Upholstering 2 Chairs For My Living Room #7: Preparing the seat.

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Blog entry by MarkTheFiddler posted 01-26-2014 03:03 PM 1198 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Striping the old fabric and padding off Part 7 of Upholstering 2 Chairs For My Living Room series Part 8: Upholstering the seat »

Man oh man – there are tons of ways that the seat of a piece of furniture can be prepared. I just don’t have time to go into all of them. If you have questions about yours, feel free to ask.

I’ll give some pretty decent details about mine though.

I’ll say something else before we go too far because we are a woodworking community, They don’t make em like they used to. However, this frame is pretty good for having been constructed in the last 10 years or so. Mostly Solid oak. Decent joinery. Very sturdy. I’ll confess something – I picked these chairs out of a dumpster behind a donation center. They correctly assumed that no one would pay for the old ratty chairs. Me on the other hand – I tore the bottom off one of the chairs and said – YES!!!

That bit of white thing hanging off the front of the chair is called edge roll. More on that later.

The front of the arm meets the seat solidly. That will make this job easier when I get down to upholstering it. I knew that before I did all the sewing on the seat itself. In retrospect, it influenced how I put the seat together.

Take a closer look at the springs. Those are reinforced coil springs. Those coil springs are the best and I will dare say that they are better than the old ways. They take minutes to install and are ready to go. It used to take me half a day to install a coil spring base on a couch. That was enough time to upholster the body on 2 other couches.

I have to put some burlap over the springs so the padding will have something to rest against. Except – I don’t have any. I bought this super tough, super ugly fabric a few years back. It will out perform burlap and I paid about 20 cents a yard.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

6 comments so far

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2185 days

#1 posted 01-26-2014 03:11 PM

In this case I don’t have to worry about pulling the burlap too hard and compressing the springs so it’s an easy job. Just line it up front and add staples. Go around to the back of the chair and pull it through.

Tug really hard and staple it down to with a few inches of each arm.

Snip out the places where the burlap needs to go past the wood. You don’t want to create a lot of bulk and you don’t want to cut too much or your padding will fall through.

Cut off the excess and fold it over. Add a few staples to keep it out of your way.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2185 days

#2 posted 01-26-2014 03:23 PM

In my case, I was able to just staple the edge roll back down.

I am mostly done with discussing the seat preparation and some of what I add now is part of the actual upholstery but let’s go a little further.

I want to pad the seat directly under the deck material so I did the following.

I measured the old chair from where the front meets the deck to the roll over. It was 3 1/4 inches. Since I am using a half inch seam, I subtracted that and got 2 3/4 inches. I drew the horizontal line you see below at 2 3/4 inches. I also measured the outside arm to outside arm at the horizontal line to get my center. I marked it.

The seat has been prepared. It’s after 9 AM and I want to go to church and build a picture frame for a buddy. I’ll continue posting after I finish my day.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2269 days

#3 posted 01-26-2014 06:07 PM


About 10 years ago Joyce, (SWMBO) bought a nice Singer, cabinet, sewing machine at the neighbor’s yard sale for $25.00, “cause I mignt make new kitchen curtains”, ...never happened. The machine has lived in my last three shops with a 3/4” plywood protective top, supporting my bench top drill press and two bench grinders, the drawers are quite handy storage, and my shop vac fits nicely in the knee hole under it. forward 10 years to this blog, a little TLC and some machine oil and it may see the light of day once again
...just a thought, no real expectations anytime soon. ...bobbins and needles and thread, oh my!

Enjoying your Blog, with a little light levity. – Len :-)
...hmm, wondering if I may need a SawStop sewing machine…

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View sras's profile


4796 posts in 3125 days

#4 posted 01-26-2014 07:03 PM

This is a really interesting blog. Thanks for putting it together!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2185 days

#5 posted 01-26-2014 10:46 PM

Ha Len, A saw-stop sewing machine.

Wait a moment while I go take a picture.

There we are.

Oh sorry – I need to finish my printer installation.

Ok – done. Oops. Restroom break.

Ok – wow I’m real sorry – I had a smoke after the restroom break. Are you hungry – BRB.

Whew, that was a lot of food…

That right there is the business part of my old industrial machine. It’s called a walking foot because it will grab the fabric and move it away from you one notch at a time. The needle comes down and make a stitch then the walking foot does it’s thing again.

I have never put that hefty needle through my finger. The foot is in the way. Still I think the needle would have been far less painful. I got my finger under that walking foot once consider a direct and unyielding hammer strike to the side of your finger where it gets compressed down to 1/16 of an inch, then while it is squashed the hammer then turns into a pair of pliers that yanks your flesh forward. Finally the foot will lift up to a geyser of the red stuff.

That’s not near as bad as a saw accident but I can see a SEW STOP out there. ;)

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2185 days

#6 posted 01-30-2014 11:20 PM


I missed your post!! I’m very sorry.

You are one of the people I was thinking about when I started putting this together. You have already shown glimmers of brilliance in the upholstery battlefield. All of your work looks professional. It’s all there. I hope you try something big next time.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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