Chairs Upholstery

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Old 01-05-20, 01:31 PM
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Chairs Upholstery

I would like to re upholster my 6 dining room chairs and although the seat part which has 4 bolts accessible from under looks easy to remove I canít see how to remove the back part as there are no visible attachments. To my opinion the back part must be glued to the frame

Any ideas how to remove the back part without damage to the frame ?

Thanks
 
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Old 01-05-20, 03:07 PM
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Showed my wife. She's good at that stuff. Her first comment was that the seat will not be easy to reupholster with those curved back. It looks like a pro's job. As far as the back goes, is the back side flush with the wood? If so, it might be a hard wedge fit and only needs to be pushed out. Need some close up views of the edges.
 
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Old 01-05-20, 03:18 PM
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If it's a newer less expensive chair I would try gently prying with a plastic spudger and see where the back is attached. Sometimes the backs are held in with a press/friction fit much like a speaker cover. Another way I've seen them attached is with keyholes. In that case you'd slide the seat back up and it should some loose. And lastly I've seen them held with a very strong Velcro.

With older and higher quality chairs the back is often stapled in place. Here is a video that shows one way it's done.
 
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Old 01-05-20, 04:32 PM
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Is there any screws on the bottom of the frame? Is there any cording around the front of the cushion? If it was put in like in the video PD posted, there should be some cording or trim around the front to hide the staples. If not and you're not able to push it out, then it may have been glued in. That's usually the sign of a cheaper chair. Anyways, you'll just have to cut it out if that's the case and remove the old glue if possible. Then you'd make a new cushion back and glue it back in. I don't think that will be an easy job. Was probably not meant to be reupholstered.
Regardless of the method, make sure you cover the foam with some batting or dacron. Don't just stick a piece of foam in there like the video.
 
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Old 01-05-20, 06:06 PM
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I bought this dining room set about 20 years ago when my neighbor was moving to a seniors residence and I will guess he probably had it for another 20 years if not more so itís an old set but in top condition. The chairs back are spotless but the seats have some ugly food marks and thatís the reason for the upholstery job. Never got around to do this job before but now after so many years the time has come!

I know the seat will be difficult to re upholster cause of the curved back but think I can manage somehow. The back side is not flush with the wood. (sorry for my pictures but I canít take pictures any closer because then they are out of focus.

Thanks for the video Pilot Dane, very useful.

There are 4 screws at the bottom of the seat but no cording around the front. I hope to be able to use the same foam, if not I will cover it as suggested.

So I took a chance and hit the back with my hand a few times and then it started coming off. Eventually I got it off and it looks itís a press fit (an amazing job whoever did it) but I also noticed a bit of glue all around which tore the fabric cover a bit. One think I donít understand there are a few one leg staples on the frame recess as shown on the pictures and I donít know how this was done or the purpose. I think now I can manage, the difficult part of removing the back is done?

Thank you all
 
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Old 01-05-20, 06:36 PM
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Do you sew? Are you aware that the seat cushion is not a wrap and staple kind. The top is sewn to cording and a boxing strip, another cording and a facing (which gets stapled to the seat board. The notches at the back are accomplished by making a pattern of the seat, then cutting the fabric out from the pattern plus seam allowance.
 
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Old 01-06-20, 12:17 AM
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No, I don’t sew Shadeladie but the wife does although she doesn’t like it anymore. In any case I see the seat cushion been a problem with an amateur like me but I will have to experiment on how to do it after I get the new fabric. Most likely some compromise must be done to finish the job because I’m sure I can’t make it exactly like the original.
 
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Old 01-06-20, 08:55 AM
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Cushions are difficult as it is and this kind, even more so. I'd suggest getting some scrap or cheap fabric or lining and making a practice one first. There really is no compromise. You can't just wrap and staple it. Not that kind of chair and would look odd. I know you said you want to reuse the foam, but if it's that old, you really should replace it.
 
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Old 01-06-20, 10:29 AM
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Removed today the seat part, just 4 screws and its off. It’s just a piece of plywood less than 1/4” thick and the cushion is wrapped and stapled on it. Looks easy if I could only make the cushion properly. We are seniors here Shadeladie and the wife more so and if it was only one she could have managed but they are 6.

I noticed that the cushion is made in 2 parts, the top part and the side part. The top part is sewed to one side of the cord and the side part is sewed to other side of the cord. Was thinking perhaps I could do the sewing by hand? I will have a look on YouTube to see if I can learn something.

