I believe is likely to crack. Wood oil of some kind?

Many thanks,

Thomas
MGB RD 1969
Ian Fozzard
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Re: Seat slat coating

Post by Ian Fozzard »

Thomas, welcome to the forum. My original seat runner underslats (1972 BGT) are roughly made of wood (?) and have black paint on them, so an original factory finish. One has broken on the end but I just keep it in place and it functions fine. They present a minimal risk for corrosion or water retention as far as I can see.

Ian F
1972 BGT, Blaze, Navy trim, recessed grill
1961 Midget, 948cc, Clipper Blue, Blue trim and weather gear
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Steven collins
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Re: Seat slat coating

Post by Steven collins »

If you wanted to keep the wood finish you could coat them with linseed oil then give a very light rub down clean and re-coat, gives the wood a really nice finish.
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slatis
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Re: Seat slat coating

Post by slatis »

Many thanks for your welcome and prompt replies. Happy to learn Ian that the current part in black is likely to be factory made after all. What a wonderful rough and idiosyncratic feel to these old car parts!

As my MGB does not have the carpets under the seats the black colour is not important and I may actually keep the slats naturally coloured just to underscore the fact that they are made of wood. For such a finish, I heed your advice Steven and go with linseed oil, which is a pleasant coating to work with and the colour will not stick out against the light floor.

In another forum (https://mg-cars.org.uk) where I also posted about this topic I was recommended to replace the slats with aluminium. I keep this suggestion in mind if I run into problems with keeping the runners undistorted and providing them with a solid straight surface, which is key for functioning seat runners. Other than that, I hope that properly coated wooden slats and keeping the car dry inside should make them last long. Thanks again for your suggestions!
Ian Fozzard
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Re: Seat slat coating

Post by Ian Fozzard »

Hello Thomas. I don't see any need to change the finish on these wood pieces - they are not visible and will not deteriorate in situ.
I suspect that wood was used deliberately by MG as it provides a firm but slightly flexible joining between seat base and floor - think of a flexible washer or similar in other situations. It may also provide a little damping of noise and vibration, and should not damage the paintwork it is in contact with.
Use wood! That's what MG used!
Ian F
1972 BGT, Blaze, Navy trim, recessed grill
1961 Midget, 948cc, Clipper Blue, Blue trim and weather gear
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Peter Cresswell
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Re: Seat slat coating

Post by Peter Cresswell »

I hadn't thought of that Ian! Was wondering what the purpose of the wooden slats was, so I left them out when I changed the seats. Mind you my car is now so noisy inside with the hardtop on, a bit more from the seats would be undetectable! The slats are now carefully stored with the original seats.
Pete
1969 MGB Roadster
2020 MG HS Exclusive
2007 Mercedes SLK
Plus 34 other cars since 1965
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