Mending Chair Seats

Kids can be inadvertently destructive. My grandson jumped hard on the Old Hickory antique couch and one section of the underlying webbing broke. Some of the other webbing was already damaged. I emailed the Old Hickory factory to ask how to repair the couch and they promptly sent me the instructions to mend the webbing. The material is rawhide that needs to be soaked in water to become pliable and dries to a stiff support system to hold the cushions. When wet it is wrapped around the frame in this order.

Old Hickory rawhide weave
Old Hickory rawhide weave

In addition to the broken section there were other sections missing just a cross piece or two. I wove small sections to make these repairs.

Rawhide leather soaked in water
Rawhide leather soaked in water
Partial repair
Partial repair

After the couch was repaired I had lots of leftover rawhide that I’m assuming I can soak again to reuse.

Repaired couch
Repaired couch

The kitchen chairs were also in various stages of disrepair. The kids like to pick at loose weaving and a couple of the chairs could no longer hold an adult. I tore off the worst seats before I thought to take a photo. The third seat was not as badly damaged but I replaced it anyway. After tearing off the seat which was stuffed with old Denver Posts, I cut 11/32 in plywood for new seat cushions. I tacked it on the wood rails with the trim nail gun.

Seat damaged
Seat damaged
Reed replaced with plywood
Reed replaced with plywood

A few years ago I bought a roll of outdoor material from a Craigslist ad. I used it to sew a new curtain in the old RV. It is light brown, my go-to color for decorating, and it has a nice heavy weight for upholstery.

Upholstery material
Upholstery material
Laying on the material
Laying on the material

On top of the plywood I used foam from a bed topper. I found that this high density foam was the same density as chair cushion foam so the bed topper was less expensive and I have most of it left over. On top of the chair foam there is a thick layer of poly batting. I purchased the batting at JoAnne’s. I used spray adhesive to attach the foam to the plywood and the batting to the foam. This is recommended in the instructional videos posted by Sailrite, the manufacturer of my walking foot heavy duty sewing machine. The material is stretched across the bottom and one staple is placed in the middle of each side. Then the corners were cut out to fold over and reach around the corner posts in the chair. After the corners are stretched and in place, the rest of the material is stretched tightly and stapled.

Stretching and stapling the batting and material
Stretching and stapling the batting and material
Material stapled and trimmed
Material stapled and trimmed

Somewhere I read that weed block material is a good substitute for the black material used to finish the underside of upholstery. I had some left from another project. The hard part was ironing out the wrinkles. The material is plastic and needs a cool iron and it holds the moisture from the steam. Most of the wrinkles came out anyway.

Stapled lining
Stapled lining
Finished chair
Finished chair

There are six Old Hickory chairs in the dining room. Four are this style and two have a different back. One of these had been newly re-woven when I bought them. I could not bring myself to tear off the good seat even though one piece had been picked away. My grandchildren cannot help themselves if there is a loose end. So I only recovered three chairs. The two with different backs have intact seats although old weaving.

Finished chairs
Finished chairs

I ordered Scotchguard for outdoor furniture and applied it to the seats. The material darkened a little bit but spills should bead up and not stain the new covers. I’m tempted to reupholster the backs too. Or maybe I’ll weave new backs someday.

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