Thursday, October 21, 2010

Reupholstering the Antique Winged Chair: Tying Back and Seat Springs

In the blog named the “Anatomy of a Chair” I showed how I took apart my winged chair. It took just a month to tear it apart in the three hour classes held once a week at the technical college. Then I took the chair home over the holidays to clean it up so it would be ready for the next classes. Due to problems at the technique college; the upholstery classes were being discontinued for the winter semester but I am now taking private classes with my teacher, Elaine Barr. I spent approximately 8 working hours every Saturday from January to early April working on the chair. After the last April class I spent another month and half still finishing it off on a Tuesday night for 3 hours.

The first thing I did in was to stretch and tack a single piece of webbing on the on the back of the chair. Then I removed the back springs attached to the old webbing but left the strings still in place. The springs were centered in place on the new backing. Now, I traced where each spring would be place on the webbing with a marker. Once this was finished the old twine could be removed from the springs. The springs were attached to the new webbing with what I would refer to as a giant stapler. The stapler must be centered over springs to ensure the staples wrap around them and needs to be stapled in each quarter section. I tried this on the back but I had some of the ends sticking straight out and needed to bend them over. Springs may also be sewed on instead. I did sew on the seat springs and liked the finished product much better. Now that the springs are attached it time to start tying the springs together and attaching them to the chair frame. I tied the springs horizontally and vertically to the back chair’s frame. To finish it off, the springs are covered with burlap.

The seat springs are very similar but instead of using a single piece of webbing, webbing strips are used and they are weaved together to add strength. The springs that came with the chair were sewed into a cloth covering and they were in bad shape. So after a discussion with Elaine, we decide the better route would be to order 16 new springs and hand tie them into the seat frame. While waiting for the springs order to be delivered, I went back to working on the inside back of the chair. I placed some faux horsehair over the burlap and springs and then cover it with cotton batting. After the cotton batting is smooth out, it is covered with muslin. The muslin is first temporary tacked in place so if there is a need to straighten or pull the fabric tighter it can be easily done before it is permanently stapled. It is a lot easier to remove tacks then it is staples.

The seat springs came in the next week and it took me nearly the eight hours to sewing the springs in place and to tie them to the seat’s frame. Before the day ended, I did get the springs covered with burlap. Tying springs are hard on the hands but if you take the time to make sure they are tight, your seat will slay firm for a long time.

Next time the inside arms, back and seat are prepared for putting on the upholstery fabric.

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