Introduction: Reupholstering a Wingback Chair
Second Prize in the
Fix It Contest
Step 1: Where Do I Begin?
I bought an antique chair off Craigslist for dirt cheap and thought I'd give it a shot on learning and fixing it at the same time. I went thru several tutorials on YouTube an its was very lengthy and had to mostly do with springs that were from the up and not down portion. I'd thought I'd give you a view on how my job went. As you can see from the first pic, the springs are hanging all out on the bottom of the chair. After checking out some instructables and getting frustrated to the point where I was more than willing to just cut a board and staple it to the bottom, which would never have worked, I ventured out to the local fabric store, Anna's something, I got some red webbing which is supposedly stronger than the black ones, a mesh fabric for the finish, and some tacks for aesthetic looks.
Step 2: All In
First is getting all the tenants out. Vacuum and cleaning with a strong disinfectant spray. Next is making sure you have the proper tools to do a semi professional job. I personally recommend a staple gun with air compressor set to 80-85psi. I bought a tack remover screwdriver off amazon for $4 and some change. It'll make a world of difference later. The staple gun also was purchased on amazon for about $25. Totally worth it. Don't forget to get staples for it. I think I got the 3/8" or 5/8" for upholstering. Be patient and careful in removing the staples. This wood is old and can chip or break if you rush it.
Step 3: Damage Control
From here, you'll see that I've used a magnetic bowl, you can get from Harbor Freight for around $2. It'll help in holding your screwdriver and collecting the countless tacks and staples of the former job.
Step 4: Blind Faith
Measure out approximately how much webbing you'll need and add a few more inches as you'll use this, in the roll, as a fulcrum, for stretching out the webbing to make it tight. I used a scrap piece of 2x4 as a tool to help push down the springs before stapling it down. First thing is to staple the webbing rolled outward, with at least three staples, and then back into itself. You will do this for the first webbing and to do the basket weave pattern, you'll need to roll it out and feed it thru in reverse because its almost impossible once tension starts after the first webbing is stapled down. Again using the scrap 2x4, press down on the springs as staple. Make sure the springs are aligned but you can fine tune it once one webbing is in place and after that for every other webbing done. Also noted, if you have a small upholstery hammer, you should run it back and forth on the webbing to release the slack from the tension, giving you more tension to pull down on. All I did was use the wood and kept the roll of webbing tight and pushed down on it as hard as I could.
Step 5: Almost There
When the basket weave pattern is achieved, it's all a matter if simple reverse engineering. Something I failed at. You want to make sure that, at this point, you want to start stapling the leather back into place. I went ahead and started to staple the mesh and caught myself with all this leather still sticking out. Ooops!
Step 6: Finishing Touch
I didn't get time to actually research in how professionally it's supposed to look on the bottom and I was impatient with getting this done, so I just started to tuck and staple more of the mesh down. To me it wasn't going to matter too much since it'll be upside down and it's already an old chair and it's my first time. I didn't have a small hammer to work with so I hard to use a normal hammer. It's like taking a jack hammer into it. Lol. Keep in mind to try to remember where the staples were or else, the tacks will go crooked on you. I used about 3x24 packets of upholstery tacks that were about $3 a pack. The webbing was 9yards to round out for mistakes and extra grip to stretch out. The mesh was $9, but I didn't use the black one I bought because I found a grey fabric mesh from another chair project. *sidenote I recently had back surgery, so this was quite a task and I was exhausted afterwards but with the help of an air compressed staple gun and some pain meds, it took me roughly 2 hours to complete. So if I can do it, so can grandma. The last thing for me to do to complete this project is to go the store and buy a white shoe polish to paint over the pink bleed on the white leather. I hope this has helped you in finding a way to fix a wingback chair with broken springs in the bottom.
Step 7: Fin
And here's the final results of my project. Not too shabby.
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