Introduction: A New Lease of Life to an Old Chair With Scrap Innertubes

Picture of A New Lease of Life to an Old Chair With Scrap Innertubes

It's always nice to have a comfy chair to sit on, and one of my favourite types of chair is the Ercol.

These are great chairs,very well made and still available new, but because they were so popular are available very cheaply secondhand.

The years haven't been kind to my chairs, though, and the webbing started to break to the point where I couldn't use them anymore.

At the same time, bike innertubes have become incredibly cheap. I love my cycling, but I find it abhorrent that my fellow cyclists seem to think that because this is the case, it's acceptable to leave punctured tubes at the side of the road.

This was the germ of an idea....

EDIT: If you're looking to replace the cane on a cane chair, I have just found:

So all credit to TimAnderson for a nice instructable.

Step 1: The Chair

Picture of The Chair

Here it is. See how decades of use, plus my fat behind have made a mess of it.

Step 2: Cut the Tubes

Picture of Cut the Tubes

This is possibly the dangerous bit. Using a sharp knife, cut the valves away from your dead tubes. Get a grownup to help you if you are stuck. :-p 

Where to find these? Bike shops don't repair punctures anymore, so you might be able to get some from the bins. Mind you, I regularly find these abandoned at the sides of the road by lazy, thoughtless roadies.

These ones had woods valves, so no use to man nor beast.

Step 3: Thread the Tubes Into the Chair (fiddly)

Picture of Thread the Tubes Into the Chair (fiddly)

Slide the broken webbing out, then place your cut tube into the chair.

Step 4: Tying Off (really Fiddly)

Picture of Tying Off (really Fiddly)

Tie a knot in one end, then pull the tube tight. Tie a knot in the other end. You need a bit of tension in the tube, this is varied by tightening or loosening the knot.

Step 5: All Done!

Picture of All Done!

Sit on the chair, and have a cup of tea.

The tubes won't last as long as the original webbing, but they are easy and cheap enough to replace.

(excuse the mess, I'm moving!)


dmacdonald (author)2011-10-02

The original "Pirelli" strapping is quite inexpensive and has the added benefit of not just elastic (rubber) compound but also a fabric that prevents the straps from excessive stretching.

Inner tube straps would have no limit to their stretch. I've re-built many, many chairs. When I tried using rubber strip - not unlike sliced inner tube, it always failed due to uncontrollable stretch... The more weight, the more stretch.

I'd think perhaps if a hessian or fabric belt was used under the inner tube belt, it might provide some limiting to the stretch. Were I to be doing this job again, I would have no hesitation in purchasing rubber sheet with fabric re-enforcing in it and slice that into strips but I'm inclined to think this would be as expensive as using the genuine Pirelli webbing.

That's true!

I have had to redo it a couple of times. But I never have to buy inner tubes, I always find them when I go cycling. Naughty roadies seem to leave them behind.

Thanks for your comments though; if I couldn't get my materials as a waste product, I'd buy fabric like you said. (:

DorthyBlueBird (author)2011-05-04

It occurs to me that there are metal, toothy interlocking clamps slightly
wider than the inter-tubing that could clamp on the ends of your intertubing.
They are flat on all sides and narrow and stick-like, but none the less would lie
flush against the sides of the chair. Pardon the torturous description, I have no idea what they are called, but I've seen them used for making picture frames.

They would probably stick pretty well, and put less stress on the intertubing, since
it wouldn't put so much adverse torque on the band itself, because the knots cause stresses to pull on the tube in a twisting motion. Rubber tubing would handle stresses for longer periods coming from one direction.
You could also use two small pieces of wood, carpet tacks and (possibly) glue for
the same effect.

Lovely idea! Thanks!

I like the idea of using fasteners as opposed to knots, but they have the advantage of being able to get the tension correct.

I'll investigate, though, and get back to you.

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