Sunday, January 18, 2009

New look for an old chair

I awoke yesterday morning with the realization that I probably had strep throat. A trip to the clinic confirmed it, so I was confined to my house for the weekend. While Daddy & the kids were away at a soccer game, I got back to work on my newest upholstery project. Here's the before photo again:

Last week I set the chair on my living room floor and proceeded to pull off the upholstery, one staple and tack at a time. Here are some photos of that process:

The back had this burlap stapled to it, with a piece of cotton padding on top of that. The cotton was in good shape so I kept that, as well as the fabric. The burlap on the seat was in shreds, which explains why the seat stuffing itself was in such a state.

I had to junk all the seat stuffing. The only piece I kept was the actual fabric to use as a template for my new upholstery.

All stripped and ready to be cleaned.

Next I rubbed it down with some furniture cleaner. When I came back to it yesterday I just used my fingers to fill in the tiny tack and staple holes with some stainable wood filler. After that I gave the unfinished parts a good sanding and the whole thing another good wipe down.

I had decided against re-doing the upholstery and instead wanted to try a woven leather technique I'd seen a while ago. I had some really heavy embossed leather sitting around that I thought would be perfect for this. My only worry was that I didn't have enough. I measured the dimensions of the seat, adding in the height of the sides to determine how much leather I'd need. I did the same for the back and determined that, if I cut it carefully, I'd have just enough. Here's what I got done yesterday:

Something else I decided to do was remove the curves on the two back pieces (you'll notice in these last photos that they're straight across on top and bottom). I figured this would make it easier to apply the leather strips if I didn't have those bumps to deal with. I used a straight edge to draw my cutting line, then got out the jig saw and cut them off. The power sander smoothed things out and corrected some of my sawing mistakes.

Now, before I can wrap the back I'll need to do something to the unfinished wood to make it look similar to the rest of the chair. I'll only wrap the leather between the two rungs, so there will be some exposed wood below the arms. The whole chair looks weathered and worn, so I'm not worried about getting it to match perfectly. I'm thinking all I'll do is give it a couple coats of gloss polyurethane and call it good. I wish I'd thought to do this to the seat before I wrapped it, but luckily not much of the wood shows through the leather.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing this thing finished. It should be pretty cute.

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