Introduction: Upholster a Queen Anne Style Stool

About: creative guy

Don't sit on it!
I had a job that I was putting off for years. It was a reproduction Queen Anne stool which was obviously in need of repair. The webbing was ripped, which made the seat concave and only the cover was preventing an embarrassing fall through. This project took me about 4 days, working a few hours in the evening while watching television. I sourced materials from a shop that sells remnants from factories etc. Total cost was around £20 because I had some materials left over from previous projects, but it wouldn't cost much more if you have basic tools. 
I hope you enjoy the instructable! Please feel free to comment. Thanks!

Intro Image
This is nearly the half way point to the project. I wanted to show what was involved on the first page. The project is about getting to this point and then replacing new for old to finish the job.

Step 1: Tools

Here are the tools I used in this project.

First Image
Sharp Knife
Wire Snips (large)
Hammer (doesn't have to have a white end, only if you stir paint with it)
Cut Tacks 15mm (5/8")
Rotary Tool + fibre cutting disc + grinding disc + Safety Eyeware (I was so lucky I was wearing them)

Second Image
Heavy Duty 8mm staples
Staple Gun
Pliers (small)

Third Image
This is a diagram of the tacking/stapling technique I used often in this project. It might be a good idea to refer back to this later when tacking or stapling is being attempted.

Step 2: Materials

The Materials I used were:

First Image -Purple velour 
Second Image -Canvas
Third Image -Fibre Wrap
Fourth Image -Webbing (actually it was length of lifting strap that could handle 1600kg)
I reused one material, the sacking layer, because I thought it was not load bearing. See image later.

You'll get the first three items from a shop that sells off cuts and clothes making materials. The minimum size you can usually buy is 1metre x 2metres (1yard x 2yards) but you'll have loads left over for various other projects you might tackle. Canvas is very handy for making all sorts of bags: eg gym bags, kick/punch bags, are just a few ideas.

Step 3: Remove the Old Cover

First Image
The first thing to do is to take everything off the frame. First is the old cover. I reasoned that the cover was so old and tattered it didn't matter what I did to it, so in order to see the old tacks I quickly removed the cover, leaving the tacks in place, using the rotary tool's cutting disc. That took 5 minutes maximum and gave me better access to the old tacks.

Second Image
This is the underside of the seat frame. It's covered in rusty old tacks. Oh joy that looks like fun to remove.

Step 4: Remove the Old Canvas Layer

First Image
I turn the seat frame up on its side to look at the canvas layer that was under the cover. The canvas layer is no problem to remove as it's literally falling off!

Second Image
Hello! That looks like animal hair. Could it be horse?

Third Image
I pull off the canvas layer and notice the black hair is attached to the sacking underneath by a thin string.

Step 5: Remove the Black Hair Layer

First Image
I decide that I'll use my rotary tool cutting disc to quickly slice through the string attaching the hair to the sacking layer.

Second Image
Unfortunately, the disc shatters and a loose piece of string wraps round the rotating end of the tool creating an instant strimmer! I was so glad that I had safety eyeware on. That could have been nasty.

Third Image
I've changed the tool to use a stronger fibre disc, which I prefer for safety reasons obviously. What are those breakable discs good for anyway? The rubbish bin maybe?

Fourth Image
Hair removed.

Step 6: Remove the Sacking Layer

First Image
Again another easy step as the sacking layer is literally falling off!

Second Image
We're at last down to the webbing that's attached to the seat frame.

Step 7: Removing the Old Tacks

By far the most laborious step was the removal of the old tacks.
I used a large wire snip which proved very effective at removing the tacks that didn't snap in two. If a tack head came away leaving a nasty sharp I removed this with the rotating tool's fibre disk. There were only about a dozen tacks that snapped.

Tricky little customer. There were many that came out very easily and then others were unfortunately loosing their heads!

Next: on with the new materials at last!

Step 8: Add the New Webbing

First Image
I had to be careful to miss the bodies of old tacks that I tried to, but couldn't remove.

