Reupholstering

We all have a favorite comfy chair we like to curl up in. However, over time the cushion begins to sag, the fabric becomes worn and tattered, or maybe that green and blue plaid that you liked so much five years ago just doesn't look very good in the new family room. Rather than get rid of a well-constructed piece of furniture, try reupholstering.

Before you strip off the old covering measure each piece carefully to determine how much yardage you will need. Always allow a little extra to include the approximate length of hidden fabric that you cannot see. Remove tacks, nails and staples. Remove the fabric in the reverse order in which it was attached, and make notes describing exactly where the piece came from, and how it was attached. You will need this information later, and once the fabric is removed it can be difficult to tell which piece is which, since they will all have a rectangular shape.

Remove old foundation padding, which consists of synthetic foam, and polyester or cotton batting. The foam provides the basic shaping, and the batting provides the padding. Foam is available in a variety of thicknesses and degrees of firmness, and polyester and cotton batting are available in different grades. Always use a high grade batting, as it retains its shape longer. Also, remove and replace the stiff brown padding called coirtex. Coirtex is a thin padding that is often used for seat decks and places that don't require much padding such as thinly padded chair backs and arms.

Inspect the springs and webbing. If they are not in excellent condition they should also be replaced. Now that you are down to the bare frame, this is an excellent time to make any necessary repairs to the wood. Repair scratches with colored wood markers, clean finish, tighten corner blocks and loose joints, or reglue, and repair any cracks with wood glue or epoxy.

Now you are ready to reupholster the chair. Begin with the webbing. Webbing forms the support base for furniture. Attach a strip of webbing beginning in the center of the back rail. Roll over one inch and secure with webbing nails. Going from back to front pull the webbing taut with a web stretcher, and secure with a nail. Continue until all webbing is secured. Following the same procedure go from side to side, weaving over and under and pulling taut with a web stretcher.

Resilience comes from the springs, which are either coil or sinuous. They are sewn to webbing and then tied together to form one unit. Compress the spring just until it begins to resist, about one and a half inches. Arrange springs on webbing at the intersections approximately 2 to 4 inches apart. Beginning with a corner spring, stitch the springs to the webbing with nylon twine working one row at a time. Cut twine four times the length between rows, fold in half and secure loop with a nail pounded into the back rail. Tie springs together working from back to front, wrapping the twine over and around each coil. Repeat going from side to side, and then diagonally. Cover with burlap and staple to the sides. Stitch the burlap to each spring, locking all stitches and securing with knots.

Cut the foam to fit, and wrap polyester batting over the foam from front to back, and secure with spray foam adhesive. Staple the batting to the frame. For cushions, follow the same procedure and insert into the new cushion cover. Secure new edge roll with button twine to seat front. Place fabric right side up over batting and staple to the frame, moving from center to sides and stretching fabric taut. Pull the fabric under the back and sides, and secure with staples. Mold the flat pieces of fabric over padded curves by pleating it out. Use relief cuts to mold around concave curves. Trim off excess edges. To finish, glue welting or gimp just above finished part of the wood, and tap in decorative upholstery nails. Cut cambric to finish underside of the piece. Find a good book and curl up next to the fireplace in your new comfy chair.

- Back -