How To Upholster A Chair

Julies' Chairs

This set of chairs belongs to Julie K.W. of Ontario. The fabric she chose has a very modern look and feel, including the contrast fabric for the back of the chair. To maintain this contemporary transition we chose to eliminate the traditional gimp which is usually applied under the nail trim and covers the cut raw edge of fabric. A number of other changes were introduced and some of the lessons discussed in this project include new foam build up, nailhead trim, relief cuts and more.

Traditional gimp (trim) was originally applied around the edge of the frame. You can choose to finish you chair with gimp only, or you can apply nailhead trim over the gimp. The traditional method involves stapling the fabric along the wood trim, trimming the excess fabric and applying gimp or trim to cover the frayed fabric edge to keep a neat appearance. To eliminate the need for gimp, I chose an unconventional finishing method, folding the fabric under, and then stapling along the frame.

Removing Nail Trim and Staples

This chair was last reupholstered with traditional tack nails, not staples. This method is of days past, and is not typically employed in modern day upholstery. Instead, the pneumatic stapler is the fastening tool of choice. If you are removing old upholstery from a piece of furniture and you happen upon traditional tack nails, consider yourself very lucky. Removing the tack nails and upholstery will be a relatively quick job. Staples on the other hand take a considerable amount of time to remove, easily up to eight hours for a sofa.

Some factors which will influence the ease of staple removal are;

1) Hard woods vs. soft woods

2) Staple malleability. Many of today’s staples actually break under the stress of removal and you will be unable to remove the legs of a staple. Do your best to remove most of the staples with side cutters. To check for protruding staples along your frame, slowly run your hand around the frame perimeter and use a hammer to flatten the remaining metal against the hardwood.

3) The amount of staples. There can be many layers of materials and or padding and each layer is attached to the frame with its’ own series of staples.

4) Decorative wood trim furniture, as in this example. When you remove staples

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