And you are right, I will replace the foam
 
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Old 01-07-20, 06:40 AM
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Usually there is cording at the bottom edge too, so since yours doesn't have that, it's one less step. There are actually three parts. The cording is made first, then the boxing strip (the strip around the sides) is attached to the cording, then the top piece is attached to the boxing strip and cording (it's not attached to one side and then the other). I suppose you could leave the cording off altogether since I think this would be problematic for you. The detail would be gone but would work.
As for hand sewing, no I don't think so. I hand stitch a lot of things, but cushions are not one of them. Don't see it working. Maybe if your wife could sew the top piece to the boxing strip at least, this may be the easiest solution.
 
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Old 01-07-20, 11:06 AM
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I removed the old upholstery and now I can see the cording, very complicated to do for an amateur and I understand why the wife, from experience, is reluctant to do the job.

The side strip is made in 2 parts, one part is for the front and 2 sides and the other part is the back (it makes it easier to fold the material at the back around the chairís frame). The foam looks like its molded, a perfect shape for the chair and Iím thinking to keep it since it looks to be in a good shape and good quality. The bottom of the seat is 1/2Ē pressboard

I agree with you to leave the cording off altogether, very complicated. Iím thinking to ask the wife to set up the sawing machine for me and I will do the sewing. Never done this before but I donít see it like been a big deal (just go slow & straight?). The alternative will be to wrap the new material around the existing foam the best I can.
 
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Old 01-07-20, 12:00 PM
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One thing going for you is you can use the old upholstery as a pattern for new.

I can't tell from your photos if the piping/cording is covered in upholstery fabric. One way to make it easier is to use a decorative cording. It wont' match the fabric and instead will be a contrast.

 
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Old 01-07-20, 12:20 PM
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My cording is covered by the upholstering

That’s very creative Pilot Dane and a good alternative. I will see after the job is done how easy/difficult it’s to have it done.
 
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Old 01-07-20, 12:31 PM
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I will see after the job is done how easy/difficult it’s to have it done.
No, this is sewn in between the two other layers as if you covered your own cord. It's not put on afterwards. IMO, twisted cord is not that easy to work with, and there's a learning curve to match the ends together so it won't look ugly.

Also, you need to make a pattern of the chair top before you take it apart. Get some kraft paper or paper bags, lay it on top, and using a pencil, draw a line next to the cording, holding the pencil at an angle to get next to the cord as close as possible. Then draw a line outside of that 3/4". I like to use a 3/4" seam allowance.
 
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Old 01-07-20, 12:41 PM
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Never done this before but I don’t see it like been a big deal (just go slow & straight?)
Umm, I'm going to zip my mouth and not reply to that comment!
 
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Old 01-07-20, 01:58 PM
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That confirms my thinking that twisted cord may be difficult to do and I better concentrate to make a good plain cushion. It will not look bad at all.

I was also thinking on how to do the pattern of the chair top and my idea was to undo the existing stiches (more work?) and use the existing top as a pattern. Same for the sides. If that’s not successful than I can do it with paper as you mentioned.

Next step is to select the fabric. I’m surprised with the quality of the existing material because I thought all upholstering fabrics are thick and durable but the old fabric I have is very thin, almost see thru. Granted it lasted nicely for so long and perhaps it’s easier to fold around the corners. Any hints for the selection of the new fabric?

BTW wife has agreed to set up the machine and show me how to use it, so I’m all set and anxiously waiting to see the results of my new skills!
 
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Old 01-14-20, 04:14 PM
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I have not been very successful here guys....

Got the required new fabric, 58Ē wide by 12í long along with 3 spools of thread ($110.00). Back at home we (wife and I) tried some samples from old fabrics she had around but there is no way to make a reasonable straight and equal looking stich. The chairís seat is 17Ē at the front and 13Ē at the back (between the chairs frame) so itís a trapezoid shape and this shape makes it worst to keep the side stiches equal . So I gave up on stitching.

Next step was to wrap the new fabric around the seat the best I could and this is not bad. But not seen the existing fabric along with my new one side by side I noticed a big difference between the two and I see a problem. Although the existing fabric is thin and kind of see-through it feels more like a polyester, Iím sure itís not cotton, and makes it stronger. The new fabric is cotton and when its installed and I press with my fingers I see the mark of my fingers into the material which eventually pups up after a few seconds.

My new thinking now is to leave the existing fabric and wrap the new fabric over it! Looks the best solution but I donít know if itís a good idea. Do you see any problem with this idea?
 
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Old 01-15-20, 06:02 AM
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You can use another fabric as a backer behind your pretty fabric. A coarse, heavy white or unbleached cotton is pretty common. I use spray adhesive to attach the backer fabric to the foam. This prevents it from moving or creasing. Then put your pretty fabric on top. The backer fabric is more "slippery" than foam so the pretty fabric can move more freely without bunching or pulling.
 
