I'm in the middle of building a bench when my sister calls with a chair dilemma. She found this great leather chair awhile back at a garage sale...but now it's sprung a spring. I told her to bring it by and I'd check it out.
Looks fine from the top; but once I turn it over, I find out it's pretty much disintegrating. Time for a major overhaul. The upholstery is in good shape; so I don't want to do a complete reupholster. Besides, I've never done this before.
Tools: I meant to mention this in the last post; the two most important tools for any job are confidence and patience! Confidence that you can do it; and patience to allow you to do it.
I've always loved to take things apart. I think the best way to learn how something is built is to take it apart. As I start to pull at the bottom of the chair, the webbing and string just fall apart in my hand. So, I decide to go for it.
Note: The next time you take issue with the cost of reupholstery....please understand; this is a nasty job. I've bought many old chairs in my life and I have to say, probably my least favorite part of furniture rehab is taking off old upholstery. You'll find many pieces that have layers of fabric where a DIY'er just went over the old stuff. If I'm going to go to the trouble; I want a fresh start. If you were to pay for a reupholstery job, you wouldn't expect a professional to go over the old stuff so why would you. Enough said!
First remove all the webbing. This is where the right tool comes in handy. This little gem was a gift from my friend, Jeanne, after I covered a footstool for her. I think of her every time I use this instead of my old screwdriver. :)
There's a layer of disintegrating burlap under the springs; and I can see that it's the original horsehair for the next layer. Hmmmm.
Remove all the old staples and tacks. You'll need a clear field for the new staples and tacks. Then vacuum the whole thing to get rid of as much old yuck as possible.
I could remove the horsehair but decide to wait until the next time this chair is reupholstered from the top down. I decide to put a layer of Dacron over the horsehair because I have it and it offers a layer of new before the springs.
Loosely staple a layer of burlap. I tucked the edges under because I was working from this side. You need to keep it loose because the springs need room to spring to the upper side of the chair.
Normally, the chair would have no upholstery and you could attach these strings to the upper and lower edge of the chair sides. Since the one I'm working on is upholstered, I attach my bottom string (really the top) to the inside of the chair side. Then, I just go to the first spring and tie a knot. I go across that spring and tie another knot, then move onto the next spring. I started with a middle row and worked my way out. Once I had a row in the middle done; I found it easier to work with by tying the top side springs together but not attaching them to the chair edge until I was a little farther along. Once you have some of them secured, it gets easier to work with. I'm sure professionals have tricks...that's what we pay them for...along with the fact that they have the right tools.
Tip: I also found it easier to use tacks to tie down the strings. Tap the tack in half way; then, wrap the string around and get the tension you want before tying the knot. Tie a double knot and then tap the tack in the rest of the way.
I didn't have any of the black "modesty fabric" (that's what I call it but I'm sure it has an official name). It's the thin black fabric that hides all the stuff you don't want to see under a chair. I've seen it at Beverly's but it's an hour round trip for me and my bench is calling.
The true test; I flipped the chair over, didn't see webbing, sat down and didn't fall through! SUCCESS!
...now back to my bench......
P.S. This repair took about three hours start to finish.