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Forum topic by icemanhank posted 251 days ago 1092 views 3 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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icemanhank

66 posts in 658 days


251 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question refurbishing rustic traditional

Hi all,

I picked up some old chairs in need of some TLC on the side of the road.

I think they are called tub chairs, does anybody have any experience resoring these? I think they would be lovely if back in original condition.

-- "These are my principles. And if you don't like them, I have others." ... Cheers, David


32 replies so far

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1376 posts in 774 days


#1 posted 250 days ago

David,

Here’s a Link to similar chairs, on LJs sister site ‘HomeRefurbers’ which were refurbished by a LumberJocks friend of mine ‘MarkTheFiddler’.

http://homerefurbers.com/projects/1064

He is in the business of giving new life to our old upholstered friends. Send him a P.M. and he may offer his advise.

Good Luck with your restoration. – Grandpa Len.

Work Safely and have Fun.

-- 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.

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icemanhank

66 posts in 658 days


#2 posted 250 days ago

Thanks for your help GrandpaLen, I have dropped him an email. Looks like I will need to buy a lot more clamps!

-- "These are my principles. And if you don't like them, I have others." ... Cheers, David

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GrandpaLen

1376 posts in 774 days


#3 posted 250 days ago

You’re welcome Sir.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

-- 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.

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MarkTheFiddler

1477 posts in 690 days


#4 posted 239 days ago

Howdy Iceman, could I get a few more pictures of the inside and outside back. A few close up shots will do great. I may ask for a few more when you are done with that.

I’d also like to get idea if what tools you have:
Air powered Upholstery staple gun? Can you find or rent one inexpensively? We need a very thin gauge crown stapler.
Magnetic tack hammer? This a lot harder to use than the staple gun. I wouldn’t recommend it for the first time out.
Inexpensive scratch awl? You can remove a few misplaced staples with it.
Scissors that will allow you to snip at the very tip? Most household scissors can’t do it.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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MarkTheFiddler

1477 posts in 690 days


#5 posted 239 days ago

By the way. Those are awesome chairs! I’m guessing antiques. I haven’t seen that exact chair style ever. I would love to get my hands on them. How is is the finish effort going?

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3188 posts in 2462 days


#6 posted 239 days ago

Though not in the best condition now, I find that chair very comfortable.
Take your time. The end result will be worth the effort.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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icemanhank

66 posts in 658 days


#7 posted 239 days ago

Hi Mark,

I don’t have any of those tools but I love buying tools and will get cracking, I will see if I can hire a staple gun setup though.

I have taken some more pics of the chairs and spent an hour on one this morning and found the doweel joins in both sides of the front stay broken so I pulled the stay off along with checking the finish which is shellac (mixed with years of wax and dirt) so I am happy to be working with that as I have done a little bit of french polish before.

I am not sure if I should attempt pulling the chairs completely apart and regluing everything or not, do you have any thoughts on this?

Thanks for your time I really appreciate it.

-- "These are my principles. And if you don't like them, I have others." ... Cheers, David

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MarkTheFiddler

1477 posts in 690 days


#8 posted 238 days ago

Howdy David,

Great pictures! I’m on my cell phone now so I can’t do any edits to your images yet. I’ll be pointing a few things out that will be helpful. I’ll get to them this evening.

In the meantime, I want to say that these chairs are very old. The wood areas used to attach the fabric were not really designed to speed up upholstery. That is an indication of age. The craftsmen didn’t think too much about ease of upholstery on the older pieces. By the same token, they didn’t over complicate the upholstery. You won’t need to sew anything. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the chairs are over 100 years old.

This entire job be done with a tack hammer. In fact, there are some areas you won’t be able to get to with an upholstery stapler unless the front of the gun has a really short profile. I’ll show you a picture of that tonight. Another thing to think about is that the wood is really hard. A squeeze handle won’t work. You need power. I have yet to hear any good feed back about an electric model.

If you don’t have a magnetic tack hammer, I’d buy a good one at an upholstery supply store. I have found other magnetic tack hammers at tool stores but they are not the same. You want a high quality tack hammer with rounded ends.

When the chair was built they used horse hair for most of the padding. I’d get some upholstery cotton instead. The only horse hair I have seen on the market in many many years is rubberized and messed. It will be too thick if you can find it.

The stringy stuff you pulled off is burlap. You can buy 3 yards of that. There are synthetic variations available nowadays that you can use instead.

The strap that went up and down the center of the back is called jute webbing. It’s a support material. You’re going to want some. Synthetic versions will work fine. It expensive to buy a roll but you can get really pay out the nose to buy it buy it by the yard. I’d like to see three rows spaced up and down the inside backs. I’d also like to see 3 rows front and back then woven side to side on the seat.

We’ll get into attaching the webbing later. But now you should be able to estimate yardage. Be sure to add at least 2 inches to every length you measure.

You asked about gluing up the frame again. I would only re-glue the sections that are loose.

Fabric choice. Stay away from thin fabrics. You don’t really have room to hide bulk. You will see all the bulk through a thin fabric in the form of tiny lumps. Get a good medium weight fabric or above. You can snap a picture of your favorite if you are in doubt. I’ll take a look at it and give feedback.

Please hold off the upholstery work until after I post again.