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Old 01-15-20, 07:12 AM
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I didn’t know about this backer fabric Pilot Dane, I may give it a try
 
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Old 01-15-20, 07:53 AM
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I use dacron when recovering cushions, and I spray glue that onto the foam. However, you can just use drapery lining. Not sure if that's the backer fabric PD is talking about.
FWIW, I always try to buy cotton fabric and use polyester thread.
As for the sewing part, sounds like you are just trying to sew it freehand by measurements? Nope, not going to work. You really need to make a pattern, like I explained above, and cut it out exact. I use a 3/4" seam allowance, so you sew 3/4" in from the edge or you can draw a line with a sewing chalk or they have pens where the ink disappears after a bit, then you can just follow the line. The boxing strip needs to be cut exactly, too. You can go by the measurement of the cover you took apart. Then it needs to be sewn together first to the exact length to go around, so you end up with a circle. The seams should be hidden at the corner/s. Then you need to pin the strip to the chair piece. You really need to pin, pin, pin. Then you need to hold the fabrics front and back as you feed it thru the machine.
You might wanna try making say a pillow cover first. Cushions are not easy.
 
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Old 01-15-20, 08:08 AM
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I applaud your efforts to make this a DIY project, but as I mentioned at the very beginning this is better left to the pro's. Unless your hobby is furniture repair and reupholster, you're going to have a lot of trouble. I suspect even with the expertise of someone like Shadieladie, she would also have trouble. You've already spent $110 on material. Any mistakes will only be good money sent after bad. And you have 6 chairs to do.
I suggest you contact a professional and at least get a quote. You might even contact an auto reupholster, and possibly get a better price.
 
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Old 01-15-20, 08:34 AM
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Shadeladie I did tried what you decribed but going straight line with the sewing machine despite all the pins I use is far away from been straight, quite frustrating. This started as a fun winter project but it turned out badly and today I’m thinking to put back the original upholstery and forget about it. Yes I wasted $110 but sometimes us DIY we loose some and gain some. What I gained? No upholstery projects anymore!!! I should have listen to my wife who insisted that’s not for us.

Norm201, no need to go to the pros, I had an estimate a few months back and we are talking roughly $300 per chair (I have 6 chairs) and they will do complete cover which means new pressboard & foam. 20 years ago I paid for this set $400! The existing upholstery is not that bad either, I just thought I could do it easily for perhaps a couple 100 bucks but I was wrong.

My thanks to all for the help
 
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Old 01-15-20, 10:04 AM
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I suspect even with the expertise of someone like Shadieladie, she would also have trouble
No, I've done enough of them to know what I'm doing, but they are a lot of work. Don't particularly love doing them!

Kolias, well at least you tried. You might try making a couple of plain pillows and even a boxed cushion. If you can master them, maybe you can try again sometime down the road.
 
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Old 01-15-20, 11:22 AM
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I live in a town where you once couldn't throw a rock without hitting a professional sewing machine operator. Hundreds of people that could sew a straight line down the edge of a king size sheet at blinding speed. Heck, one of my warehouses used to be an upholstery shop.

Not any more. Now there is only one upholsterer in business within 50 miles. It's run by a 75 year old and his 55 year old son and they don't have anyone training to follow their footsteps. When they are gone so will re-upholstering. It's quite sad to see how in 25 years upholstering a piece of furniture has gone the way of the dodo, all but making any piece of upholstered furniture disposable no matter it's quality.
 
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Old 01-16-20, 05:47 PM
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I like to input some new developments with pictures but the "Attach Files" link is not working. I know they were working on the maintenance of the forum and perhaps something went wrong? I will wait
 
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Old 01-16-20, 07:44 PM
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Not working for me either. It'll get fixed soon (hopefully).
 
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Old Yesterday, 12:00 PM
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Attaching pics works for me in Microsoft Edge but not in FF. Make sure you click on the "Go advanced" tab, too.
 
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Old Yesterday, 04:34 PM
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I always use the ďGo AdvancedĒ link

I use FF for ages now and I forget the reason(s) I never use MS Edge or MS IE, I tried to use IE instead of FF to open the DIY forum and it said ďdada base errorĒ. Then I had to reboot to be able to use FF again and I better wait to see when the forum will fix the link. Now is the wrong time for me to work on my laptop in order to use Edge
 
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Old Yesterday, 05:21 PM
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Chrome is working for me too. I've been using FF forever too. Not sure why it's not working for some. They're working on it but may not be fixed till next week.
 
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Old Yesterday, 07:44 PM
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Why they had to “fix it” when it was working so nice,LOL

I find all other browsers trying to get too much private info, perhaps its only me? don’t know.

In any case just wanted to post pictures of one chair I did with the new material by wrapping it over the edges and it turned out fairly acceptable. Planning to do the same with all the rest but not immediately since it’s not a priority.

To remove the staples from each chair takes forever, tons of them and small. I use a screwdriver to pop them a bit and then plyers to remove
 
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