Tangent Technologies, Inc.

Special Kits Designed for your Factory Five Build

Leather Wheel Kits

The Tangent Partial Wrap Leather Steering Wheel kit. Your choice of natural toned Russet or Classic Black. Either one will add driving comfort and great looks to your build. Scroll down for more info, pictures and instructions.

                                                 Leather Partial Wrap Steering Wheel Kit.......... Price $49.95




     You’ve finally finished your masterpiece and everyone’s had the obligatory ride; the significant other, the kids, that neighbor that put in a little sweat equity by sanding. They’ve had their ride around the block; it was loud, safe, short and thankfully, finally over. Now it’s just the two of you and that stretch of road you’ve been dreaming about for years.

     You ease through the gears and settle back into the seat, arm on the edge of the door. She’s making all the right sounds; you’ve done a good job. Then up ahead you see it. You didn’t think it would happen so quickly but there it is. Your first victim. Like a hunter you start scanning. Nothing in the rearview. The road ahead is wide open, there’s no danger – you take the shot. The roadster passes them like they were standing still, you catch a glimpse of them staring slack jawed, wondering why a pilot would be flying his jet that low. Now they’re just a dot in the rearview - the adrenaline wants more.

     But wait. What’s this? Damp hands? A slippery wheel?

     During those late nights sitting in the roller, clad only in underwear and making engine noises, you thought the wheel felt a little thin, hard to really get a good grip. And by belonging to a distinct group of future roadster pilots, you’re used to having the fist locked around something with a little more girth, something a bit more substantial than those driving tuners and econo-boxes. But what to do? The wood wheel is classic, a beauty, a singular esthetic statement of quality and workmanship; besides - it came with the kit.

     There are leather wheels of course, but they cost several cases of beer, not to mention that this wooden icon would soon be listed in the forum classifieds at a fraction of its worth.

     Now you have a convenient option, the Tangent Leather Wheel Kit. After almost a year in development in the black rain forests, we’ve found the perfect chrome tanned leather in a thickness that’s just right.

     Now you might be thinking that sewing might be beneath someone that’s building a race car. Not true. We didn’t have a problem sewing that buddy’s arm back on in Nam did we? How about sewing those Yak hides together out on the tundra to make a shelter. You can do it. I guarantee it, or your money will be begrudgingly refunded.

     There’s a choice of Black or Russett, which is almost natural in color, like a baseball glove. All the cutting and punching of holes has been done. Needles, waxed thread and step by step instructions are included. Even line drawings for those that think reading is for sissies.

     You’ll have a wheel that’s the best of both worlds. Form and function coexist in harmony. You see beautiful wood top and bottom, but leather and a good grip where the action is. It just feels right. I think you’ll agree. Look at the pictures and instructions below then send in your order.

     All the best, Don


First step is to soak the leather parts. I suggest a shallow pan, lukewarm water and a drop of dishwashing liquid such as Dawn. Place the parts in the water face down and wait for them to sink, about 10 -15 minutes. This will make the leather more supple and stretchable. I suggest taking this time to get your mind right for the task ahead, a beer, meditation, locking the garage door.

You'll see from the pictures that I'm doing this on the bench, but it can be done just as easily (yeah, right) on the car. It helps immensely to have the wheel secured so you can tug on the threads.

Remove the parts and blot dry. You should find the you have a left and right pattern. The longer portion of each pattern goes to the lower end of your wheel. Study the pictures below for step by step instructions.

Below we see the left front of the wheel. The pattern is placed with the large tab in front, the small in back. The large tab will wrap around the spoke later. Right now we want to make sure we have the correct pattern in place. The longer portion will be low, the shorter above. The spoke you are looking at is the ten o-clock spoke.

Below we see the beginning of the lacing. You should find in the kit two pieces of thread with needles on both ends. Take each one and start them one each on both sides of the spoke as shown. Pull them though and even them up. The object here is to "center" the tabs on the spoke.

Below we have passed the needles back through the same holes from the outside making a double straight crossover stitch. The ends exit from underneath as shown.

Below we can see the above operation competed on both sides of the spoke. We're now looking at the back of the spoke and making sure the back tab is centered. Both stitches are snugged up. Don't worry if they try to loosen a bit. Once we get a stitch or two up the wheel we begin pulling it tight.

Below we've begun the stitching fun. You'll see that you find the opposite pre-punched hole from UNDERNEATH and pull the needle through. At each completed set you pull the threads tight by wiggling them left and right a bit. You'll figure it out. The moistened leather will give and pull tight as you go around the the arc. Simply remember to always follow the pattern you started with. If you look closely here you will see that the thread on the right (my left) is the next one to go under and through the next hole on the left (my right), then the thread on the left (my right) will go under and find the next hole on the right (my left). Continue this way to the end. A word here; there are equal number of holes on each side, be careful and don't skip any holes or you'll be in trouble at the end.

Below we've gotten to the end and are completing the baseball stitching by finding the last hole on each side.

Below we make a double pass though the final holes similar to the way we started.

Below, we pull tight and make a simple double knot.

Then we pass both needles under the double stitch and cut off flush.

Below we've finished stitching up both upper and lower of the spoke and now its time for the spoke wrap. Start toward the hub and make a double stitch similar to how we started on the wheel proper.

Below we've passed both needles under and across, capturing the bottom tab under as shown. Snug it up and continue on with the baseball stitch.

Here we've finished up and double knotted. Trim close with a razor. Now do the same on the opposite side and you're done! The leather will dry out in a couple of days and you'll be left with something that is a joy to drive and look at. Wood and leather, a classic combination.

e-mail with any problems, concerns or suggestions (or praise) – e-mail    ver. 12/09




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All the best, Don

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