Furniture Restoration #14: Settee Finished and into the Homestretch

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Blog entry by Paul posted 10-21-2007 11:34 PM 805 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: Finished Chairs Part 14 of Furniture Restoration series Part 15: All Done »

Well, it’s been a long journey so far. The chairs turned out okay but I knew the Settee would be harder. I wasn’t wrong.

Never say never, right? So, let’s just say that this learning experience has taught me that I don’t want to do this again anytime soon. Sooooo labor intensive!

I noted finishing half of the back rest earlier. So picking up where I left off . . . click the pics for larger views.

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You can see the “deflated” upholstery on the other side. Thank goodness I had layout lines from someone earlier that knew what he/she was doing and the previous pieces to use as patterns or I don’t think I could have even come close to figuring it out.

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Backview – little wads of cotton batting keep the tread on the upholstery buttons from pullng through – the upholstery is the visible layer in the previous pics, of course. The ubttons, cotton batting and taut upholstery fabric (but not too taut!) tacked top and bottom gives the shape and the burlap is the backer. In other words, the cotton batting goes between the uphostery and the burlap in this view. I replaced the seat rails in previous posts, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the wood was ideal. Dry and brittle wood often separated from the rest of the frame upon driving a tack and had to be reglued.

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After much fussing . . . . . stuffed.

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Upholstery fabric from the seat and from the back rest converge and are tacked to the top of the back seat frame so, rolls to ease the edge between the fabric and the frame are added last and are visible. Now, more stuffing above the rolls and burlap covers the back.

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And a thin layer of cotton batting covers the burlap.

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Upholstery covers the cotton batting and a decorative flat braided cord called “gimp” is hotglued and tacked with small round head brass tacks to hide the upholstery nails.

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The best I can do. You may have noticed that it was day-light earlier – started mid-morning. It’s dark thirty when I finsih. I did the arms last because I was constantly flipping and turning it around. I figured I would rip or soil the arm rest fabric otherwise.

Applied a light coat of tung oil to the wood. Because of the dry and brttle nature of everything but the seat frame, it’s still not what I would call “solid.” I hope these pieces sit in a formal living room and see little use or I may be seeing this piece again. And I don’t want to see it again!

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The last piece – a footstool. You may be able to see the crack that needs to be glued. And then, I need to refinish the wood to match the other pieces. Hopefully, it’s a straight forward deal. But no predictions of a swift and easy home stretch.

-- Paul, Texas

2 comments so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3956 days

#1 posted 10-23-2007 12:54 AM

Paul’ I missed this as I’ve been gone. Nice conclusion to a lot of very hard work. Great job. I fanyone brings one of these to me I’ll forword it to you. thanks for posting this project.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Paul's profile


660 posts in 4086 days

#2 posted 10-24-2007 05:55 PM

Thinking they would come by on the weekend (the footstool isn’t quite finished), I called last night to say the furntiure was done and they could pick it up at their convenience. The wife overheard the conversation and said they would be by in 10 minutes. They were very pleased with the results of my first upholstery attempt and thankfully, when my friend asked how much he owed, he wouldn’t accept the uninformed bid amount I quoted at the start. He doubled it.

Yet, even at that, I later added up my time log to 65 hours. Subtract the materials expenses and I still came in just a bit above minimum wage. Learning experience, indeed! I now know why I’ve overheard two or three recent conversations about folks not being able to find an upholsterer. Don’t look at me!

-- Paul, Texas

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