antique, antiques, chair, horsehair, how to reupholster, leather reupholstery, recycled leather, reupholstery, upholstery class, upholstery classes, vinyl

Smoothing to Perfection

Hello again!  I am continuing to work on an antique desk chair in my Upholstery Class at Fabric Farms Interiors.  Remember where we started? 

Antique Desk Chair in Need of TLC!

Last week I completely stripped the chair and replaced the broken springs.  This week I focused on rebuilding and finishing the seat.  Here is the finished product:

Antique Desk Chair Reupholstered Seat

Pretty, isn’t it!? It has a beautifully smooth, no lumps or bumps finish.  Notice the nice, clean single welting at the edge?  Looks nice, doesn’t it?  Really adds some polish and finish to the piece…and it was the easiest part to do!  Sometimes you need to sew the welting to the seat cover; in this case, all I had to do was staple it.  Took me about 5 minutes.  Now the rest of the seat…well, THAT took me about 3 hours…

I stripped the seat to nothing but frame so I could build it back up.  Notice the burlap edge roll anchored by a tack strip at the front and sides.  Edge rolls help keep the shape of the seat over time and these were in perfect shape so I carefully removed them and saved them for later. Over the springs, I replaced the natural jute burlap with synthetic burlap, which I prefer unless I’m attempting to restore an antique.

Disintegrated Burlap over Springs 

Once the burlap was on, I stapled the edge roll back onto the sides and front and then got out my fluffy first layer.

Remember that horsehair from last week?  Horsehair, I think, should always be reused – it is a very long lasting and luxurious material and incorporating it into the modern design of the chair retains some of its history without sacrificing comfort or longevity.

Fortunately for me the horsehair was perfectly preserved under the chair’s protective mantle of leather! I only needed to clean some big hay/wood chunks out of it before layering it on top of my burlap covered springs.

Some of the cotton batting was stained with tannins but some was usable.  Next I layered on a bit more batting and then stapled 1″ medium density foam to the chair base.  Notice how I stapled inside the edge roll?  A final layer of Dacron and then time for the vinyl/recycled leather final cover!

1″ Medium Density Foam Added for “Coosh”

Cutting around those arms was tricky but, with the help of Danny, I managed to achieve the smooth perfection I sought.  He helped with one section and left me to apply what he’d taught to the other sections.

Cover Material stapled to Chair Seat

I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  Next week: channel back and the finished chair!

Until then! Leslie

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