Monday, 17 February 2014

Traditional Upholstery Tutorial - Drop-in Seats

Here's my experience of a recent course in upholstery.   I pick up a lot of chairs with drop-in seats and wanted to find out about refurbing them the classic way, so I went on a two-day course to find out.


Here's a before and after of the stool - such a nice little piece - I fall for those legs all the time.


Next, one antique chair - I took this apart, removed the horse hair and was terrified something was going to crawl out!!


And one reproduction chair - I have four of these, the seats are drop in leather, but I just took one to the course.


Then I got started...


First of all, the two older seats had been worked with tacks, the leather seat was finished with staples.  It took a couple of hours just to take all the staples and tacks out.


All the frames are good to start work.


I had to cut the webbing and hammer in the tacks...  while using a stretching machine... sounds like torture.


Then finish with hessian backing.


I am now an expert at banging tacks in.


Then the horsehair was cut to size - this is rubberised horsehair, I kind of glad I wasn't working with untreated loose hair.


Then put the fluffy clouds of wadding over the top and start with the calico.


Day two I was spending a lot of time stretching, positioning and hammering in the tacks.


But look at the result - soooo proud.  And they fit. I like the calico finish but for the course we had to have an upholstery fabric to cover the pieces.


I went for a black and white, even that was complicated - you have to have the pile facing a certain way so it ruffles when you sit and smoothes when you get up out of the chair (apparently).  Well well...


So here's all three finished at the end of the upholstery course, I learned so much!  I had no idea it would be so complicated and take so long.  I have to paint the chairs next.


This is the stool painted in a dark grey - graphite colour - and finished with dark wax.


And this is the repro painted in Autentico 'Venice Fog' chalk paint and finished with a clear wax.

Traditional upholstery is way more complex than I thought it would be, the results are really beautiful.