Second Image
I folded the webbing over in the same manner as the original work and tacked it in place with 3-5 tacks. I stretched the webbing slightly before tacking. The sharp knife proved the only tool that could cut the webbing safely and quickly.

Third Image
I crossed the webbing over and under as was the original method.

Next I had to make a decision about the sacking layer.

Step 9: Adding the Sacking Layer

As mentioned in the intro I felt the sacking layer was ok to go back on because it wasn't weight bearing, even though it was 75 years old! I guess it was used to stop the black hair falling through the webbing when you sat on the seat. There was no real use for the sacking layer because the fibre wrap stuffing would not fall through the webbing but I put it back anyway.

Sacking tacked on.

Next was the padding of the seat frame using fibre wrap.

Step 10: Pad the Seat

I like quick steps. Fold the fibre wrap to quadruple thickness and trim off the excess.

You're done.

Next is a bit more tricky. Canvas layer to compress the padding to the right shape.

Step 11: Canvas Over the Top of the Padding

First Image
From a piece of my canvas, I'm cutting off roughly at first then exactly the shape of the old canvas layer. I want the new canvas to be exactly the same size as the old one.

Second Image
Not sure if I recommend this technique at all.
What I'm doing is holding the canvas in place, stretched, while balancing a tack in between two fingers. I then lightly tap the tack with the hammer so it grips the wood, move my fingers out the way and hammer the tack home. Maybe I was lucky or sufficiently skilled but I never hit my fingers once and I put in about 60 tacks this way. How else could I have done this? I'm sure the professionals wouldn't do it this way.

Third Image
The canvas layer is all tacked down ready for the purple velour covering.

Step 12: Cover the Seat Frame

First Image
As I have indicated in the photo I've used the old canvas layer as a template again (I could have used the seat frame too) and cut a similar shape but 25mm (1in) bigger than the template. Note that I've rounded the corners.

Second Image
This is not as challenging as the canvas layer because you are not fighting against  the springiness of the fibre wrap and so it's relatively easy to do. The only difference to technique here is I tacked one side and went to the opposite side and tacked there. I tacked all four sides in the middle before I started to work towards the corners, making sure that the cover material was sitting flat as I was hammering each tack in. It's the same opposite technique you would use when tightening the nuts on a car wheel for example.

Third Image
This shows how I tacked the corners. I pinched the fabric together and folded a flap over the pinch and tacked that down.

Fourth Image
Great, we're done covering the stool. Not quite, I don't like to see any evidence, so I'm going to put a canvas cover over the webbing to hide the underside.

Step 13: Canvas the Underside

First Image
I'm using the covered seat frame as a template. Again I could have easily just used the old canvas layer but I want to show off the new seat cover!

Second Image
I want the underside canvas to be a similar shape to the seat frame but  about 12mm (1/2in) bigger so I can tuck the excess under as I work.

Third Image
You'll have noticed that I'm using the staple gun now. I've got a few reasons for this. Firstly this is not a weight bearing layer just cosmetic, and secondly using staples will mean that the seat frame sits more flat in its leg frame. Note that I've decided to work from the corners in here and stapled opposite corners as usual before stapling the middle of each side, also stapled alternating the sides. Please refer back to the tack/staple technique diagram in the first step, if I've not explained this well enough.

Fourth Image
The underside is stapled in. I'm going to back track here because I realised that my first corner staples will have to be removed due to bad planning - because I didn't make sure that they were invisible inside the leg frame. See the next image to understand this.

Fifth Image
How the underside looks when the seat frame is in place. All we need to do is turn the stool the right way up.

Step 14: The Finished Covered Stool

First Image and Second Image
Views of the finished work

Third Image
Manufacturers identification. It says by appointment to the King. Wylie & Lochhead Ltd. 45 Buchanan St. Glasgow. I have enjoyed upholstering this beautiful piece of furniture, and I hope you've enjoyed this instructable. Thanks for looking!