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

Springing for An Antique

Hello Fabric Farms Fans! I’m taking another Upholstery Class at Fabric Farms Interiors.  You do know they offer Upholstery Classes, right?  The great thing about their classes is that Danny, the instructor, can teach you at whatever level you are: beginner, intermediate, or, like me, advanced.  I think of it more as a seminar or a tutorial than a class and I look forward to taking it again!

The class started last Monday and last for 6 3-hour classes.  The maximum class size is 7 and it always fills up quickly! As usual, this class was full: 2 couples were working on sofas and then 3 of us were working on chairs. My project is an antique desk chair – waaaaay past its prime.

Busted Springs Seen from bottom of Chair Seat

 The skill I was focusing on perfecting during Wednesday’s class was replacing the serpentine springs.  To put the matter bluntly, the air turned blue as I struggled to stretch them onto the frame.  Really blue.  My classmates were amused. 


No Sag Zig Zag Springs…




The serpentine or No Sag Zig Zag Springs are really thick 9 gauge wire – they need to be cut with bolt cutters.  I’d never used bolt cutters before…








I don’t have any pictures of me hammering the spring clips into that hardwood frame nor of my desperate attempts to stretch the 14″ springs across the frame.  I did finally manage (with help – clearly I need to build up some more upper arm muscles!).  The twine is used simply to restrict lateral movement of the springs: here is my newly strung seat almost finished!

Newly Sprung Seat Seen from the Top
Next I covered the springs with synthetic burlap and, after steam cleaning, reused the horse hair padding.  Horse hair is an excellent, long lasting filling and the leather seat had ensured that it was in excellent shape underneath several layers of cotton batting.  I also reused some of the cotton batting but threw away the top layer; it was a bit grotty.  

Decades Old Horsehair!

This is the point at which I always try out the seat for comfort…and it was NOT comfortable.  Danny suggested a layer of 1/2″ or 1″ medium density foam before the final layer of Dacron.  I went with a 1″ layer because I think comfort is key!


Next time I’ll post pictures of the completed seat and in-progress pictures of the channel back!  

Until then! Leslie

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