To camp in style and comfort.
The necessary seating for Glamping.
Note that replacing fabric with quality leather will add a lot of weight to the chair, and make it much less practical to carry for any long distances. Also, depending on the the thickness of the leather, the chair will likely not contract as far, so a new case may be needed or the leather pieces may need to be removed and rolled around the chair to fit nicely in the original carry bag.
- Old or New folding Camp Chair (This one was $5 CAD new, and has been through a few seasons of Scout use)
- Sufficient leather material to replace the fabric ~4 square feet, ~4-6 oz weight is sufficient (I picked up a beautiful rustler SIDE for $125 CAD (sale), this is enough for a lot of projects, and definitely the best value to buy this quantity
- 1 Sq. foot of Veg tan or other sturdy leather (~8oz). Individually, only small pieces will actually be used, so cheaper remnants would be perfectly fine
- Approx. 20 yards of heavy waxed thread for leather work, and suitable needles
- Utility blade or sharp knife and metal straight edge for cutting
- Leather stitching chisels (Set of 2,4 and 6 points recommended)
- Pencil or marker, ruler
- White glue
- Optional, beeswax and canvas and tool for burnishing
Step 1: Find an Old Camp Chair Needing New Material. This Is a True Rags to Riches Story After All!
This chair had some screws to undo, so look the chair over carefully and remove screws as needed.
Fold the chair up slightly and remove the fabric
Get the leather ready and laid out on a large surface
Step 2: Measure, and Then Measure Again
When working with a side or larger piece of leather, try to minimize the waste by lining up your cut with how each piece may fit best. In the case of a side or shoulder, also consider that the portions closest to the top of the animal have the most strength "Tough as a cows back".
In this case, the fabric was initially all attached (top rest and bottom seat), however as leather is much stronger, In this case a square of leather was more simple to cut and fit with the chair base.
Using the base as a template,. mark the location of the pole holes, and also leave room for about 2 inches of overlap on the front and back (note that here, I was not sure how the strength would be, so I left room on all sides, but later just trimmed it off on the sides, as the strength on the front and rear was sufficient. Also note that leaving a bit more material here for overlap might allow for a larger piece of sturdy veg tan to stitch between the front and rear supports)
Once the holes are marked and one is cut, check the spacing on the chair, and recheck the measurements for the other holes frequently. The fabric will have a lot more give and flexibility than the leather. Also remember to fold the overlap of leather on the front and rear, mark and cut holes to match the top, so when folded, these holes are doubled up.
Step 3: Add Strength and Get Stitching
Check the size of the plastic mounts on the camp chair. These were about 1.5" square, but the holes were somewhat offset based on how the chair would collapse.
Carefully estimate and mark the location of the pole hole on the square, keeping in mind the amount of overlap needed for the seat, In this instance, I folded over the seat leather with the overlap I left of 2", and inserted the piece of veg tan into the fold, and marked it with the same hole.
When you are finished, you should have 4x 2"x2" inserts centered over each of the 4 base holes for the seat. Ensure the hole is cut out on he veg tan to match the other layers, so this will have three layers of leather with the veg tan insert, once everything is lined up, glue all of the layers together on the overlap, with the fold as tight as possible.
Once the glue is dry, use a pencil or scribe to mark the location for the stitches. In this case, the stitches were made across the front and rear of the seat, forcing the overlap to be reasonably tight, and also stitching around each pole, being careful to center the stitches between the hole and the edge of the veg tan insert.
I used the saddle stitch, it is a pretty common leather stitch, and is tremendously strong. I found this instructable which might help you if you need more information:
Step 4: Rest Thy Head
In this case, to increase strength, save material, and weight, a more simple back rest may be achieved by cutting the width of the chair, plus two inches of overlap, with a height which is suitable for the amount of coverage desired (In this case, I cut the height to be just beyond where the original fabric began to taper to the sides)
Once the sides are measured, the end of the overlap can be glued to ensure the pole will slide tightly into each side, like a little pocket (A shorter rod about the width of the chair poles here can be handy for test measurement of the overlap). For extra strength and to keep the rest level, the top of the pocket may also be stitched.
Step 5: Rest Thine Arms
This chair came stock with two separate arm rests.
As before, each may be measured against the material for the rough shape and dimensions, with additional compensation on the front and rear of each rest to allow for some overlap (more the better, where longer overlaps such as this will allow for some extra strength and compartments underneath)
There are many ways this could be perhaps enhanced, but to keep this simple, I chose to retain the original design, except on the front of each rest, I am simply using an overlap that the arm rest pole will slide in to.
*Note that in this case the angle of each rest was quite a lot more than expected, so when the length is cut, I suggest measuring and holding it in place on the chair to determine the best way to wrap the front of the arm rest, and maintain an angle of the rest to the rear of the chair support.
When cutting holes for the rear side of the armrest, use the same method as the seat base, by cutting a matching hole on the overlap, and use a piece of the stiffer veg tan sandwiched between to ensure the hole does not stretch out of shape.
Step 6: Secret Compartments
Along the front and rear armrest overlaps, as marked in the first photo, the rests can be stitched on three sides to increase strength, and also create a small pocket.
In this instance, I cut a small scrap of veg tan to fit in the pocket and hold some emergency money.
Step 7: Take a Break in Your New Glamp Chair!
Optional, decorate your chair with leather tooling supplies / paint. Burnish the edges.
Runner Up in the
Outside Contest 2017