Have fun David. More to come.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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GrandpaLen

1376 posts in 774 days


#9 posted 238 days ago

...a Prime example of “Paying it Forward”, good for you Mark. :-)

“Love Your Nieghbors”.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

-- 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.

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joein10asee

2759 posts in 509 days


#10 posted 238 days ago

My sentiments EXACTLY Len. Just see my sig-line :-)

Good on you Mark!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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MarkTheFiddler

1477 posts in 690 days


#11 posted 238 days ago

Thanks for the kind comments my friends.

Howdy David, I’m on my PC now so I can get a few images to you.

For starters, and upholstery stapler has issues with close quarters. Here is an example:

I can only get as close as the Green arrow yet the red arrow shows where I need to staple. A Tack hammer does not have those limitations. You really want to get the staple as parallel to the edge as possible to prevent tell tale stretch lines from showing up in the fabric.

Now to your chairs.

There is another supply item you need to pick up. It’s called dust cover. There are many names for the products that can be used but the supply companies will know what you need. It’s pretty inexpensive. You don’t have to make a masterpiece when you put it on. Just cover the bottom side so the dust doesn’t start dumping out the bottom of the chair. You can tack or staple it on approximately where the red tracing is on the picture. Fold the dust cover edges under as you attach it.

Another thing is the board. It may have been added to keep the back and front of the chair from collapsing together. Find the structural issue it’s trying to solve (badly) fix it and remove the board.

Next picture:

The arrow is pointing to the worst structural issue I can see. You may indeed need to take apart that section, clean it up, scrape off glue etc.. and get it rock solid. It may be the reason the chairs were parked on the roadside. It’s going to have to take the full weight of your “passengers”. It’s got to hold well both up and down and front to back because all the stress will be there.

Next Picture:

I believe they used a very minimal amount of tacks to add the final upholstery fabric. I think they placed an upholstery tack every few inches then covered it with a decorative tack. Those red rings I added are circling the tell tale indentions of upholstery tacks. If you can see that the circles are indented at just the edges, those marks are caused by decorative tacks. If the entire circle is a dent then it is a tool mark from the tack hammer. I’m supposing the former.

If you look at the circle I marked on the upright piece, you will see that they upholsterers added very few tacks to that area. You’ll also note that the holes in the wood are paired up. One hole is from the upholstery tack and one is from the decorative tack. If you measure that, You will get an idea of how far apart every tack was placed. I told you they kept it simple. ;)

Next Picture:

I added the green line to indicate where the upholstery stops. Your wood finish does not have to go much past that line. Your upholstery, conversely should not cross that line but it should meet up with it.

When you add your webbing and burlap, don’t let either material come up to that line. Aim for the center of that line and the inside edge. Call it bulk management.

Next Picture:

I’m not real sure the back rest is original to the chair. It seems to meet up to the edges badly and the wood is different to my eye. I think it’s a nice feature and it may very well be original. Use your eye to determine if it is original and your own opinion about keeping it. I’d probably keep it myself.

I want to talk through the webbing and burlap when you are ready.

Here is the order I see you going in.
Remove all old burlap, webbing, tacks.
Tighten Frame.
Add Burlap and webbing.
Clean up finish.

I know I said to add the webbing and burlap before doing the finish. Since the webbing is to be pulled as tight as possible, it may reveal structural issues you haven’t caught. You will save time by doing the finish just once instead of before webbing the after webbing reveals weaknesses. Another benefit is that if you ding the wood up anywhere when you add the support materials, you can fix them when you do the finish.

After that comes the easy part.

Keep us posted. I’ll check back every day and field any questions you may have. Have fun David!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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icemanhank

66 posts in 658 days


#12 posted 238 days ago

Wow, thanks Mark really informative. I have a lot to do but am looking forward to getting in to it.

I have found a supplier that have the materials and tools so I will be sending them an order this week.

I have already taken out that old bit of board and yes it was there because the dowells had broken in both sides of the front cross piece as per your green arrow.

I wasnt sure about the back rest either but they are quite solidly attached so I think leaving them is the best thing also. Will the material cover it when finished?

I will keep you posted and am sure when finished will owe you a drink or two!

Regards and thanks David

-- "These are my principles. And if you don't like them, I have others." ... Cheers, David

View RichCMD's profile

RichCMD

117 posts in 443 days


#13 posted 238 days ago

Wow, this is a great thread. I have no projects in mind, but this is great reading. It’s like Mark is teaching a course on how to restore upholstery. He not only seems to know his stuff, but he also explains everything so clearly. Hank’s pictures are great. I hope he will continue to post so many good pictures as the work progresses. Also, it doesn’t hurt that they both are so enthusiastic about the work.

By the way, I don’t think I have ever, ever written anything 12 paragraphs long on my cell phone. I max out at about three sentences.

-- Men admire the man who can organize their wishes and thoughts in stone and wood and steel and brass. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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MarkTheFiddler

1477 posts in 690 days


#14 posted 238 days ago

Howdy David,

You’re welcome. The backrest should be finished and left exposed.
Well done on figuring out the board. You are on your way!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View rhybeka's profile

rhybeka

231 posts in 1623 days


#15 posted 238 days ago

Awesome Mark :) and good luck David! can’t wait to follow your progress :)

-- aspiring jill of all trades

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